Wood-boring bivalves are only marine animals known to sustain normal growth and reproduction feasting solely on wood. The shipworm has two bacterial populations that can break down lignocellulose, one in the gut and the other in a specialized organ in the gills. The DOE JGI sequenced the only shipworm species adapted to cold water as part of the CSP 2009 portfolio to identify the enzymes in these microbes involved in breaking down wood for cellulosic biofuel production. Now researchers plan to study both microbial communities in different species of shipworm, including one adapted to warm water.
Principal Investigators: Dan Distel, Ocean Genome Legacy Foundation, Center for Marine Research
Program: CSP 2011