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Field Collection and Sample Documentation

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Field Collection and Sample Documentation

Careful attention to documentation and preservation will ensure that collections, some of which are once in a lifetime, will have maximum value.

Field Collection and Documentation

  • A) On your snorkel or dive, take an underwater camera, labeled specimen bags, and a slate/clipboard. A tape measure or ruler is also useful.


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Protocols Used by PorToL Participants

Submitting Samples

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Submitting specimens, tissues, or DNA

Thank you for participating in PorToL. If you have not already done so, please ensure that you have read and understand the PorToL Policy on Data Ownership and sign up for an account.

Overview of the process of submitting samples

A) Complete PorToL Submission Form (Excel spreadsheet) and email it to Bob Thacker and Allen Collins;
B) For any specimens going to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), please complete a Deed of Gift (Word document);
C) Mail the samples to the appropriate laboratory.
D) Share additional information about the specimens (permits, images, etc.), as appropriate.


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The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Bocas Research Station presents:


July 11 – 26, 2016

Bocas del Toro Research Station, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Registration Fee:
$850 (includes room and board, STRI registration fee, etc.)

Some need-based fellowships are available.

Thacker Lab

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This is Thacker Lab Page

Data Access and Use Policy

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PorToL User Agreement and Policy on Data Ownership, Use, and Publications

About Portol

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PorToL - The Porifera Tree of Life Project

Project Summary

Intellectual Merit. Sponges are among the earliest diverging metazoans and, despite being common residents of benthic habitats worldwide, they are relatively understudied. Phylum Porifera contains 8,122 valid species with an estimated 4,000 awaiting discovery and/or description. They are classified in three classes, 25 orders, 127 families and 680 genera. The ancient origin, simple body organization, close microbial associations and morphological plasticity of sponges make them one of the most challenging groups in animal systematics. Reflecting these difficulties, phylogenetic relationships within Porifera remain mostly unresolved. In particular, the monophyly of the phylum and its largest class, Demospongiae, has been questioned, as well as the relationships among its major lineages. The lack of a robust phylogenetic hypothesis for this phylum hampers progress in basic studies of sponge biology and biodiversity, including comparative evolutionary studies that employ sponge species as model organisms and efforts to conserve or economically exploit sponges. The goal of our team is to provide a phylogenetic context that will improve the understanding of all aspects of sponge biology.

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