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The ecology of the sponge larva

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The present work summarizes the progress attained in the study of sponge larval ecology since the state-of-the-art reviews performed in the 1970s and stresses the major weaknesses in our current understanding. Most available information on this subject comes from laboratory studies, with just occasional field observations or experiments. The data are also strongly biased because they are mostly derived from just one larval type out the eight types known in the phylum Porifera. Descriptive studies on larval histology are relatively abundant, but investigations directed at unravelling the cytological basis of the main larval behaviors are scarce. Most aspects of basic larval metabolism and sensing processes remain largely not investigated. Modelling of larval ecology is virtually lacking, with no serious attempt to investigate how the major features of larval ecology affect the structure and dynamics of sponge populations. In summary, the ecology of the sponge larva needs further research attention if we are to achieve a global understanding of the biology of the phylum Porifera.

Le présent travail fait le point sur les progrès accomplis dans l'étude de l'écologie des larves d'éponges depuis les excellentes rétrospectives des années 1970 et il souligne les principales faiblesses de notre compréhension actuelle du domaine. La majorité de l'information sur le sujet provient d'études de laboratoire et de quelques observations ou expériences occasionnelles sur le terrain. Les données sont aussi fortement inégales, car elles ont principalement été obtenues sur un seul des huit types de larves connues dans le phylum des porifères. Les études descriptives de l'histo lo gie des larves sont relativement nombreuses, mais il y a peu de recherches sur la base cytologique des principaux comportements larvaires. La plupart des aspects du métabolisme de base des larves et des processus sensoriels restent à éclaircir. Il n'y a à peu près pas de modélisation de l'écologie larvaire, ni aucune tentative sérieuse pour déterminer comment les composantes principales de l'écologie des larves affectent la structure et la dynamique des populations d'éponges. En somme, il faudra concentrer plus de recherches scientifiques sur l'écologie des larves d'éponges afin d'obtenir une compréhension globale de la biologie du phylum des porifères.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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