Objectives. The main aim of Work Package 2 is to provide a complete assessment of the biodiversity contained within sponge grounds ecosystems of the North Atlantic. In order to reach the aim the following specific objectives will be pursued:
- Identify, describe and classify all habitat- forming sponge species, their composition and structure in the study area.
- Investigate the diversity of sponge-grounds associated fauna.
- Investigate the diversity and function of microbial consortia associated with key sponge species.
- Develop a classification scheme for North Atlantic sponge ecosystems.
Focus. The Work Package will study the biodiversity of the sponge ground ecosystems, including habitat-forming sponge species, their microbial biome and associated fauna as regards composition and structure, diversity, and function. A classification scheme for North Atlantic sponge ecosystems will be developed.
Why is this important? Sponge grounds are reservoirs of biodiversity and high biodiversity ensures natural sustainability and health of ecosystems. Sponge grounds are a storehouse of novel chemical compounds with great potential for pharmaceutical drugs and provide refuge for commercial fish. The Work Package will explore sponge grounds as hotspots of biodiversity by studying fauna and microbiome in and out of these habitats.
Discover more about SponGES WP2 – download the WP2 Infosheet here.