Our research mainly focuses on sponges (Porifera). These animals evolved early during the phylogenesis of multicellular animals (Metazoa). For this reason, sponges allow us to gain insights in to the very early evolution of biological modules which play important roles for all multicellular animals. Such modules may be involved in body formation, cell-cell communication, secretion or development, just to mention a few. Additionally, sponges show interesting biomechanical features like spicule reinforced tissue. We are also interested in sponge systematics and phylogeny which we address morphologically and genetically. This integrative research approach ("How do our sponge models work?") is backed up by a wide methodological repertoire.