Molecular ecology of marine and aquatic organisms
Project Manager: Joe Jones
Lead Scientist: Robert Vrijenhoek
Bob Vrijenhoek’s group continues to discover new species of Osedax, the unusual whale worms, as do other research groups around the world. The focus now is shifting towards understanding the origin of their bizarre form of reproduction (through the fertilization by dwarf males wholly contained within the bodies of females), subtle variations in reproduction among Osedax species, and how exactly the worms acquire the critical bacterial symbionts that allow them to feed on the whale bones.