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New species of sponge discovered in Portuguese waters

spongeNEWA group of scientists has discovered a new species of Glass Sponge in some Mediterranean and Atlantic areas including at the Gorringe Ridge in Portuguese waters, according to a information released today by the Oceana organisation.

The deep sea surveying work undertaken by researchers from France, Canada and Spain has led to the discovery of a new species of Glass Sponge in marine canyons off Corsica, in seamounts in the Alboran Sea, and in the Atlantic at the Gorringe Bank which is in Portuguese waters 200 kilometres southwest of Cape St. Vincent.

The Alboran Sea is at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea, lying between the Iberian Peninsula and north Africa.

According to Oceana (International Ocean Conservation) which also participated in the investigation, "Sympagella delauzei’  is the name given to this new kind of Glass Sponge (Hexactinélida).

Glass sponges are marine sponges with mineral skeletons composed of silica (glass) spicules. They have a worldwide distribution but are mainly restricted to deeper waters of between 200 and 6000 metres where they grow attached to hard or soft substrates.

The new discoveries measure between 8cm and 14cm and were found at between 350 and 500 metres.