Gravy, pork bun, kūmara and meringue.
They might sound like the makings of a two-course meal but these humbly-named sea sponges could help fight cancer.
A science student found the sponges off the Bay of Plenty coastline and University of Waikato researchers are now excited about their potential health benefits.
Emma Donald found the sponges as part of a summer research project for her third-year Bachelor of Science papers and gained a summer internship with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
"I did it as a very DIY summer project, not knowing the amazing discoveries we would make."
The 22-year-old said the find potentially leading to anti-cancer drugs was "a huge deal" for her after her father Malcolm died of brain cancer in 2019 just four days before her 20th birthday.
"If any of these sponges help in the cancer research field, it is almost bittersweet because I wish it could have happened sooner if it could have helped my dad.
"But it is also heartwarming to think that there might be even the smallest chance of helping other families who are going through the same thing that my family did."
Donald discovered two "probably new" sponge species yet to be formally identified but have been given common names including tumbleweed and the oyster mushroom.
She also found eight "possibly new" sponge species, which she has named gravy, the pork bun, the meringue, the kūmara, the taco, the dragon egg, the castle, the orange crown, the pollen and the guano sponge.
The orange crown sponge and meringue sponge had been identified as new sponge or sea squirt species.
"I just gave them common names, they are not officially new species yet - they still need samples."
Donald also discovered 21 other sponge species not yet recorded in the Bay of Plenty before now.
"This research is primarily important because it highlights how much we don't know about our ocean.
"We found all of this with basically only a GoPro on a string. Because how can we protect our oceans effectively, if we hardly know what's in them?"
While the exact location was under wraps for now, the sponges were found close to the coast of Tauranga, she said.
"We dropped a camera down and recorded four video transects [a line across a habitat or part of a habitat] each one being about 50m long and giving us about 20 minutes of video.
"Due to the incredibly high biodiversity, it took over 20 hours to analyse just the first video transect."
Only the first video transect was looked at for Donald's research because of time constraints, "which makes it all the more amazing that we found all the new species and new distributions that we did".
During the summer, Donald will be looking at the other three video transects as part of a nationwide Department of Conservation project to map and gather information on NZ's coastal deep reefs for future marine spatial planning.
The project came about after the NZ Environment Court released an interim decision in 2018 to create the Motiti Protection Area over the coastal reefs around Motiti Island, she said.
The reef systems off the coast of Motiti Island support a large range of plants and animals including fish and shellfish.
On April 24, 2020, the Environment Court released its final decision for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to implement new rules to create three protection areas around the island where taking all plants and animals will be prohibited.
The new Motiti Protection Area comes into effect on August 11 this year. To protect the reef systems, anchoring on these reefs will also be prohibited.
Donald said although there has been extensive research on the shallow reefs now in the no-take areas there was very little information on the biodiversity of reefs deeper than about 30m.
"This is because they are deeper than the 30m limit for occupational scientific diving.
"So the aim of this project was to trial methods for investigating the biodiversity of deep reefs in order to inform future values and attributes for marine spatial planning."
Donald said the project has helped open doors for her career and she was currently applying for scholarships for a masters degree.
She planned to hopefully continue with the deep sponge reef discoveries as well as looking at the "wider ecological picture".
University of Waikato chairman in coastal sciences Professor Chris Battershill said the species were a "rare find" and were yet to be sampled.
But he said many have so far been identified to have affinities with species already known to have cancer-fighting properties based on research with the National Cancer Institute in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s.
Battershill said Donald had also found a new species not seen before.
"There is a high likelihood they are either new to the region or country or new to science."
Battershill said Donald's find was "hugely significant".
"It shows what can happen if you are passionate about discovery and Emma was certainly one of those students.
"I think that's why science is so exciting because the thrill of discovery is quite addictive. Who would have known that these things existed until you went and looked."
Because some of the species were so distinctive, they knew straight away they were looking at some pretty interesting organisms for potential biodiscovery programmes, he said.
"Every time we look in this region, we're finding new things."