Sponges in Qatari waters A new source of marine natural products for biological applications
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Sponges are the most primitive multicellular organisms belonging to Animalia kingdom. They lack symetry and do not have differentiated tissues or organs. However, as a consequence of this primitive organization it is very likely that sponges are the richest source of marine organisms for biological properties and pharmaceutical applications. Attached for life on their substrate and devoid of mecanical protection against predators sponges have elaborated a lot of sophisticated means of chemical defence including metabolites produced by the sponge itself and by endosymbiotic microorganisms. This could explain that Porifera is the most studied phylum of marine invertebrates for both chemical and pharmacological point of view. This aspect of sponge chemistry will be presented and developed according to their biological activities. To the best of our knowledge, no inventory of sponges from Arabian Gulf is available and very few is known about their biodiversity. Scarce data available for the whole region will be presented. Inventory of sponges from Qatari waters started two years ago and it is in progress. From preliminary results it appears that most of collected sponges belong to Haplosclerida, an order for which very few is known concerning secondary metabolites and this explains the great interest of this research program. Some original results on Sponges from Qatar will be presented in the lipid field.