Scientia Marina, Vol 80, No 4 (2016)

Publication impact in sponge chemical and microbial ecology

Oriol Sacristán-Soriano
Centre for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CEAB-CSIC) - Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

Mikel A. Becerro
Centre for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CEAB-CSIC), Spain


It is well known that sponges constitute one of the most prevalent groups in marine benthic communities based on their challenging structural organization, abundance and diversity, and their functional roles in natural communities. The evolutionary success of this group may be explained by the close interaction between sponges and microbes, which dates back to the Precambrian era. This particular symbiosis has become a key factor within sponge research and is an emerging topic of two scientific disciplines: chemical and microbial ecology. This mini-review evaluates the influence of these two disciplines on the general scientific community using a series of bibliometric indicators to ensure objectivity. Our analyses showed that, although sponge chemical ecology has a greater overall impact on the scientific community, both disciplines are cited equally and more frequently than expected. Both research areas show a great impact on applied sciences, but the ecological perspectives of sponge chemistry and microbiology may fall outside the interests of a broader ecological audience. Moreover, we highlight some research topics (e.g. effects of environmental stress) that may require further attention. Hence, sponge chemical and microbial ecology have the opportunity to contribute to broader ecological issues in topics that make sponges particularly important, such as symbiosis.


Porifera research; natural products; microbiology; symbiosis; h-index; bibliometric indicators

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