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Learn about the gribble at free lecture

A free public lecture about how tiny marine wood-boring creatures can benefit humankind is taking place at the University of Portsmouth this week.

Professor of marine biology, Simon Cragg, will discuss how creatures that destroy British seaside piers can help generate biofuels and may help provide carbon storage in mangrove forests.

Limnoria – the wood-eating gribble

Limnoria – the wood-eating gribble

Professor Cragg, from the University’s Institute of Marine Sciences, made the exciting discovery about wood-borers’ digestive capabilities after examining the gut of a type of wood-borer known as a gribble.

He found they have an enzyme in their gut, which allows them to digest enormous quantities of wood and break it down into sugar.

He said: “These wood-borers, which are the size of ants, are fascinating little creatures. Inside their guts they have enzymes which break cellulose down into lots of glucose molecules. By imitating the bio-reactive process going on inside the gribble’s gut, it might be possible to generate biofuels more efficiently.

“They are also capable of moving carbon from mangrove wood into the open water and into organic rich sediments, facilitating a vital carbon storage.”

The free public lecture is on Wednesday 30 September from 6.00 – 7.00pm and will be followed by a drinks reception. Please book tickets via Eventbrite

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