Fouling or bio-fouling is a multimillion dollar problem that grows year after year and affects all sort of vessels, harbours’ infrastructures, desalination facilities, water pipes, cooling pipes for nuclear reactors in power plants and similar. Most of biofouling is the result of several types of marine organisms that stick to metallic surfaces (typical on ships’ hulls) and build-up massive colonies.

But one of the most prolific biofouling builders is a small worm that accumulates calcareous tubes with an incredible speed. We are talking of Hydroides elegans a worm able to built a mass of hard and strong calcareous matt in a few weeks.

H. elegans was found capable of building a solid 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) thick limestone matt in just one month on several hulls at Pearl Harbour.

Hydroides is becoming a serious problem in many coastal areas of the world, not only in its original tropical to sub-tropical waters but also invading more temperate water such as the Mediterranean.

How can this happen in our acidic oceans?





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