Voyage to the Bering Sea, New Species of Sponge Discovered

May 6, 2008 / No Comments

During a research voyage to the Bering Sea in the summer of 2007 the guys at Greenpeace came out with an interesting discovery. A new species of sponge was found in the depths of the underwater canyons (Pribilof Canyon), a unique habitat that we don’t know much about except that fishing methods like bottom trawling may destroy it. They named the “new” sponge Aaptos kanuux from the Unungan word that means heart (kanuux).

aaptos kanuux new species sponge Voyage to the Bering Sea, New Species of Sponge Discovered

Apart from the discovery, George Pletnikoff, Greenpeace USA’s Alaska Office Oceans Campaigner and a native of the Unungan communities on the Pribilof Islands warned that the deep waters are at risk because of overfishing and if these canyons won’t be able to pump the much needed nutrients such an ecosystem may fail and the life of people depending on these waters could be in jeopardy.

“We know so little about the seas around us and far less about the open oceans. This amazing discovery underscores the need for the UN to establish a global network of marine reserves and to stop the current free-for-all whereby habitats and species are being destroyed before scientists have even had a chance to give them names,” said Richard Page, an oceans campaigner for Greenpeace International.

There must be something we can do to protect marine life: “if we want fish tomorrow we need marine reserves now“.

It’s beautiful down there, check out this video.