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noellette conway schempf

Clams, bacteria, and chemicals

In the late 1980s, Noellette Conway Schempf, Joint Program graduate and current WHOI Corporation Member, used a chromatograph to analyze amino acids from shallow-water clams (Solemya velum) that harbor symbiotic bacteria. Like bivalves found at hydrothermal vents, the Solemya lack a stomach but gain much of their nutrition from the bacteria, and this nutritional source is reflected in compounds in the clams such as amino acids and fatty acids. (Photo courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Archives)


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