Greenpeace recently announced the discovery of a new species of sponge, Aaptos kanuux, as a result of its deep explorations of the Bering Sea last summer. Here’s a video of the sponge from Greenpeace, and more info from my fellow Green Corps alum, Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner John Hocevar:
Last summer, while I was descending 2,000 feet below the surface of the ocean in a submarine exploring canyons in the Bering Sea — I had no idea what we would find in areas that no one had been to before. As it turns out, we discovered a new species of sponge, Aaptos kanuux. We’re announcing the discovery today, and I wanted you to be among the first to know.
Our friends from the Pribilof Islands named the sponge for the native Unungan communities’ word for “heart,” because the canyons are the heart of the Bering Sea.
To be honest, the new species looks a little slimy and slightly alien. It’s also an ambassador for undiscovered critters living in the nooks and crannies of our magnificent planet — being a messenger for increased ocean protection. Damaging human activities, such as bottom trawling in the oceans, are decimating ecosystems and wiping out creatures before we even know they exist. I’m just glad we were able to discover this new sponge before a bottom trawler smashed it into oblivion.