Nature Blog Network

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rock Eating Isopods

Photo credit: Yuji Okimura, emeritus professor at Hiroshima University.

What is the buzz on CRUST-L these days? How about isopods on an island off of Hiroshima in Japan that have eaten away the soft volcanic rock (called tuff) to almost sea level! In a recent news piece from MSN-Japan they document a dramatic change in the small island's stature from 1955 to the present (click on link to see and read the article in its entirety). These isopods burrow into the rock, possibly to eat at bacteria and algae and hide from predators, speeding up erosion big time. The island once stood 21.9 meters tall in 1928 and now, as the article states,
"...the highest peak has almost completely vanished, leaving only one rocky protrusion about 6 meters high. Because of this, most of the island is submerged at full tide."

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