Rebecca McLeod’s acceptance speech as Young Scientist of the Year. The University of Otago researcher found that sea floor ‘compost’ produces hydrogen sulphide which is taken up by bacteria and, through a series of chemical reactions, forest material is turned into carbohydrate energy.[audio:https://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz.php5-1.dfw1-1.websitetestlink.com/wp-content/upload/2008/10/rebecca-mcleod.mp3]
These bacteria live inside some species of clams and worms, providing their hosts with all the food they need. It is thought that hagfish then feed on these creatures, gaining energy that originates in the forest.
Importance of the research: McLeod’s research raises concerns that marine ecosystems have been impacted and altered by the clearance of coastal forests.
To contact Rebecca McLeod for an interview, Katherine Edmond: 06 877 2170 or 027 274 0465