SICB Annual Meeting 2013
January 3-7, 2013
San Francisco, CA

Symposium: Assembling the Poriferan Tree of Life

Sponges are almost certainly the oldest lineage of extant animals, and their phylogenetic affinities and interrelationships have proven difficult to resolve for a variety of reasons, including ancient divergences, simplicity of body organization and anatomical features, close microbial associations, morphological plasticity, and extensive homoplasy. The highly collaborative research sponsored by the Porifera Tree of Life (PorToL) project is providing insights into some of the most difficult questions in metazoan systematics. PorToL research has falsified earlier phylogenetic hypotheses, discovered novel phylogenetic alliances, found phylogenetic homes for enigmatic taxa, and provided a more precise understanding of the evolution of skeletal features, secondary metabolites, body organization, and symbioses. These exciting new discoveries made through comparative studies in the context of robust phylogenetic hypotheses will be shared at the symposium. Beyond revealing a contemporary understanding of poriferan phylogeny, the symposium talks will elucidate early animal evolution and demonstrate the application of the modern phylogenetic techniques for investigating large and complex datasets. The invited speakers are an international group of zoologists and evolutionary biologists who are either principal investigators or collaborators of PorToL. The speakers possess expertise in all major evolutionary clades of sponges and are actively integrating emerging knowledge of poriferan phylogeny with other aspects of sponge biology. The session will end with a roundtable discussion of current problems and future work on poriferan phylogeny and systematics.

Sponsors: DPCB, DIZ, AMS


  • Robert W. Thacker, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Allen G. Collins, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History


S8-1.1 Sunday, Jan. 6, 08:00 THACKER, R.W.*: Assembling the Poriferan Tree of Life: Integrative Taxonomy and Systematics Reveal New Patterns of Sponge Evolution

S8-1.2 Sunday, Jan. 6, 08:30 REDMOND, NE*; MORROW, CC; THACKER, RW; DIAZ, MC; BOURY-ESNUALT, N; CáRDENAS, P; HAJDU, E; COLLINS, AG; PICTON, BE; COLLINS, AG: New 18S rDNA Sequence Data Suggest Exciting New Hypotheses for Internal Relationships of Demospongiae (Phylum Porifera).

S8-1.3 Sunday, Jan. 6, 09:00 BOURY-ESNAULT, N.*; LAVROV, D.; PéREZ, T.: The integrative phylogeny approach applied to Porifera: a case-study the Homoscleromorpha

S8-1.4 Sunday, Jan. 6, 10:00 MORROW, C.C.*; REDMOND, N.E.; PICTON, B.E.; ALLCOCK, A.L.; SIGWART, J.D.; MAGGS, C.A.: Molecular phylogenies support homoplasy of multiple morphological characters used in the taxonomy of Heteroscleromorpha (Porifera: Demospongiae)

S8-1.5 Sunday, Jan. 6, 10:30 KLAUTAU, M.*; AZEVEDO, F.; CóNDOR LUJáN, B.; RUSSO, C.A.M.; COLLINS, A.: Calcarea evolution: morphology and molecules

S8-1.6 Sunday, Jan. 6, 11:00 HAJDU, E.*; LôBO-HAJDU, G.; COSME, B.; DE PAULA, T.; REDMOND, N.E.; COLLINS, A.G.; THACKER, R.W.: Towards an Evolutionary Classification of Mycalina and Latrunculina (Poecilosclerida)

S8-1.7 Sunday, Jan. 6, 11:30 HOOPER, J.N.A.*; HALL, K.A.; EKINS, M.; ERPENBECK, D.; WÖRHEIDE, G.; JOLLEY-ROGERS, G.: Managing and sharing the escalating sponge “unknowns”: the SpongeMaps project

S8-2.1 Sunday, Jan. 6, 13:00 DIAZ, M.C.*; THACKER, R.W.T; REDMOND, N.; COLLINS, A.G: “Don’t judge a book by its cover: Discovering two new Verongida genera (Class Demospongiae, Porifera)”

S8-2.2 Sunday, Jan. 6, 13:30 LAVROV, Dennis: The origin of freshwater sponges: when, where, and why?

S8-2.3 Sunday, Jan. 6, 14:00 WOERHEIDE, G: Phylogenomics of non-bilaterian animals: pitfalls and challenges