Species (genus?) of Sponge Discovered (2002)

NOAA Log entry August 26, 2002

by Dr. Shirley Pomponi

“[…] A few days ago, on a dive just 90 miles off the coast of Charleston, SC, one of our explorers brought up from his sub dive two small brown animals, shaped like Christmas trees. We guessed it was either a sponge or an ascidian (sea squirt), and when we dissected it, we discovered that it was a sponge. On the next dive, I was anxious to find more. (Oh, by now you’ve probably guessed that I’m partial to sponges.) It wasn’t hard to do: we came across a field of literally thousands and thousands of them, growing on small rocks, 600 feet deep. I’ve been diving in the sub for nearly 18 years, and I’ve seen hundreds of different sponges, but I had never seen a sponge like this! When we got to the surface, I examined it microscopically and decided that it was a new species—and possibly even a new genus. …”

complete log entry here.

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