Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stepping Way Out: Scripps Scientists Watch Clam Feet Elongate Far From The Shell

Date:
November 10, 2003
Source:
Scripps Institution Of Oceanography
Summary:
Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, have documented what they are calling possibly the most extreme case of animal structure elongation documented to date.

Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, have documented what they are calling possibly the most extreme case of animal structure elongation documented to date.

In a paper published in the November 6 issue of the journal Nature, Suzanne Dufour and Horst Felbeck show that a clam from a certain species can extend its foot (clams have only one foot) up to 30 times the length of its shell to reach chemicals in marine sediment necessary for the survival of their symbionts, marine bacteria that live within the clams.

To test the extension process, Dufour set up aquarium tanks with sediment to investigate how clams that require chemicals differ from those that do not. Clams that live in a symbiotic relationship with marine bacteria act as hosts that retrieve chemicals, typically sulfide or methane.

The Nature paper explains that the symbiotic clams in the Thyasiridae family elongate their feet to burrow extensive mines in an effort to reach the sulfide. X-rays taken through Dufour’s plexiglass tanks over several weeks revealed long, branch-like mines extending through the sediment, especially in cases tested under low sulfide conditions, which forced clams to stretch their feet farther.

While they had expected some extension, Dufour says the results were “amazing.” She found clams with shells measuring 4.5 millimeters that had elongated their feet some 13 centimeters from the shell.

“What I find the most interesting about this work is that only the clams with symbionts make these very long burrows,” said Dufour, a graduate student in the marine biology curricular program at Scripps. “The thyasirids in my study that didn’t have symbionts did not make such burrows. To get the sulfide the bacteria need, these clams have evolved the ability to mine the sediment with their feet—it shows that very different species can find amazing ways of cooperating.”

The study was supported by Scripps Institution’s graduate department, the Baxter and Alma Ricard Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

###

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for global science research and graduate training in the world. The scientific scope of the institution has grown since its founding in 1903. A century of Scripps science has had an invaluable impact on oceanography, on understanding of the earth, and on society. More than 300 research programs are under way today in a wide range of scientific areas. Scripps operates one of the largest U.S. academic fleets with four oceanographic research ships and one research platform for worldwide exploration. Now plunging boldly into the 21st century, Scripps is celebrating its centennial in 2003.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Scripps Institution Of Oceanography. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Scripps Institution Of Oceanography. "Stepping Way Out: Scripps Scientists Watch Clam Feet Elongate Far From The Shell." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031110055245.htm>.
Scripps Institution Of Oceanography. (2003, November 10). Stepping Way Out: Scripps Scientists Watch Clam Feet Elongate Far From The Shell. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031110055245.htm
Scripps Institution Of Oceanography. "Stepping Way Out: Scripps Scientists Watch Clam Feet Elongate Far From The Shell." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031110055245.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins