Staff: Graham Oliver & Anna Holmes

The families Solemyidae, Thyasiridae, Lucinidae, Vesicomyidae and Bathymodiolidae are chemosymbiotic, deriving their nutrition from symbiotic bacteria living in their gills. There is currently considerable interest in these taxa as they are frequently found in hot vents, cold seeps and organically enriched environments. The Thyasiridae are perhaps the least studied from a taxonomic perspective and we have for a number of years been describing new species and developing taxonomic tools for them. Our most recent contribution was a joint project with Aviero University, Portugal on the Thyasiridae of the mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz.

This study continues with material from Antarctica (British Antarctic Survey and JD Taylor Natural History Museum, London) and Chile (J. Sellanes) awaiting study and a review of the whole family for the new edition of the Treatise on Invertebrate Palaeontology. Of the other families we have been requested to revise the taxonomy of the deep water Solemyidae, most in the genus Acharax. This material has been largely supplied by the University of Bremmen (H. Sahling).