[Coral-List] Sponge Barcoding Database launched
gert.woerheide at geo.uni-goettingen.de
Wed Jan 10 11:51:18 EST 2007
[apologies for cross-posting]
the Sponge Barcoding Database (SBD) has been launched and can be
accessed via the 'Data' button at the Sponge Barcoding Project's
Sponges are among the most ancestral metazoans and are notoriously
difficult to identify, even by taxonomic experts due to their
depauperate suite of complex morphologial characters. However, as a
group they are highly diverse, ecologically important and of
significant commercial importance to the pharmaceutical and
biomaterials industry. Therefore, means of unambiguous
identifications are urgently needed. Sponge DNA signature sequences
(DNA barcodes) will provide a set of indispensable tools to aid
taxonomists and ecologists in the identification of sponge species,
and will enhance the discovery of drug-producing species.
The Sponge Barcoding Database (SBD) has been developed with the aim
to function as the primary access point for DNA signature sequences
together with providing information on conventional morphological
taxonomic characters to aid species discovery, description and
The unique combination of sponge-specific conventional taxonomic
information and DNA signature sequences is the distinguishing
feature, in which the SBD differs from other database systems, such
as Genbank or the Barcode of Life Data Systems. While records of the
SBD will be linked with both databases in the future, both do not
provide the desired flexibility and have the desired options
available, e.g. they do not provide fields to store more detailed
(morphological) taxonomic descriptions.
An additional backbone for nomenclatorial and taxonomical entries is
the cross-linking to the World Porifera Database (WPD, http://
www.vliz.be/vmdcdata/porifera/index.php) which will provide the
ultimate taxonomic authority with regards to accepted species names.
Currently, the SBD provides two categories of records:
REFERENCE: records from described species with a full taxonomic
description, DNA signature sequence(s), and verification of voucher
material by a recognized taxonomic expert.
SUBMITTED: records from described species that either lack full
taxonomic description or verification by a taxonomic expert, or DNA
signature sequences from as yet undescribed and unverified species.
We strongly suggest using those records only for comparative purposes
and NOT for species identification.
The SBD does not contain many entries yet, but will be populated
soon, e.g. with numerous records from the Caribbean coral reefs which
have generously been provided by Sandra Duran.
To check out the functionality of the SBD, search for "Astrosclera"
as genus name on the search page or click on 'Specimen list'. Then
click on the record number on the results page to view the record.
The page of the record is a condensed view, click on 'show/hide' to
see expanded views of the 'Morphological description', 'Reference',
or 'Associated DNA Sequences'. A click on the latitude/longitude data
opens up Google Maps where the exact sample location is displayed on
a map and/or satellite image. DNA signature sequences can be
downloaded in FASTA format.
We sincerely hope to provide a useful service for the scientific
community with the Sponge Barcoding Project and its Database,
however, its success critically depends on the data YOU submit!
To submit records to the SBD you should follow the guidelines and use
the Excel spreadsheet template we provide on the 'Data' page (to be
found below the 'Go' button). Each record should contain a
morphological description and species identification, which will be
verified by an acknowledged taxonomic expert for the group before its
status is set to REFERENCE.
I would like to acknowledge Christian Menke contribution of
programming of the SBD, several members of the SBP steering group for
help and advice in implementing the structure of the SBD, especially
Dirk Erpenbeck, Bob Thacker and Joe Lopez and of course Sandra Duran
for providing her database.
Best regards, and happy new year!
Junior Professor for Geobiology
Geoscience Centre Göttingen
Dept. of Geobiology
37077 Göttingen, Germany
Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology
University of Göttingen
phone: +49-(0)551 39 14 177
mobile: +49-(0)178 537 22 33
fax: +49-(0)551-39 79 18
SkypeIn: +49-(0)551-29 81 400
gert.woerheide at geo.uni-goettingen.de
Associate Editor Porifera
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