New sponges discovery in Wales

This video says about itself:

A snippet from the Caymans’ video that demonstrates (using a harmless ink) how sponges filter water.

From Wildlife Extra:

Wales is home to 13 new sea sponge species

Skomer is now known as a sponge haven

October 2011: Thirteen of the UK’s 30 newly discovered species of sea sponge have been found in Welsh waters.

The focus of the search in Wales was Skomer Island Marine Nature Reserve and the north Pembrokeshire coast, which are known to be sponge havens. A total of 132 species were found here.

Led by researchers from National Museums Northern Ireland, this ambitious three-year survey of the UK’s sea sponges was completed in June 2011.

The scientists studied sponges from Wales, Scotland, The Scilly Isles and the Channel Islands by scuba diving and taking in-situ photographs of specimens before collecting samples.

‘There is still much to learn and discover about our seas’
As well as the new species found, 17 rare species of sponge were recorded in UK waters. Wales seems to be the northern limit for several sponge species including Homaxinella subdola – a conspicuous branching species which is common in Pembrokeshire.

Marine biologist Dr Claire Goodwin who works for the National Museums Northern Ireland’s Department of Natural Sciences said: ‘By diving, we were able to sample bedrock habitats and encrusting species which have been overlooked to date. This might be one reason for the large number of new species discovered.’

The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) manages Skomer Marine Nature Reserve and Phil Newman, Senior Manager said: ‘We regularly survey and monitor marine life within the reserve, but it was great to be part of a UK survey of sea sponges. The information gathered shows that there is still so much to discover and learn about our seas. The data provides us with a good baseline for future studies.’

During the study, 218 dives were made. The scientists collected a total of 2,027 sponge specimens, representing 166 species.

Bathtub-size marine sponge rediscovered after century of extinction: here.

Dutch Texel sponges: here.

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