Loch Lomond NNR
Amee can’t stay away and makes a return NNR visit and a guest blog about….you guessed it, freshwater sponges!
After seeing the fresh water sponge appear again at Loch Leven NNR, I decided to return to Loch Lomond NNR to see if the large colony I discovered last year has started to re-appear.
This summer I’m not only working at the Loch Leven NNR, I’m also working as a seasonal ranger for the national park, so when I was offered a shift at Balmaha I made sure to pack my car with the dry suit, bathyscope and underwater camera to make the trip that much more worthwhile! Plus I thought it would be a great blog post since I know how many people love me talking about sponges.
When I reached Chrom Mhin I wasn’t surprised it was rather hard on the foot and the bay was shallower with the soaring temperatures we have experienced recently. From the cows grazing the bay last year eating the rushes and trampling on where I found the large sponge colony and with the water level low I didn’t have much hope of seeing anything since the sponge at Loch Leven had just started to appear in the form of a green blob but off I went. As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained so if anything I was content waddling around, in a place I love and reflecting on my past discovery.
I was amazed to find the colony and just to see the sheer size of the fresh water sponge, comparing it to the one I saw at Loch Leven (picture to the left) the other week. It got my brain going into overdrive wondering what factors has caused this growth to thrive more than the other. They are both of the same species Spongilla lacustris so why is Loch Lomond more suitable for their growth rate than Loch Leven?
The water quality and temperature are just a couple of factors that come to mind, but until I have more time to think and write in more detail you will just have to wait until my next blog post.