They are maybe most well-known for uplifting the animated character SpongeBob SquarePants, who lives in a pineapple beneath the ocean.
But scientists have now found 12 new species of unusual and fantastic sea sponges, a few of which have such an alien look that they’ve been described as “alien life right here on Earth.”
Others are named for his or her similarities to a polar bear and a unicorn.
Their discovery has been revealed in a brand new research by UC Santa Barbara professor Dr. Thomas Turner and analysis ecologist Steve Lonhart, who noticed the ocean sponges whereas diving off Monterey Bay, California.
In all, the pair documented 29 sponge species — 12 of which had been beforehand unknown to science.
Megaciella sanctuary earns its title in honor of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
“I was definitely excited,” Dr. Turner told the news website SFGATE.
“I could tell right away just by looking at them — these were sponges I hadn’t seen anywhere else.”
Referring to them as “alien life here on Earth,” he added: “I think I just like the weird, forgotten animals, and finding out what’s out there and how they occur forms the basis for answering questions about it in the future.” assist them reply.”
Dr. Turner was capable of establish the brand new species utilizing a mix of underwater pictures, DNA sequencing and evaluation of the sponges beneath a microscope.
He then bought to call the creatures, beginning with a vibrant orange one Megaciella sanctuary, which earns its title in honor of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Dr. Turner additionally named one of many sponges Haliclona (Halichoclona) melissae, after its companion, Melissa Kamen, whereas a vibrant white and fuzzy sponge – Xestospongia ursa – bought its calling card for its resemblance to a polar bear.
Finally, Hymedesmia (Hymedesmia) was known as promina as a result of it had numerous tower-like projections over its physique, which, in response to Lonhard, made it look “like a unicorn.”
Real sea sponges are rather less vibrant than SpongeBob depicts them, rooting in a single spot on rocks or the seabed for many of their lives.
Clathria unoriginalis (A): Experts have found 12 new species of sea sponge off Monterey, California
Sponges labeled from left to proper: Acarnus erithacus (A), Scopalina jali (B), Acanthancora cyanocrypta (seen as a blue crust) (C), Cliona californiana (a uninteresting species, seen as small yellow papillae) (D), Neopetrosia problematica (E), Endectyon hyle (F), Amphimedon trindenea (G), Tethya californiana (H), Leucilla nuttingi (I), Leucosolenia sp. (J)
Phorbas nebulosus: They are named after a polar bear, a unicorn and a scientist’s companion
Hemimiycale polyboletus: Sponges are additionally a well-liked meals alternative for a lot of species of turtles and tropical fish
Here they cleverly feed on micro organism by pumping water by way of their pores and filtering out the nutritious bits.
Sponges are additionally a well-liked meals alternative for a lot of species of turtles and tropical fish.
Nearly half of the species discovered by scientists have solely ever been seen in Carmel Bay, main the pair to consider they’re fairly uncommon.
“For a nerdy scientist like me, it’s really cool to see,” Lonhart advised the publication.
SPONGING: BASAL BUT EXTREMELY SUCCESSFUL
Despite being thought of one of the vital primary of all types of animal life, sponges are extraordinarily profitable and are present in all of the world’s oceans.
Many sponges — together with these the staff discovered within the sudden central Arctic ecosystem — harbor symbiotic microorganisms.
These tiny microbes are helpful to the sponges as a result of they carry out actions equivalent to producing antibiotics, disposing of waste excretions and transferring vitamins.