At porifera.net lab, we aim at understanding how our model organisms function as a whole. Of course, our interests are focused on certain aspects of life of our research objects, and so are our questions. For example, we aim at understanding sponge contraction, in order to learn more about the evolution of contractility and coordination in basal metazoans. The same applies for mechanisms of asexual reproduction. In order to approach such a comprehensive understanding of biological phenomena, it is beneficial to apply an integrative approach which crosses the borders of conventional biological compartments, as pointed out by G.A. Bartholomew (see below). For this reason, our integrative methodology bases on the use of awide variety of techniques from several biological specialities.
„The responses of organisms ignore the categories of scientific specialization. Organisms are functionally indivisible and their activities do not fall neatly into even the broadest of the conventional biological compartments such as physiology, morphology, behavior and genetics. These broad categories, and also the many more restricted areas of specialization into which biologists segregate themselves, do not exist separately in the world of organisms. They are artifacts of convenience and fashion, created by humans and perpetuated by university administrative structures and government bureaucracies, by traditions, and by groups of biologists. It is the intact and functioning organism on which natural selection operates. Organisms are therefore a central element of concern to the biologist who aspires to a broad and integrated understanding of biology.”
Bartholomew GA (2005) Integrative Biology, an Organismic Biologist's Point of View. Integrative and Comparative Biology 45: 330-332