The Ulster Museum has a collection of wet-preserved sponges, stored in alcohol, which have mostly been collected since 1973. The majority of the material is from Britain and Ireland and has been collected as part of survey work using SCUBA diving. Many of the specimens are accompanied by in situ photographs taken before they were removed from the substratum.
There are currently 4000+ specimens in this database. It uses a relational database design in SQL server, searched and displayed using Active Server Pages on a Windows NT server. I put it online in 2004 to stimulate discussion with sponge specialists in relation to Rob van Soest's e-conference.
Since 2005 I have been working mainly on sponges with Claire Goodwin and the collection now contains 5000 catalogued specimens with in-situ digital photographs of most of the new specimens.
There are a few images linked into the data (which I had to hand and had time to add, from our collection of several thousand), check out Antho involvens, specimen Mc1363, Antho inconstans, Mc1826 and Adreus fascicularis, Mc1347.
Bernard Picton, December 2008