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Mussel sample

Grabbing for Samples

German researchers Falk Pollehne (left) and Michael Zettler of the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research prepare a Van Veen bottom grab sampler during an August 2011 research cruise off the coast of Namibia, Africa. The scientists were looking for small, tear-drop-shaped mussels from the genus Nuculana that they suspect host unique bacteria in their gills. The bacteria utilize nitrate in the water and pass energy to the mussels, permitting their host animals to live where there is little or no oxygen. “[Scientists] know the bacteria have the genes to do this,” said cruise participant and WHOI biologist Cabell Davis. “But they needed to collect the mussels to see if these genes were turned ‘on’.” (Photo by Cabell S. Davis, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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