Workshop on Mediterranean IUCN Redlist, Wednesday, 28 June 2017 at 19.00
Context: Sponges are one of the major components of littoral ecosystems and also form an important part structuring habitats in deep waters. The morphology and structure of many species within this taxonomic group also allows the creation of microhabitats that host a rich and diverse community of marine fauna and flora. About 8000 species are currently described worldwide1 (Van Soest et al. 2012) and approximately 700 occur in the Mediterranean Sea2 (Coll et al. 2010). The Mediterranean sponge fauna is characterised by high level of endemism, rare or restricted distributed species, and species that has suffered important regressions mostly due to epidemic diseases and overharvesting. Under these circumstances, it is key to understand their present status and prioritise those species in need to be included in adequate management plans for their conservation.
With the aim to provide information about the conservation status of the Mediterranean biodiversity, the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN Med) in collaboration with hundreds of experts have assessed the risk of extinction of more than 4000 species of 19 taxonomic groups from freshwater, marine and terrestrial environments in the last 10 years. Given the importance of sponges for the conservation of Mediterranean biodiversity, IUCN Med is interested to explore the possibility to carry out a Red List assessment of this group in the Mediterranean Sea.
Hexactinellida Identification Workshop, Friday, 30 June 2017 at 15.00
We are privileged to have Dr. Henry Reiswig of the University of Victoria and Royal British Columbia Museum give a workshop on the identification of hexactinellid sponges. Henry Reiswig is a world expert on the taxonomy and systematics of Hexactinellida. The workshop will focus first on discussion of methods used to identify hexactinellids with a demonstration of examination on unknown specimens. Realization that there is a major likelihood that any specimen is an undescribed species should be appreciated and temper reliance on identification keys. The second focus will be on what to do with the new information and how to carry out a description. The final component will be on the secrets of making beautiful SEM images of hexactinellid microscleres. This workshop is supported by the SponGES project which has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 679849).