New Worm Species found in unusual habitat

Ophryotrocha_craigsmithi(1)Living
whales may seem scarce in the world's vast oceans—and their carcasses even more
rare. But to animals and bacteria that feed on these graveyards, they are a
rich source of life. And to one doctoral researcher in Sweden, they proved to
be a source of several new species. 


In her dissertation for the University of Gothenburg, Helena Wiklund describes
nine new species of polychaete worms found living in whale carcasses and other
nutrient-rich areas off the coast of Sweden, Norway and California.


A whale carcass can bring as much nutrition to the seafloor as would
otherwise take some 2,000 years to filter down
. Wiklund and her coauthors
note that although the worms seem to be especially adapted to live in
environments such as whale falls, where they feed off the bacteria that cover
the bones, they seem to also be thriving in bacteria-rich areas of waste
resulting from human activity, such as below fish farms and even pulp mills.
  ScientificAmerican/Katherine
Harmon

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