Clams that consume wood exploit their waste to gain dominance in their environment

Little clams with shells about the size of a pea burrow into portions of submerged wood far beneath the waves. They use the wood for both shelter and nourishment. Numerous kinds of wood-boring clams can live together peacefully for years in these isolated, submerged chunks of wood. However, a new report published in the journal Marine Biodiversity reveals that a certain species of wood-boring clams has developed an unusual strategy to secure the wood for itself: the construction of fecal chimneys.

Every living thing in the ocean has two major obstacles: (1) obtaining oxygen through its gills by bringing clean water in, and (2) eliminating its waste. No one enjoys a life spent surrounded by feces; however, here are these clams living with theirs, and really prospering.  The study’s primary author, Janet Voight, is the Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Field Museum.