What are bryozoan fossils?

Bryozoans (sometimes referred to as Entoprocta and Ectoprocta) are microscopic sea animals that live in colonial structures that are much larger than the individual animal. Because these structures are usually composed of secreted calcite, they commonly form fossils.

Non-boring, non-calcified gymnolaemate bryozoans are extremely rare as fossils and known from the Jurassic and Cretaceous only. Calcareous gymnolaemates did not appear in the oceans until the Cretaceous, during which time they diversified rapidly from a very few species in the early Cretaceous.

Bryozoa is a large phylum in the animal kingdom, which is made up of around 6,500 living species. All species live in water, with most inhabiting the oceans.

The key difference between bryozoans and corals is that bryozoans are colonial aquatic animals that belong to phylum Bryozoa, while corals are colonial reef-building marine animals that belong to phylum Cnidaria. Bryozoans and coral look similar.

Definition of bryozoan

: any of a phylum (Bryozoa) of aquatic mostly marine invertebrate animals that reproduce by budding and usually form permanently attached branched or mossy colonies.

Bryozoans are made up of colonies of individuals, called zooids. If you look at colonies through a magnifying glass, you can see openings in the geometric patterns they form. It is inside each of those openings that an individual zooid lives.

Bryozoans or Frog Eggs?!

Freshwater bryozoans are harmless, though they occasionally clog water pipes and sewage treatment equipment. Bryozoans eat microscopic organisms and are eaten by several larger aquatic predators, including fish and insects. Snails graze on them, too.

Fossil range

These bryozoans lived from the Carboniferous period (Tournaisian age) to the Permian period (Leonard age) (345.3 to 268.0 Ma), when this genus became extinct.

Bryozoans are chiefly identified using skeletal characteristics such as spines and other surface structures as well as the form of the pores and the shape and size of the colonies (Smith 1995, 231). Archaeological specimens may be damaged, making identification to species level difficult.

A bryozoan colony, consisting of individuals called zooids, may resemble a brain-like gelatinous mass and be as big as a football, and can usually be found in shallow, protected areas of lakes, ponds, streams and rivers, and is often attached to things like a mooring line, a stick, or a dock post, etc.” While Bryozoans

Marine bryozoans show up in the fossil record in the early part of the Ordovician Period, about 485 million years ago.

Most bryzoans are sessile and immobile, but a few colonies are able to creep about, and a few species of non-colonial bryozoans live and move about in the spaces between sand grains. One remarkable species makes its living while floating in the Antarctic ocean.

Worldwide, bryozoans are found on every continent except Antarctica. Although most bryozoans are marine, one class (Phylactolaemata) lives only in freshwater. About 20 freshwater species occur on our continent. These usually prefer the rather quiet waters of lakes, ponds, and swamps, but some live in streams.

They differ mainly in tentacle organization; for bryozoans they are arranged in a crown around the mouth and are ciliated (see detail above), whereas for cnidarians they are not ciliated. This tuft of tentacles is called the lophophore and can be retracted quickly by a strong muscle fixed into the envelope.

Abstract. Bryozoan limestone is a formation of Danian limestone, generally found underlying the younger Copenhagen formation and above the Cretaceous chalk. The mineralogy between the Danian and Cretaceous formations is similar, resulting in similar mechanical responses of the matrix material.

Movement: Most bryozoans are sessile and immobile, but some colonies are able to slowly glide on the substrate.

Bryozoans as carbonate sediment producers on the cool-water Lacepede Shelf, southern Australia. Sediment. Geol., 86: 247-271. Modern sediments on the Lacepede Shelf and adjacent slope are typical mid-latitude, cool-water, palimpsest deposits, dominated by bryozoan, mollusc and quartz particles.

Predators of marine bryozoans include sea slugs (nudibranchs), fish, sea urchins, pycnogonids, crustaceans, mites and starfish. Freshwater bryozoans are preyed on by snails, insects, and fish. In Thailand, many populations of one freshwater species have been wiped out by an introduced species of snail.