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1 September 2014. Approximately 300 specimens and 600 images of nearly 100 OTUs were added to SpongeMaps, representing new benthic species from the vast and still largely unexplored oceanic territory of French Polynesia. This material was collected by Dr Cecile Debitus's group at IRD Tahiti, studying the biodiversity and chemical resources from the huge mid eastern Pacific Ocean seabed.
1 September 2014. Web-Stat counter recorded 5,675 visitors to SpongeMaps since the tool was installed in March 2013, with 25% of the visits originating from the United States, and the 10 most common previous visits from North and South America, Europe, Japan and Australia. The database presently contains 28,722 specimens and 58,858 images of 4,595 OTUs of which 717 species have been delivered to the ALA.
A revised template is now available to upload bulk specimen data and image metadata into SpongeMaps, making it easier than before to contribute your data to the Sponge Community species database.
In March 2014 the University of Utah College of Pharmacy and the University of the South Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies delivered 17 & 47 new OTUs, and 234 & 446 images, respectively, to SpongeMaps. These specimens were collected from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, representing a decade of marine natural products research in this region. Principle biological investigator of this project is Mary Kay Harper of the Chris Ireland research group, and the Bill Aarlbesberg group.
30 March 2014. In addition to 713 species pages now visible to the general public (live on the ALA), SpongeMaps Members can view 4,438 sponge OTUs, from 25,054 specimens with 57,044 associated images. There are now 90 members of SpongeMaps and since its launch in 2013 there have been over 700 unique visits viewing about 4,000 pages.
30 December 2013. SpongeMaps has delivered over 700 species pages to public viewing via the Atlas of Living Australia, providing descriptive information, images and other biological information that support specimen GIS data and mapping functions in the ALA.
An example of SpongeMaps at work, demonstrating the power of 'Collaborating in the Cloud' with multi-users exchanging taxonomic and chemical data on Theonellids in real time, helping to unravel taxonomic issues. (Hall, KA et al. 2013. SpongeMaps: in-cloud taxonomic collaborations on Indo-West Pacific species of Theonella Gray, 1868. 9th World Sponge Conference, “New Frontiers of Sponge Science”, 4-8 November 2013, Fremantle, Western Australia (Available from F1000 Posters).
Following the launch of the beta version 1.0 of SpongeMaps at the SICB meeting in San Francisco in January, a paper outlining the functionality and rationale for SpongeMaps project was published in Integrative & Comparative Biology, as part of the PoRTOL Symposium. (Hooper, JNA et al. 2013. Managing and Sharing the Escalating Number of Sponge ‘‘Unknowns’’: The SpongeMaps Project. Integrative and Comparative Biology 53 (3): 473-481 (DOI : 10.1093/icb/ict038)
30th April, 2013. A new paper reports 75 sponge OTUs from the Marquesas and Society Islands, French Polynesia, from 109 sites from the 6 and 8 islands within each archipelago. Presence/ absence of species was compared to other sites across the Western Pacific. All these OTUs can now be accessed on SpongeMaps. (Hall, KA et al. 2013. Affinities of sponges (Porifera) of the Marquesas and Society Islands, French Polynesia. Pacific Science 67(4): 493-511 (dx.doi.org/10.2984/67.4.1)
28th March, 2013. A new face has been given to the SpongeMaps website. This new front-end to the database should make navigating around the site a lot simpler, quicker and more efficient. Please let us know what you think of the new interface by leaving feedback.
6th January, 2013. The new SpongeMaps website was launched at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Meeting in San Francisco. During the launch features of the website and the Caspio Bridge database engine were explained, and the role of an online sponge taxonomic community to help overcome some challenges in constructing the Tree of Life for sponges (PorToL project), to define and characterise species behind password protection.