Carnivore sponge, Cladorhiza corallophila, on a coral

Marine Invertebrates I

Focus of Research in our section,  Marine Evertebrates I, is the marine animal stem Porifera (sponges). Our collections furthermore comprise the taxa Cnidaria (mainly corals), Tunicata (ascidians and salps) and Ctenophora (comb jellies).

Poriferans and Cnidarians are the morphologically most original animals and the oldest in the fossil reord. Today they  are most diverse and can be found in all marine ecological zones  from tropical reefs to the Polar deep-sea, some representatives live in fresh water biotopes.  For the taxonomical identification and classification of these animals we use their outer morphology, color,  mineralogy, and especially the shape and size of structural elements in their skeleton. Increasingly, also molecular and biochemical markers are being used in taxonomy.