Bivalve research

Rasta lamyi bivalve

Rasta lamyi bivalve

Principal Investigators

Project summary

  • Focus: Investigating specialist chemosynthetic bivalves and their phylogeny

We are using molecular techniques to classify bivalves and to investigate specialist chemosynthetic bivalve groups.

Our bivalve research has two primary branches:

Deep phylogeny

Molecular techniques have revolutionised our understanding of relationships among organisms, leading to new classification schemes. We are contributing to such a scheme for bivalves: the International Bivalve Tree of Life Project.

Chemosynthetic bivalves

Bivalves are usually filter-feeders, straining suspended matter and food particles from water. 

However, the Lucinidae family of bivalves thrive in thick sediments with low oxygen levels, and instead gain their energy through a symbiotic relationship with specialised bacteria. 

These chemosynthetic bacteria live within the cells of the bivalve's gills, oxidising hydrogen sulphide into organic matter.

The Lucinidae are ancient and widespread, despite their specialised mode of life and narrow range of habitats. Our taxonomic and phylogenetic studies are revealing unexpectedly high diversity.

Museum staff

  • Ms Emily Glover

Biodiversity research

We are creating molecular and digital tools to explore undiscovered biodiversity

Invertebrate research

Our scientists are investigating the taxonomy, systematics and biodiversity of groups of invertebrates

Zoology collections

Our zoology collection has 29 million animal specimens and is rich in voucher, type and historical specimens