Friday, June 2, 2017

Bryo-zooons

When I was doing my Arctic recruitment study in Svalbard in 2015, I leaned heavily on my collaborator, P. He's a bryozoan expert, and since many of the animals on my settlement plates were bryozoans, I was constantly asking him to look over my shoulder and help me identify the organisms I was seeing. P has a unique accent, a slightly nasal voice, and a generally relaxed demeanor. He liked to draw out the "O" sound on the second syllable of "bryozoans" so it sounded more like a surfer dude speaking. Nowadays, if I ever say or think the word "bryozoans," my brain hears it in P's voice: "bryo-zooons."

I'm currently studying dock fouling communities around Woods Hole, as many of you know. I've told you about the ciliates that inhabit my fouling panels; I've told you about the barnacles. I've shown you the hydroids, the worms, and the sea squirts. Today, I'd like to focus on the bryozoans (bryo-zooons).

Like most things on my panels, bryozoans are sessile benthic invertebrates. They spend their entire adult lives attached to a surface, feeding on small particles and plankton in the water around them. They have a two-part life-cycle, though, and young bryozoans don't look like bryozoans at all. The common larval forms are cyphonautes (looks like a triangle with a red spot) and coronate larvae (looks like a fuzzy cylinder).

I actually think bryozoans are quite beautiful. The adults build colonies of clones, often with ornate calcareous shells. Check out some of the pictures below!


Microporella ciliata

Conopeum truitti

Electra pilosa

Cryptosula pallasiana

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