The course blog for Bio 412 - Marine Biology at Ashland University
Thursday, April 8, 2010
First Animals to live without Oxygen
Roberto Danovaro, of the Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy, and his research team have found an animal that can live and reproduce in anoxic environments. These animals are multicellular and belong to the group Loricifera. They took sediment samples from a deep hypersaline anoxic basin which are also known as DHABs from the Mediterranean sea. These environments were believed to be habitats to only viruses, Bacteria, and Archaea. This is not the first time these animals have been found. Before, it was just believed they they had fallen from the water column and fell to the benthos. However these animals are alive, metabolically active, and reproducing. Many were found to contain eggs. Electronmicroscopy shows that these animals posses organelles that resemble they hydrogenosomes that were previously found in unicellular protozoans that inhabited anaerobic environments instead of aerobic mitochondria. This finding has opened up possibilities of other metazoan life that could be found in other anoxic environments. It also opens up some light in past evolutionary history.