Speculative Biology Sunday: Green Tube Worms II

7 Feb

Introduction

For those of you which are more familiar with TYFYT, you may remember this post. Essentially it explored the potential for deep sea hydrothermal vent worms Riftia pachyptila to evolve into a from that symbioses with a photosynthetic algea instead of a chemosynthetic bacteria, thus becoming a primary producer in shallow marine ecosystems.
However, all I really covered in the last post is a little about their symbiosis and why they cannot evolve into a photosynthetic form. Which is no fun at all. I wasn’t very happy with it all. So here is something new. SPECULATIVE BIOLOGY SUNDAY. Coming to you fairly regularly with a wide variety of hypothetical evolutions of modern, or extinct flora and fauna of this wonderful rock we all call home, or earth, whatever.

Green Tube Worm

greentubewormsii

The swimming form is a Presulcampester sp, the crawling form is a Repofolium sp, the sessile form is a Loricatuspluma sp.

General Information

For the sake of the arguement, we will suggest that these green tube worms (denoted as gtw henceforth) were created by genetic engineering of Riftia species of giant tube worm, as discussed in the last post. Early after their ‘creation’ the also imbibed and symbiosed with a species of nitrifying bacteria (similair to those found in the roots of  legumes such as acacias and peas) as they were still very susceptible to infection to a wide range of single celled organisms in their larval form. This eventually stabalized out through natural selection of course until the gtw only ever imbibed their photosynthetic and nitrific symbionts. Their nitrific symbionts meant that they could make their own organic nitrates which they could use to make their own proteins a lot easier, this was a great advantage and soon all species of gtw without nitrifying symbionts were outcompeted.
Other notable developments in the evolution of a pinnate form. Similair to pinnate leaves in plants as below.leavesThe pinnate body of species of gtw that evolved it offered not only more surface area compared to volume, but also the use of the pinnate leaves to be used for paddles, legs or allow the delicate extensions of their body used for photosynthesis to be curled up and taken out of harms way should predation disturbance threaten them.
A few species have also reinforced their chitin outer tube and created pockets for their pinnate leaves to be withdrawn into in the case of predation.

This is all for now.
I may add more to this at a later date.

TYFYT

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