Delicate-looking sponges prove to be carnivorous

Three new species of parasol-shaped carnivorous sponges were described by MBARI’s Lonny Lundsten and his Canadian colleagues in 2017. Carnivorous sponges ensnare small crustacean prey rather than filtering water, as most sponges do, making them uniquely adapted to the deep-sea habitats where they are found.

This trio of sponges, which live in deep water off the coast of California and in the Gulf of California, were named in honor of the scientists who first collected them, including MBARI’s Ken Smith (Cladorhiza kensmithi) and Carl Hubbs (C. hubbsi), as well as the locality where they were collected (C. mexicana).

The delicate sponge pictured above was named Cladorhiza mexicana because it was discovered in Mexican territorial waters near the entrance to the Gulf of California.

An erupting mud volcano in the deep sea

An unusual mud volcano, emanating bursts of gas, is caught on video during a research expedition off the coast of Taiwan.