Evolutionary and ecological success of sponges - the world's simplest animals

Project: Research

  • Funch, Peter (PI)
  • Brewer, Jonathan R. (CoPI)
  • Riisgård, Hans Ulrik (CoPI)
  • Institut for Biokemi og Molekylær Biologi
  • University of Southern Denmark
See relations at Aarhus University


Sponges were present more than 600 million years ago and have ever since been
an important functional group in marine ecosystems. They pump huge amounts of
water through their bodies from which they filter out food particles. Most likely they
share characteristics with more advanced filter-feeders that all possess protection
and cleaning mechanisms to overcome particle-overloading, but our knowledge
about this is limited. Our goal is to understand the mechanisms ensuring
maintenance of the sponge filter-pump by providing a basic understanding of the
origin and purpose of contractile behaviour of sponges. Our group will likely
achieve this goal due to our strong background and expertise researching
suspension feeding, and the use of and development of advanced bioimaging. Here
we propose to investigate the ecophysiology of sponges in comparison with other
filter-feeders, and we expect to contribute significantly to understanding of the
evolutionary and ecological success of sponges.
Effective start/end date01/09/2018 → …

ID: 213254507