Sponge Systematics Facing New Challenges. <i>In</i>: Becerro MA, Uriz MJ, Maldonado M, Turon X (eds) Advances in Sponge Science: Phylogeny, Systematics, Ecology.
Advances in Marine Biology
Proceedings of the 8th International Sponge Conference (not part of the main volume, but published in addition to the proceedings)
Available for editors
Systematics is nowadays facing new challenges with the introduction of new concepts and new techniques. Compared to most other phyla, phylogenetic relationships among sponges are still largely unresolved. In the past 10 years, the classical taxonomy has been completely overturned and a review of the state of the art appears necessary. The field of taxonomy remains a prominent discipline of sponge research and studies related to sponge systematics were
in greater number in the Eighth World Sponge Conference (Girona, Spain, September 2010) than in any previous world sponge conferences. To understand the state of this rapidly growing field, this chapter proposes to review studies, mainly from the past decade, in sponge taxonomy, nomenclature and phylogeny. In a first part, we analyse the reasons of the current success of this field. In a second part, we establish the current sponge systematics theoretical framework,
with the use of (1) cladistics, (2) different codes of nomenclature (Phylo-Code vs.Linnaean system) and (3) integrative taxonomy. Sponges are infamous for their lack of characters. However, by listing and discussing in a third part all characters available to taxonomists, we show how diverse characters are and that new ones are being used and tested, while old ones should be revisited. We then review the systematics of the four main classes of sponges (Hexactinellida, Calcispongiae, Homoscleromorpha and Demospongiae), each time focusing on current issues and case studies. We present a review of the
taxonomic changes since the publication of the Systema Porifera (2002), and point to problems a sponge taxonomist is still faced with nowadays. To conclude, we make a series of proposals for the future of sponge systematics. In the light of recent studies, we establish a series of taxonomic changes that the sponge community may be ready to accept. We also propose a series of sponge new names and definitions following the PhyloCode. The issue of phantom species (potential new species revealed by molecular studies) is raised, and we show how they could be dealt with. Finally, we present a general strategy to
help us succeed in building a Porifera tree along with the corresponding revised Porifera classification.