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: Non-citizens face harsher sentencing than citizens in US criminal courts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How genes trace life on Earth

Sep 25, 2014

A complete tree of life – showing how and when organisms are related to each other – has long been desired by biologists, but obscured by the vagaries of the fossil record. ...

California's sea otter numbers holding steady

Sep 23, 2014

When a sea otter wants to rest, it wraps a piece of kelp around its body to hold itself steady among the rolling waves. Likewise, California's sea otter numbers are holding steady despite many forces pushing ...

Recommended for you

Are the world's religions ready for ET?

11 hours ago

In 1930, Albert Einstein was asked for his opinion about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. "Other beings, perhaps, but not men," he answered. Then he was asked whether science and religion ...

How dinosaur arms turned into bird wings

12 hours ago

Although we now appreciate that birds evolved from a branch of the dinosaur family tree, a crucial adaptation for flight has continued to puzzle evolutionary biologists. During the millions of years that elapsed, wrists went ...

Mathematical model tackles 'Game of Thrones' predictions

13 hours ago

Take events from the past, build a statistical model, and tell the future. Why not apply the formula to novels? Can contents in future books be predicted based only on data from existing ones? Richard Vale ...

User comments : 0