NEW SPECIES COMPARED TO SOMETHING OUT OF DR SEUSS

December 14, 2009, 3:20 PM HST · Updated December 14, 3:20 PM
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Research crews have again uncovered new species of coral and sponges in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands.  The species were located within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument near Nihoa Island.

Scientists with the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory called the discovery “absolutely bizarre,” comparing some of the sponges to “something out of Dr. Seuss.” The discovery was made during deep sea submersible dives off a University of Hawaii research vessel, the Ka’imikai o Kanaloa, in early December.

The dives were conducted off Middle Bank and Twin Banks, just within the monument’s eastern boundary at depths of nearly one mile.

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Dr. Christopher Kelley, the Program Biologist for HURL will be working with other scientists to identify the sponges.  He said, “There are lots of things down there that are just brand new.  We don’t know what they are and this is a fantastic opportunity to try and help the monument and determine what some of the deep water resources are.”

(Posted by Wendy Osher; supporting information provided by the NOAA/Office of National Marine Sanctuaries)

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