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Barnacles on Knorr

Sailors' Bane

Barnacles and other organisms cling to the hull of R/V Knorr. Such "biofouling" greatly increases frictional drag on ships, costing ship owners millions of dollars a year in added fuel expenses. WHOI microbiologist Ben Van Mooy has been investigating the formation of biofilms—thin, slimy layers of bacteria that develop on hulls and provide attachment sites for barnacles and other unwanted hangers-on—in hopes of identifying steps in the process that would be good targets for anti-fouling measures. (Photo by Dutch Wegman, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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