Fossil and Living bryozoa
Dr. Paul Taylor held us spellbound with his slides of the most beautiful bryozoa. The colonies seem to come in all shapes, and they lead quite complex lives. When colonies meet they even have battles for living space and try to overgrow each other. All individuals in a colony are genetically identical, but some individuals are a completely different shape and are used for defense, much like soldier ants in an ant colony. I don't think any of us realised what dramatic lives they lead.
||Part of a living colony of Flustrellidra hispida showing the zooids and their tentacle crowns.
||An SEM of Cribrilina cryptooecium from the Coralline Crag (Pliocene) of Suffolk which gives some notion of the complexity and beauty of the skeleton in a cheilostome bryozoan.
Back to Top