Deep-sea Sponge Ground Ecosystems of the North Atlantic
Our EU H2020 project (coordinated by the University of Bergen) is currently ongoing, and we are trying to understand the structure and function of deep-sea sponge grounds in the North Atlantic. In our lab, we are mostly interested in the genetic diversity, connectivity and reproductive patterns in key sponge species, but we will also work on metatranscriptomics and molecular evolution of sponges.
DeepSym: Connecting the microbiome with the genome of the host
Amplicon sequencing and meta-transcriptomics in deep-sea sponges (MSCA Cristina Diez)
We are interested in understanding the co-evolution of the symbiotic partners (microbes and sponges) in deep-sea habitats. Our research is enclosed in a much larger project called SponGES (see above).
Evolution of filter-feeding in the sea
Early evolution of multicellular sponges - a bioenergetic and bio-fluid mechanical approach for understanding evolutionary adaptation to animal filter-feeding in the sea
The project is focused on comparative morphology combined with experimentally measured bioenergetic parameters, including filtration, respiration, particle capture efficiency, food ingestion and excretion in sponges and choanoflagellates. Gene expression patterns of markers involved in building the aquiferous system of sponges will be addressed as well as their molecular evolution.
Molecular adaptations to cold
Genetic structure and adaptation of benthic organisms in Antarctica (ADAPTOMICS, MSCA Nathan Kenny)
Population structure of benthic invertebrates in any habitat respond to phylogeographic patterns, trophic and chemically-driven relationships. In this project our aim is to assess the population structure using molecular tools (phylogenetic markers and SNPs), and use genomic resources to understand the adaptation patterns in several groups of marine inverterbrates, including sponges, nemerteans and annelids.
Molecular ecology in the sea
Invertebrate phylogenetics and evolution
The study of the genetic diversity of marine invertebrates is currently a major priority given the rapid extinction rates reported for many areas. We are interested in speciation processes and phylogenetic relationships among different invertebrates to understand the evolution of marine species. We are working in sponges, polychaetes, and cnidarians.