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Divergence times in demosponges (Porifera): first insights from new mitogenomes and the inclusion of fossils in a birth-death clock model

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, July 2018
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (85th percentile)

Mentioned by

20 tweeters
1 Facebook page
1 Wikipedia page


32 Dimensions

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56 Mendeley
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Divergence times in demosponges (Porifera): first insights from new mitogenomes and the inclusion of fossils in a birth-death clock model
Published in
BMC Evolutionary Biology, July 2018
DOI 10.1186/s12862-018-1230-1
Pubmed ID

Astrid Schuster, Sergio Vargas, Ingrid S. Knapp, Shirley A. Pomponi, Robert J. Toonen, Dirk Erpenbeck, Gert Wörheide


Approximately 80% of all described extant sponge species belong to the class Demospongiae. Yet, despite their diversity and importance, accurate divergence times are still unknown for most demosponge clades. The estimation of demosponge divergence time is key to answering fundamental questions on the origin of Demospongiae, their diversification and historical biogeography. Molecular sequence data alone is not informative on an absolute time scale, and therefore needs to be "calibrated" with additional data such as fossils. Here, we calibrate the molecular data with the fossilized birth-death model, which compared to strict node dating, allows for the inclusion of young and old fossils in the analysis of divergence time. We use desma-bearing sponges, a diverse group of demosponges that form rigid skeletons and have a rich and continuous fossil record dating back to the Cambrian (~500 Ma), to date the demosponge radiation and constrain the timing of key evolutionary events, like the transition from marine to freshwater habitats. To infer a dated phylogeny of Demospongiae we assembled the mitochondrial genomes of six desma-bearing demosponges from reduced-representation genomic libraries. The total dataset included 33 complete demosponge mitochondrial genomes and 30 fossils. Our study supports a Neoproterozoic origin of Demospongiae. Novel age estimates for the split of freshwater and marine sponges dating back to the Carboniferous and the previously assumed recent (~18 Ma) diversification of freshwater sponges is supported. Moreover, we provide detailed age estimates for a possible diversification of Tetractinellidae (~315 Ma), the Astrophorina (~240 Ma), the Spirophorina (~120 Ma) and the family Corallistidae (~188 Ma) all of which are considered as key groups for dating the Demospongiae due to their extraordinary rich and continuous fossil history. This study provides novel insights into the evolution of Demospongiae. Observed discrepancies of our dated phylogeny with their putative first fossil appearance dates are discussed for selected sponge groups. For instance, a Carboniferous origin of the order Tetractinellida seems to be too late, compared to their first appearance in the fossil record in the Middle Cambrian. This would imply that Paleozoic spicule forms are not homologous to post-Paleozoic forms.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 56 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 56 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 14 25%
Student > Ph. D. Student 11 20%
Student > Master 9 16%
Student > Bachelor 6 11%
Student > Postgraduate 4 7%
Other 6 11%
Unknown 6 11%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 22 39%
Environmental Science 6 11%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 6 11%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 6 11%
Chemistry 3 5%
Other 5 9%
Unknown 8 14%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 14. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 16 January 2020.
All research outputs
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Outputs from BMC Evolutionary Biology
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from BMC Evolutionary Biology
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Altmetric has tracked 16,621,802 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 90th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 2,774 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 10.6. This one has done well, scoring higher than 83% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 279,713 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 85% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them