The arm of an ROV reaching towards a sponge


Creature Feature Shipwrecked Sponges

A Whole New World

Shipwrecks can serve as safe harbor to marine species, providing invertebrates with hard surfaces to attach to and fish with places to hide. In 2016, two sponges unknown to science were spotted on the sunken USS Independence at a depth of 2,600 feet. The wreck is located in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, adjacent to Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. After careful documentation by Dr. Henry Reiswig of University of Victoria, the sponges have been identified as new species and named Staurocalyptus pamelaturnerae and Hyalascus farallonensis.

Fun Facts

A bright yellow sponge

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Staurocalyptus pamelaturnerae

LOCATION: Midship gun turret

DEPTH: 2,641 feet

COLOR: Bright yellow

A bright tan sponge

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Hyalascus farallonesis

LOCATION: Midship gun turret

DEPTH: 2,633 feet

COLOR: Light tan

A map highlighting the sponge are off the coast of California

Both of these sponges were collected on a research expedition with the E/V Nautilus. Only a small percentage of the deep sea has been explored, so additional new species undoubtedly await discovery.