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Global diversity of sponges (Porifera)
Van Soest, R.W.M.; Boury-Esnault, N.; Vacelet, J.; Dohrmann, M.; Erpenbeck, D.; de Voogd, N.J.; Santodomingo, N.; Vanhoorne, B.; Kelly, M.; Hooper, J.N.A. (2012). Global diversity of sponges (Porifera). PLoS One 7(4): e35105. dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0035105
In: PLoS One. Public Library of Science: San Francisco. ISSN 1932-6203, more
Peer reviewed article

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Keywords
    Biodiversity; Databases; Taxonomy; Porifera [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top | Dataset 
  • Van Soest, R.W.M., more
  • Boury-Esnault, N., more
  • Vacelet, J.
  • Dohrmann, M.
  • Erpenbeck, D.
  • de Voogd, N.J.
  • Santodomingo, N.
  • Vanhoorne, B., more
  • Kelly, M.
  • Hooper, J.N.A.

Abstract
    With the completion of a single unified classification, the Systema Porifera (SP) and subsequent development of an online species database, the World Porifera Database (WPD), we are now equipped to provide a first comprehensive picture of the global biodiversity of the Porifera. An introductory overview of the four classes of the Porifera is followed by a description of the structure of our main source of data for this paper, the WPD. From this we extracted numbers of all ‘known’ sponges to date: the number of valid Recent sponges is established at 8,553, with the vast majority, 83%, belonging to the class Demospongiae. We also mapped for the first time the species richness of a comprehensive set of marine ecoregions of the world, data also extracted from the WPD. Perhaps not surprisingly, these distributions appear to show a strong bias towards collection and taxonomy efforts. Only when species richness is accumulated into large marine realms does a pattern emerge that is also recognized in many other marine animal groups: high numbers in tropical regions, lesser numbers in the colder parts of the world oceans. Preliminary similarity analysis of a matrix of species and marine ecoregions extracted from the WPD failed to yield a consistent hierarchical pattern of ecoregions into marine provinces. Global sponge diversity information is mostly generated in regional projects and resources: results obtained demonstrate that regional approaches to analytical biogeography are at present more likely to achieve insights into the biogeographic history of sponges than a global perspective, which appears currently too ambitious. We also review information on invasive sponges that might well have some influence on distribution patterns of the future.

Dataset
  • WPD: World Porifera Database, more

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