Sponges were present more than 600 million years ago and have ever since been important components in aquatic ecosystems. They are sessile and pump huge amounts of water through their bodies from whichthey filter out food particles. Most likely they share basic characteristics with more advanced filter-feedersthat all possess protection and cleaning mechanisms to overcome particle-overloading.
The goal of theproject is to understand the mechanisms ensuring maintenance of the sponge filter-pump by providing abasic understanding of the origin and purpose of contractile behaviour of sponges.
Understanding of theecophysiology of sponges and comparison with other filter-feeders, such as the blue mussel that reducesits respiration rate to overcome starvation during winter months, may shed light on the evolutionary andecological success of sponges - the world's simplest multicellular animals.
Total amount of grant: 2.567.761 dkk