(Courtesy of Jerry Prezioso)
Characterized by its bright tomato red color, Red-beard sponges also have fingerlike projections in bush-like colonies that can grow to be 8" (20 cm) high and 12" (30 cm) wide. Sponges are filter feeders and filter microorganisms from the water. They attach themselves to rocks, oyster beds, shells, and pilings and remain there for the duration of their life. These sponges can be found year-round in the Bay.