gutless wonders

What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas…. Delicious Food and Science

There is an eco-corollary to the headline about what happens in Vegas that takes place in the stinky ooze of marine sediments.

It the world of the science of spiny lobsters, just like Vegas, gutless wonders and scum sucking low-life abound.

Now astonishing news of those sulfurous stinky marine oozes is revealed, it ain’t as bad as we might have thought, life found a way.

Thanks to a new paper in the journal of science Current Biology on the life of Spiny Lobsters (as seen in the hands of the real scientific field assistant in the photo above.) It is revealed that what happens in Vegas for spiny lobsters is they live in part by the good graces of a true gutless wonder, a clam that has no digestive system at all. The clams, with a whole collection of invertebrates, live in the oxygen depleted world of decaying marine sediments by hosting bacteria in the gills that provide them with both food and oxygen! These gutless wonder clams are true ‘Breatharians‘ a condition of mythological import in the annals of humanities search for oneness with the universe.

If you have ever dug into the dark marine mud, ooze, digging for clams you have likely memories of the smell of ‘rotten eggs’ in your memory. That rotten egg smell is the hydrogen sulfide that comes from the rotting decay of all what was once life that is now being consumed by bacteria in the ooze. It all happens in the absence, or near absence of oxygen, which is characteristic of those systems. Very little oxygen gets past the surface of such sediments leaving the world below mostly oxygen free. So how does any higher form of life live there, you our kind oxygen breathing higher life. but down there in the ooze are the delicious clams we make into chowders so life must have found a way.

lucinid clams

Lucinid Clams, wonders of science. Click for delicious recipe

I used to think that the answer was simple clams have their ‘siphons’ through which they circulate water sucking in both oxygen and food particles from the water at the boundary between seabed and sea. Well that is true for the most part but I was amazed to learn about a family of clams, the ‘lucinids’ that live without any digestive system, they are true gutless wonders. They have the siphons and take in water but what happens next is quite amazing.

Many of the gutless lucinid clams live in symbiosis with anaerobic bacteria that line their gills. The bacteria can only live where there is no oxygen and do so by breaking down various sulfurous organic compounds, and its that sulfur in so many disgusting oozes that makes them stinky. As rent for their accommodation they provide the clams with food, nutrients they produce for themselves and clamlords. Since anerobic bacteria need to ‘burn their food,’ just like we oxygen breathing lifeforms burn our food with our beloved oxygen, the bacters do the burning, really just beneficial rearrangement of electrons they do so with their own form of nonox chemistry.

It seems the clamlords also share the nonox mechanisms with their tenants and thus are able to live both gutless and largely breathless. They are breathairians.

spiny lobster

Spiny Lobster on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, she’s a real beauty.

So where do those delicious lobsters come into this story. Well it seems that is from the researchers who had cleverly figured a raison d’etre to be employed in science which demanded they live on tropical beaches and swim in the warm tropical seas where they just had to collect delicious spiny lobsters as the principal focus of their research. Isn’t science wonderful.

Oh dag nab it why didn’t I think of that.

The moral of this story is that as we oxygen breathers mess with Mother Nature and her gift to us oxygen made by her ocean pastures we are mucking with things that might just be our demise. As far as life on this blue planet being oxygen breathing or breatharian Mother Nature’s response seems to be meh!

Hey Sheila, company’s coming put another shrimp on the barbie!