This course is designed for undergraduate students, postdocs or practitioners interested in learning and applying knowledge about the taxonomy, evolution and ecology of one of the most visible organisms in tropical benthic ecosystems, the marine sponges. Students participating in this course will: (1) learn to describe and identify the most common sponges that live in the mangroves and shallow coral reefs of the region; (2) learn the general biological and ecological characteristics of marine sponges; (3) gain practical ecological and taxonomic experience with tropical marine sponges; (4) learn basic ecological research techniques; and (5) learn to conduct physiological experiments with sponges. This course aims to give participants the tools they need to continue studying taxonomy, systematics, ecology and / or sponge evolution. This edition of the course will also include discussions on the origins of Metazoan and the phylogenetic placement regarding sponges, cnidaria and ctenophores. The course will last 21 days, seven days mainly devoted to taxonomic training, seven days to evolutionary and ecological work and seven days dedicated to a selected project and its presentation. Daily activities include: morning and afternoon lectures, boat trips, lab work, and evening discussions or lectures.