Phylogeny of selected key taxa of Antarctic deep-sea Porifera (Sponges) and the history of their radiation (ANTARC-por)



Privatdozentin Dr. Dorte Janussen 
Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum 
Abteilung Marine Zoologie

Professor Dr. Gert Wörheide 
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Department für Geo- und Umweltwissenschaften
Sektion Paläontologie und Geobiologie



Sponges play an important ecological role as active filter feeders contributing to the nutrient flow in the pelago-benthic coupling, a central topic of the SYSTCO program. Furthermore, sponges are important in structuring the sea floor where they act hosts creating habitats for other organisms. The evolutionary radiation of poriferan taxa can be seen as one ecological key factor triggering the diversity of benthic communities. This is particularly notable in Antarctic realms where an extraordinarily rich sponge fauna inhabit in high abundances. However, nothing is known about the colonization history, evolution or phylogenetic relationships of Southern Ocean sponge communities. In this research project, we aim to resolve the systematic and phylogenetic relationships of selected Antarctic sponge taxa, to reconstruct their phylogeographic history, and to compare these rich fauna with the sponge faunas of other World oceans, mainly the Arctic. We use an integrative approach combining molecular techniques with morphological and paleontological data to understanding the history of the diversification of Antarctic Porifera. Such knowledge is pivotal to assess the potential of the sponge communities, key-components of the Southern Ocean benthic realm, for their resilience to global change.


DFG-Verfahren: Infrastruktur-Schwerpunktprogramme

Förderung von 2008 bis 2014