Logo IMG
HOME > MULTIMEDIA > Multimedia Detail


A Three-Way Partnership at the Bottom of the Sea

from ScienceNOW Daily News

In dense fields of seagrass that carpet coastal waters around the world, there's a three-way interaction keeping the ecosystem thriving. Two-shelled mollusks called bivalves, bacteria inhabiting the bivalves' gills, and seagrasses themselves all live symbiotically, new research reveals. The finding helps explain the long-standing puzzle of how seagrasses can survive in murky shoreline waters and offers insight into how scientists can better restore seagrass ecosystems, which are declining worldwide.

"I think it's a really exciting and interesting idea," says ecologist Jay Stachowicz of the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the new study. "This is a type of interaction that people really hadn't considered before as being critical to seagrasses."

Often called marine nurseries, seagrass meadows harbor juvenile fish that spend their adult lives in coral reefs. Because of their shoreline locations and lush grasses, the meadows have dense layers of sediment and decaying organic material, a rich feeding ground for most ocean life. But the muddy deposits present a conundrum for the seagrasses: the bacteria responsible for breaking down the decaying matter emit high levels of sulfide, which should be toxic to the plants.


comments powered by Disqus

Connect With Us:

Facebook Icon Sm Twitter Icon Google+ Icon Pinterest Icon RSS Feed Instagram Icon

Latest Multimedia

PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays

CREAM Inflating

Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.

To view all multimedia content, click "Latest Multimedia."

RSS Feed Subscription

Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.


Of Possible Interest

Science In The News Daily: Dam Removal to Help Restore Spawning Grounds

Science in the News Weekly: 'Open Tree of Life' to Include All Known Species

Science in the News Weekly: Zookeepers Pressed to Decide Which Species to Save

Subscribe to American Scientist