Consult this module for an array of subjects concerning sponges, from "Anatomy" to "Pharmaceutical compounds", each illustrated by an instructive image.
By clicking the "Contents" symbol below the window you get access to a list of all topics treated in the introduction and clicking on a name will get you there.
All 362 species are described in a fixed order. They are first characterized in a short overview, and then described in taxonomic details following the sequence: Colour / Shape, size, surface and consistency / Spicules / Skeleton / Ecology / Distribution / Etymology / Type specimen information / Remarks.
For many type specimens the museum collection where they are kept is indicated; sometimes no information is available at present. The type specimen information is often accompanied by a "MCS voucher" number, referring to specimens of the collection of the Belfast Museum (BELUM) of which live pictures are taken up in this guide. For consultation of these specimens one is referred to Bernard Picton.
All blue text is "hot", i.e. clicking on a word leads you to information on the searched-for item.
For each species synonyms and literature records are provided as comprehensively as possible. All literature mentioned in the synonymy is fully cited and linked to the "Literature" module.
For each species a full classification to family, order and class is provided in the Taxonomy field. Taxon names are "hot" and linked to the "Higher Taxa"module. Finally there is a list of all pictures available for the species in the Multimedia field; these can be individually accessed by clicking on the camera symbol.
By clicking the "Contents" symbol below the window you get access to an alphabetical list of all species treated in the guide and clicking on a name will get you there.
Higher Taxa Module:
The "Higher Taxa" module contains definitions and contents of all classes, subclasses, orders and families of sponges represented in the guide. Family records in addition contain definitions of all genera belonging to them as far as represented in the area, with a list of all species treated in this guide, as well as a list of species occurring in the area but in deeper water. The latter addition is made to point out obvious alternatives if a collected specimen does not seem to be represented in the "Species" module.
By clicking the "Contents" symbol below the window you get access to an alphabetical list of all higher taxa treated in the guide and clicking on a name will get you there.
More than 300 terms used in the descriptions of sponges are defined and in most cases illustrated.
By clicking the "Contents" symbol below the window you get access to an alphabetical list of all terms defined in the guide and clicking on a name will get you there.
Over 620 full literature references are provided in an alphabetical order. All references are linked to the relevant species in the"Species" module. The "Key words" field for each reference lists all taxa to which the literature reference is linked.
By clicking the "Contents" symbol below the window you get access to an alphabetical list of all references treated in the guide and clicking on a name will get you there.
Text Key Module:
Traditional keying out of species is possible with the "Text Key". Up to four choices can be made each time a step in the key has been made (by clicking on the entry of choice). Many steps have been illustrated with pictures of key characters. The choice for a species will lead directly to the "Species" module, so the choice can be evaluated by comparing the description of the species with your specimen. Please consult the "Help" menu for many additional useful tools.
This is a "matrix"-type key, which compares the choice of characters and states you make on the basis of your specimen with the scores made for all the species. The species with the highest number of "hits" is the most likely choice.
Different levels of entry are possible:
- If you are not sure of the class to which your specimen belongs you may try to identify this first by choosing the File Classes from the Folder Phylum Porifera in the Identify Folder.
Once you have established which class your specimen belongs to you can then
- if your specimen belongs to the Calcarea - directly determine your species with the File Calcarea in the Folder Sponge Classes in the IdentifyIt Folder,
or - if your specimen belongs to the Demospongiae - you then proceed to identify which order your specimen belongs to with the File Demospongiae in the Folder Sponge Classes in the IdentifyIt Folder.
- Once you have determined which order your Demosponge belongs to, you then should open the appropriate file from the Folder The Demosponges in the Identify Folder. Characters and states can be simply clicked and one may get scores on likely identity with each step. Obviously, accuracy of the scores improves with a growing number of clicked states, but in theory a single click may get you the correct answer.
(Several objects are linked to IdentifyIt Files to a lower taxonomic level.)
Text: Rob van Soest