DEEPEND Project: Sponge Identification Project Workshop Report. 4th - 8th March 2024.

Horton, Tammy ORCID:; Xavier, Joana; Cárdenas, Paco; Rios, Pilar; Santín, Andreu; Cristobo, Javier; Morrow, Christine; Domingos, Celso; Light, Julie; Serpell-Stevens, Amanda; Valls Domedel, Georgina. 2024 DEEPEND Project: Sponge Identification Project Workshop Report. 4th - 8th March 2024. Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, 37pp. (National Oceanography Centre Internal Document, No. 26)

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The DEEPEND project is a collaborative effort to study the societal value of biodiversity in the deep-sea. Marine organisms are a promising resource for useful natural products such as medicines. The potential use of biodiversity - or marine genetic resources (MGR) - has yet to be thoroughly explored in the deep sea. These organisms offer the exciting potential discovery of new gene clusters that direct the formation of enzymes and small molecules. These could have useful biotechnological and pharmaceutical applications, including the discovery of novel antibiotics, coming at a time when society faces an antimicrobial resistance crisis. Marine sponges are known to be important sources of novel natural products, yet the identification of sponge taxa (many of which are new to science) requires specialist taxonomic expertise. DEEPEND was initiated in 2022 with an 8-month pilot project with an extension to the project being granted for a further 12 months, bringing the project to a close on the 31st of March 2024. As part of the extension funding, it was recognised that the team lacked expertise in sponge identification, despite this taxon being of utmost importance in biodiscovery. This workshop aims to go some way towards remedying this by providing some trusted identifications for taxa currently under study, and improving the identification of abyssal sponge taxa currently held in the Discovery Collections at NOC, which largely originate from the Porcupine Abyssal Plain, Whittard Canyon, Mid Atlantic Ridge and Haig Fras areas in the North Atlantic, and also selected specimens from the Central Pacific in the Clarion Clipperton Zone (SMARTEX Project).

Item Type: Publication - Report (Project Report)
Date made live: 05 Jun 2024 10:06 +0 (UTC)

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