Congrats to my fellow colleague, Kareen Vicentuan-Cabaitan! Her hard work on collecting and identifying the epibionts on giant clams have paid off… Although the work sounds easy, she painstakingly pored through each specimen, and learnt how to identify each taxa group. We also want to thank the local and international scientists who have lend us a hand in confirming the identifications of these organisms.
This paper published in the Portraits, Bulletin of Marine Science, is the first of its kind to quantify what epibionts live on giant clam shells, as well as how much more substrate the clam shells can provide compared to the area it occupies (i.e. the byssal orifice). Just only in Singapore, we found almost 49 species belonging to a minimum of 36 families of different organisms. We also captured pictures of clam shells that are covered with dense amount of epibionts that can be found in this paper.
This is also the first of the paper that examines the ecological roles of giant clams, i.e. as providers of additional substrate to a wide variety of epibionts. All in all, the overall aim is to help justify how giant clams are useful and important on coral reefs ecosystem.
If you are interested to receive a copy of this paper, you can drop me an email! 🙂