Wednesday July 26, 2023

Monterey Herald

Local ecologist Steve Lonhart says most scientists are lucky to know maybe one or two people, in their lifetimes, who have named a new species.

He knows someone who has described a couple of dozen – a bulk of them right here in Monterey Bay.

Tom Turner is redefining what we know about sponges. An associate professor at UC Santa Barbara and an expert on the aquatic invertebrates, Turner has spent the past few years researching sponge diversity in California. His work has led to the discovery of more than 20 new sponge species along the western coast, including 12 in Carmel Bay.

Scientific descriptions of the local findings were published last week in a research paper called “The Sponges of the Carmel Pinnacles Marine Protected Area.” The paper is authored by Turner. But there’s another name on the paper’s byline: Lonhart, who helped the sponge aficionado explore Monterey Bay.

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