Figure 1 from 10.1007/s00253-011-3819-9. Sediment cross section
exposing the characteristic Y-shaped burrow dug by S. velum.
Positioning itself at the triple junction of the Y, the bivalve alternates
between actively pumping oxygenated water from the upper arms of
the burrow through the mantle cavity and across the gills and
accessing reduced sulfur compounds diffusing up from the anoxic
zones below and pumped through a ventral incurrent opening in the
mantle. Scale bar equals 2.5 cm
For those who do not know, I got my first taste of microbiology research when I was an undergrad at Harvard and I did my senior/honors research project in the lab of Colleen Cavanaugh. Colleen studied (and in fact still studies) symbioses between invertebrates and chemosynthetic bacteria. The bacteria basically allow these invertebrates to function like plants in many ways. Some of these invertebrates (like the giant tube worms in hydrothermal vents) have lost their mouths and digestive systems and basically live by bringing in high energy chemicals for their symbionts which then make sugars, vitamins, amino acids and other goodies for the host.
Anyway - I am still very interested in these symbioses and have published a few papers on the topic here and there. All that lead in is to simply point everyone out there to a nice new Open Access review paper by Guus Roeselers and Irene Newton: On the evolutionary ecology of symbioses between chemosynthetic bacteria and bivalves. When I first saw the reference in the "Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology" journal I was worried I would not have access to it, but I clicked on the link and discovered it was published using Springer's version of Open Access. Yippee. The article is worth a look.Roeselers, G., & Newton, I. (2012). On the evolutionary ecology of symbioses between chemosynthetic bacteria and bivalves Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 94 (1), 1-10 DOI: 10.1007/s00253-011-3819-9