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Canadian Arctic sponges made accessible

Added on 2018-06-05 12:53:29 by van Soest, Rob
Dinn, C.; Leys, S.P. (2018) Field Guide to sponges of the Eastern Canadian Arctic. A field and laboratory guide. Version 1.0. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, T6G 2E9.
There is generally an inverse relationship between our knowledge of the diversity of marine species and the depth and remoteness of a region (Archambault et al., 2010). The vast Canadian Arctic is extremely remote. The deep basins and extent of the continental shelf in the Arctic and Subarctic harbour a wide range of plankton, fish, mammal, and bird species which are important economic resources, particularly for inhabitants of northern regions (Darnis et al., 2012), but the true biodiversity of the Canadian Arctic waters remains relatively unknown. Many benthic species are overlooked in biodiversity studies (Archambault et al., 2010; Piepenburg et al., 2010; Darnis et al., 2012; Roy et al., 2015) and sponges (phylum Porifera) in particular are poorly known in the Canadian North. The number of sponge species known from eastern Canadian waters is an order of magnitude lower than species known from similar latitudes globally (Ackers et al., 1992; Sara et al., 1992; Picton & Goodwin, 2007; Downey et al., 2012; Van Soest et al., 2012; Lehnert & Stone, 2016).
         Canadian oceans contain approximately 7% of the world’s 232 global marine ecoregions (Spalding et al., 2007; Archambault et al., 2010). Of the 17 marine ecoregions surrounding Canada, three occur in the eastern Canadian Arctic and Subarctic: Northern Labrador, Baffin Bay/Davis Strait and Lancaster Sound (Spalding et al., 2007). These ecoregions represent a considerable portion of the Canadian continental shelf, thus knowledge of the marine fauna inhabiting the area is important for managing human activities in the north.
        The goal of this guide is to derive a better understanding of the biodiversity of sponges across the eastern Canadian Arctic. Specimens were collected during research cruises aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Amundsen in October 2015, July 2016 and July 2017. Collection sites were selected based on reported areas of high sponge abundance (Kenchington et al., 2010; Kenchington et al., 2011; Knudby et al., 2013) and particular emphasis was given to deep, hard-bottom habitats where collection of benthic organisms is not possible using traditional sampling methods such as sediment grabs and cores.
        This guide is a working document. The identifications and descriptions were made to the best of the ability of the authors, using both morphology and molecular analyses. The information herein should therefore be considered provisional and may be subject to correction.


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