Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Large bryozoan colony photographed by Maria Gross at Rocky Reef
Small bryozoan colony photographed by Dean Malouta next to his dock in Dolloff Cove
Bryozoans are sessile filter-feeding colonial animals. The gelatinous colonies are made up of hundreds to thousands of microscopic animals, called zooids. In some species the zooids grow in a unique rosette pattern - each rosette containing several zooids. They form a firm and slimy base which attaches to anything stationary below the surface of the water.
Interesting fact: Bryozoans have an extensive fossil record dating back 500 million years with more than 15,000 different species. Of these, only 50 species occur in fresh water environments, the others occur in marine settings.