A unique marine symbiosis is studied

Sep 23, 2005

A symbiosis of bacteria and a marine worm found by Monterey Bay, Calif., researchers is believed the only one solely using marine mammals for nutrition.

Shana Goffredi and colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute discovered the unique partnership between bacteria and the Osedax, a bone-devouring group of marine worms.

Symbiosis allows some species to live in otherwise hostile environments, so it can be a powerful mechanism of evolutionary change. This is especially true in some deep-sea environments, where survival requires capabilities animals alone don't possess, said Goffredi.

So, she added, joining with a microbial partner is the secret of survival for many host animals living in such environments.

"Measures of significant population sizes, and the discovery of four additional host species in only three years, suggests the Osedax worms and their bacterial 'partners' are likely to play substantial roles in the cycling of nutrients into the surrounding deep-sea community," said Goffredi.

The results of the study are expected to aid understanding of the potential for adaptation between animals and microbes.

The research is detailed in the journal Environmental Microbiology.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Group identity emphasized more by those who just make the cut

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Water crisis threatens thirsty Sao Paulo

23 minutes ago

Sao Paulo is thirsty. A severe drought is hitting Brazil's largest city and thriving economic capital with no end in sight, threatening the municipal water supply to millions of people.

Canada to push Arctic claim in Europe

43 minutes ago

Canada's top diplomat will discuss the Arctic with his Scandinavian counterparts in Denmark and Norway next week, it was announced Thursday, a trip that will raise suspicions in Russia.

Google to help boost Greece's tourism industry

53 minutes ago

Internet giant Google will offer management courses to 3,000 tourism businesses on the island of Crete as part of an initiative to promote the sector in Greece, industry union Sete said on Thursday.

NKorea launch pad expansion 'nearing completion'

1 hour ago

A U.S. research institute says construction to upgrade North Korea's main rocket launch pad should be completed by fall, allowing Pyongyang (pyuhng-yahng) to conduct a launch by year's end if it decides to do so.

Recommended for you

Study identifies upside to financial innovations

2 hours ago

Financial innovations can make or break an economy. While the negative impact of financial innovation has been extensively covered, a new study of financial innovations before and during the last financial crisis indicates ...

User comments : 0