By Devon Tsai
The University of Hawaii has received $870,000 grant to solve a 100-year-old mystery.
The grant, from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, will support a UH research team as they research larvae.
For two years, the team will research tube worms to better understand larvae settlement and "biofouling."
"Using these bacteria, our goals are to determine what factors produced by the bacteria cause the larvae to stop swimming, stick to the surface and undergo the dramatic physical changes that make up the process of metamorphosis," said UH Professor Michael Hadfield.
Put another way, their research will help understand what's needed to keep ocean floors healthy and larvae off of ships and marine surfaces.
The maritime industry loses millions annually because of the larvae of barnacles, tube worms, oysters, and other organisms that settle on ship hulls, pilings, and in the pipes used to draw cooling water into electrical plants and factories.