Drilling fluids (DF) and drill Cuttings (DC) are the largest volume of particulate wastes discharged directly from oil and gas drilling activities in marine habitats. These particulate wastes, negatively impact the biology and ecology of different benthic fauna, however, their impacts on marine sponges remain poorly investigated. This is surprising given that sponges are important components of benthic communities (i.e. in terms of diversity and biomass) in areas of drilling activity and they are also sen sitive to changes in their ambient environment. More research is needed to investigate the effects of regular discharges of DF and DC on deep-water sponge fauna and to develop tools and methodologies to improve methods of detection for exposure assessmen ts. Using the model sponge Geodia barretti, this project will develop and link molecular (i.e. gene expression and metabolomics) and biological (i.e. physiological and histopathological) markers of stress with specificity to exposure to suspended DC and DF. These biomarkers will be developed for different exposure concentrations, durations and frequencies, and will provide solid tools to measure biological effects and stress levels of sponges exposed to DF and DC in the field. Threshold values for conce ntration, duration and frequency of exposure of DC and DF on sponges will also improve current modelling tools for environmental risk assessment of offshore oil drilling activities. Strengthening this knowledge is vital in developing effective management strategies to mitigate environmental and ecological impacts to marine benthic habitats. Furthermore, this project will measure key physiological and biological parameters of deep-water sponges, which is a currently lacking in the literature. This increa sed knowledge is important to enhance the awareness of the sensitivity and importance of these marine benthic organisms and the need to manage them more effectively.