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Barnacles in Bulk

The same organisms that have plagued mariners for thousands of years have also been a problem for oceanographers deploying moored instruments. Here, barnacles, algae, and other organisms cover the bottom of a mooring float that had been deployed on Line W in the North Atlantic. Such biofouling begins with the formation of a slimy biofilm produced by bacteria. Larger organisms then cling to the biofilm. WHOI biochemist Ben Van Mooy is exploring how bacteria create biofilms, in hopes of identifying steps that might be good targets for anti-fouling measures. Biofouling costs the U.S. Navy up to $260 million a year in added fuel use. (Photo by John Toole, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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