Bryozoan roles

Bryozoan diversity can be very high in tropical reef environments. Apart from some turfing, robustly encrusting, or prominent erect species, however, most bryozoans are small and cryptic, living on the undersides of coral heads or eroded coral boulders, often in the spaces between branches or in excavations provided by other organisms. On inner reef flats, conditions are unsuitable for bryozoans but on the outer flat where boulders and rubble are common, bryozoans can be found in abundance, especially at the reef edge

Table 25.1 Bryozoan taxonomy diversity in the Great Barrier Reef province

Taxon

No. of families

No. of genera

No. of species

Class Stenolaemata

10

13

16

Order Cyclostomata

10

13

16

Class Gymolaemata

68

127

301

Order Ctenostomata

6

7

10

Order Cheilostomata

62

120

291

Totals

78

140

317

at low water and on the seaward slope. Where space allows (as on the underside of concave surfaces) relatively large, erect colonies can grow. Bryozoans may be prolific on windward reef slopes below the main level of wave action.

Although bryozoans in tropical reefs may not generally achieve the structural dominance that occurs in some temperate settings, they can nevertheless play several important roles in reef environments, as hidden encrusters, cavity dwellers, cavity fillers, and dead-coral veneerers; between reefs they can act as sediment binders, stabilisers, and trappers. Hence, bryozoans can contribute to reef build-up, especially those species that engage in self-overgrowth or which grow over other organisms. Such colonies tend to become a permanent part of the calcareous mass that comprises a reef, acting as accessory frame-builders. Alternatively, those bryo-zoans that break up upon the death of the colony can contribute to the sediment that forms between clumps and reefs, just as they do in more temperate settings.

Worm Farming

Worm Farming

Do You Want To Learn More About Green Living That Can Save You Money? Discover How To Create A Worm Farm From Scratch! Recycling has caught on with a more people as the years go by. Well, now theres another way to recycle that may seem unconventional at first, but it can save you money down the road.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment