[Coral-List] Sponge Barcoding Database launched

Gert Wörheide gert.woerheide at geo.uni-goettingen.de
Wed Jan 10 11:51:18 EST 2007

[apologies for cross-posting]

Dear colleagues,
the Sponge Barcoding Database (SBD) has been launched and can be  
accessed via the 'Data' button at the Sponge Barcoding Project's  
website (www.spongebarcoding.org).

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!

Gert Wörheide

Gert Wörheide
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
Skype: spongegert

gert.woerheide at geo.uni-goettingen.de


Associate Editor Porifera
-- Zootaxa --

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