The workshop was held from 25-28 November 2019 at the Hellenic Center of Marine Research in Crete, Greece
Sponges are one of the major components of littoral ecosystems and play an important role structuring habitats in deep waters. Additionally, the morphology and structure of many species within this taxonomic group allows the creation of microhabitats that host a rich and diverse community of marine fauna and flora. About 8000 species are currently described worldwide and approximately 700 occur in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean sponge fauna is characterized by high level of endemism, rare or restricted distributed species, and species that have suffered important regressions mostly due to epidemic diseases and overharvesting
The Red List Assessment of Mediterranean Poriferans, commonly referred to as sponges
Inaugurated by Dr. Constantinos C. Mylonas, Director of IMBBC- HCMR, the goal of this workshop was to prepare with experts the Red List Assessment for approximately 80 species of sponges occurring in the Mediterranean Sea, so as to assign them to a Red List category.
The main target species were Keratosa (subclass) and Hexactinellida (class), together with all the carnivorous species (family Cladorhizidae).
This will be the first time that animals from the Phyllum Porifera are assessed for the Red List of Threatened Species. The assessment also includes the evaluation of commercial sponges. Although the Mediterranean covers a limited part of Poriferans around the globe, the assessment could help evaluate sponges in other parts of the world..
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species measures the change of global diversity and acts to conserve that biodiversity through assessments of individual species and identifying and carrying out actions to address concerns. Species assessments evaluate the chances of extinction in the foreseeable future based on past and expected future trends. They help to prioritize where action is most urgently needed and also to identify the major threats.
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