‘MTSU On the Record’ dives deep for information on...

‘MTSU On the Record’ dives deep for information on sea sponges

A recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program explored the purifying properties of the durable sea sponge with the help of a university researcher.

Dr. Cole Easson, Department of Biology, lecturer and research assistant professor

Dr. Cole Easson

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Cole Easson, a lecturer and research assistant professor in the Department of Biology, first aired Dec. 17 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and You can listen to their conversation above.

With a grant of more than $600,000 from the National Science Foundation, Easson and researchers from other institutions will perform field work off the coast of the Caribbean island of Curacao in summer 2020.

Their primary goal will be learning more about how sponges contribute to the coral reef ecosystem and how their filtration systems affect ocean water and the nutrients in it. 

“We have this apparatus that sticks a little bitty tube inside a sponge, and it samples just the water coming out of it,” Easson said.

WMOT Roots Radio-new logo-2017 web “I’ll actually look at the microbial community (in the water) to see if we get different microbes that are doing different types of nutrient transformations.”

Easson said while other ocean creatures also filter water, sea sponges are unique because they’ve been in existence for some 600 million years, according to some estimates.

And that means they’ve had a long time to refine their filtration systems, he said.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at

For more information about the radio program, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.