Meeting Abstract

S8-1.7  Sunday, Jan. 6  Managing and sharing the escalating sponge “unknowns”: the SpongeMaps project HOOPER, J.N.A.*; HALL, K.A.; EKINS, M.; ERPENBECK, D.; WÖRHEIDE, G.; JOLLEY-ROGERS, G.; Queensland Museum, South Brisbane, Australia; Queensland Museum, South Brisbane, Australia; Queensland Museum, South Brisbane, Australia; Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany; Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany; CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra, Australia

Collections of sponges in the Indo-west Pacific have escalated substantially due to pharmaceutical discovery, national bioregional planning, and compliance with international conventions on claims over the seabed and its marine genetic resources beyond existing national jurisdictions. These partially processed OTU collections now vastly outweigh the expertise available to make them better “known” via complete taxonomy, yet for many bioregions they represent the most significant body of knowledge. Increasing numbers of cryptic species are also being discovered from molecular and chemical studies, undetected morphologically, and the uncoordinated and fragmented collection efforts mean that knowledge and expertise gained from a particular project is often lost to future projects without a biodiversity informatics legacy. Integrating these diverse data (GIS, OTUs, images, molecular and other datasets) required a two-way iterative process so far unavailable for sponges with existing biodiversity informatics tools. SpongeMaps arose from the need for online collaboration to integrate morphometric data with barcodes for the MarBOL and SBD projects. It provides: interrogation of existing data to better process new collections; create new OTUs; publish online species pages to interpret GIS and other data for SBD, EoL, ALA, OBIS and other databases; and link automatically to external datasets for taxonomic hierarchy (WPD), specimen GIS and mapping (via OZCAM), molecular (via SBD and Genbank), and images (via Morphbank).