Mytilidae is one of the largest and most diverse families of Bivalvia, commonly known as 'mussels', characterized by the heteromiarian, inequilateral shell, and by the retention of the byssus throughout their post-metamorphic life span. In Brazil 24 species of this family are recorded, some of them being very well known for they inhabit rocky shores in large clusters. However, the mytilids are not restricted to shallow waters, also occurring in the deep sea, as species of Bathymodiolinae, which live in hydrothermal vents and abyssal regions; they are chemossymbionts whose phylogeny, taxonomy and anatomy are until now not well understood. By using samples of Bathymodiolinae collected by the Project BioSuOr, the shells and soft parts of these mytilids will be studied in detail through dissections, histology and SEM. As up to now no Bathymodiolinae was recorded from Brazil, it is aimed, at first, to contribute to the taxonomy of this group by descriptions of presumably new species and/or by adding new records. Unlike the coast, the knowledge of Brazilian deep-sea fauna is still scarce due to our existing poor infrastructure for sampling in the deep seabed. Thereafter, the present project will avail the research efforts made by the BioSuOr, enhancing the knowledge about the Brazilian biodiversity.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: