Updated: Apr 12
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 colonial animals similar to corals. A colonial animal is made up of many individuals who all perform certain tasks to maintain the function of the group. The individual animal in a bryozoan is called a zooid and it is only about one millimeter long. Bryozoans are filter feeders that eat phytoplankton (algae) and detritus (organic matter from dead plants and animals).
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.