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!