Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom


DNA taxonomy of sponges—progress and perspectives

Gert  Wörheide a1c1 and Dirk  Erpenbeck a1a2
a1 Department of Geobiology, Geoscience Centre Göttingen, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
a2 Biodiversity Program, Queensland Museum, 4101 South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Article author query
wörheide g   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
erpenbeck d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Sponges (Phylum Porifera) are among the most ancestral metazoans and are frequently difficult to identify, even by taxonomic experts, due to their lack of complex morphological characters. However, poriferans are highly diverse, ecologically important and of significant importance to pharmaceutical and biomaterials industries. Therefore, means of unambiguous identification are urgently needed. A DNA taxonomic system, and in particular sponge DNA barcodes, will provide a set of indispensable tools to aid taxonomists and ecologists in the rapid identification of sponge species, which will enhance the discovery of drug-producing species. Here, we will argue for the implementation of a DNA supported taxonomic system and introduce the Sponge Barcoding Project.

(Received April 30 2007)
(Accepted August 14 2007)

c1 Corresponding author, e-mail: [email protected]