SponGES team member Paco Cárdenas (UU) just secured a 3-y grant along with co-applicants Sunithi Gunasekera (UU) and Chamari Hettiarachchi (University of Colombo, Sri Lanka). The grant, awarded by the Swedish Research Council in the frame of Swedish VR linkage initiatives, focuses on the biodiversity and chemodiversity of Sri Lankan marine sponges – and aims to explore opportunities for new pharmaceutical applications deriving from such yet understudied species.
The grant will notably fund three PhD students from Sri Lanka, and travel between Uppsala and Colombo. Furthermore, the grant will partially fund equipment to be acquired by the University of Colombo, and will support a workshop in Sri Lanka – on Systematics, Genomics and Natural Products of sponges.
One target species of the project is Cinachyrella hirsuta, collected in Sri Lanka in 1887 and never recorded since. The team hopes to re-discover and further study it. Good luck!