[Coral-List] update on the census on sponge science

Christine Schonberg christine.schonberg at uwa.edu.au
Mon Mar 2 19:22:16 EST 2015

Hi sponge world and sponge-interested people,

It’s not too late to contribute to a census about sponge scientists. Here is an update on my attempt to put us into some sort of demographic evaluation:

To date I had answers from people working out of 36 countries.

The ten most active countries so far are (in %):

USA 16.2
Australia 12.3
Brazil   9.3
Italy   6.6
Germany   5.3
The Netherlands   5.0
France   4.3
Spain   3.6
Canada   3.3
Norway   3.3

Croatia scoring next, which I mention, because the Mediterranean plays a substantial role in the sponge world. Anyway, this means that only 5 countries are providing about 50% of present sponge science. USA is strongest but may still be slightly over-represented. Italy and Croatia are quite active for comparatively small countries. Funny, Greece has a long sponge history and culture, but I don’t have many responses so far. Russia was always contributing through time, but I haven’t had significant replies for the present census. Norway is a growing entity. Historically, Germany, Netherlands and France have always been somewhere in the list of main players. But where are Asia and Africa in this? Japan used to be strong, and what about various contributions from China? India, Singapore, Thailand, island countries, please respond. What about the more recent sponge groups in Arabian countries? I challenge people to respond, for a statistical survey, but also to be added to a global address list of known sponge workers.

This is what people sent me about their stage of career (in %):

Early/student 37.3
Mid 39.2
Late 11.4
Retired (but active) 12.0

So there is a healthy pool of people growing into the world of sponge science. And we have a solid, active, educated mid-career base to train the next generation, a workforce also to just be there and do things and project science into the future. And then we have an >20% group of highly distinguished, experienced people we can tap into for established info and decades of experience, either at the end of their career or supposedly retired (but obviously still very active!). Looks more or less healthy and sustainable, and with a lot of experience and support. But in the same time I guess that student replies may be under-represented?

Research topics are more complicated and will be evaluated later.

This present, prelim glimpse is based on only 151 answers while my target was over 300.  I know at least 100 more names that qualify as regular or central players in the sponge world, but you have not yet responded. Your answers would fine-tune the present evaluation. But I am also very keen to hear from people from ‘rare countries’, early career spongers, palaeontologists (which have sort of disappeared over time...), people who may not see themselves as ‘only sponge scientists’, but who are regularly extracting sponge DNA or biochemistry… etc.

I would like to know who is contributing to the present sponge world, what are the central interests, and where do present trends take us?

Having worked through past sponge proceedings I have an idea about trends, but not everyone can attend every conference. Interested people are always welcome in the sponge world. What is your contribution? (See below template of info that will be scored, A for demography, B for the global address list, please note that ‘main interest’ will now be added to the address list as well to facilitate networking)

Cheers, Christine

B – name – Christine Schönberg
A – country – Australia
B – main interest – ecology, bioerosion (you can provide more info here if you wish, e.g. A 3-4 sentence summary of what you do)
A – career status – mid–career
B – address – University of Western Australia, Oceans Institute, 39 Fairway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
B – email – christine.schonberg at uwa.edu.au<mailto:christine.schonberg at uwa.edu.au>
B – internet - https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=Q-hUuTAAAAAJ&hl=en

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