Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

By XiaoZhi Lim
New York Times

Thirteen thousand feet deep, on the cold, dark desert of the Pacific Ocean seafloor, scientists have discovered new sponges living on rock nodules targeted for deep-sea mining.

The tiny sponges, named Plenaster craigi partly for the multitude of stars that make up their backbones, belong in a genus of their own and are the most abundant organism found to date that live on the nodules.

“When I examined Plenaster for the first time, I was amazed by its unusual, simple skeleton,” said Swee-Cheng Lim, a sponge taxonomist from National University of Singapore and lead author of a paper on the discovery, published in the journal Systematics and Biodiversity.

Continue reading at New York Times. Originally published on October 5, 2017.

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