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Assessment of space utilisation in a subtidal temperate bryozoan community
Ward, M.A.; Thorpe, J.P. (1989). Assessment of space utilisation in a subtidal temperate bryozoan community. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 103(2): 215-224.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Ward, M.A.
  • Thorpe, J.P.

    On subtidal hard substrata, Bryozoa are often very abundant, both in terms of numbers of colonies and numbers of species. To investigate how so many species are able to co-exist, often in close proximity to each other, subtidal material was dredged from an area of bryozoan-rich coarse “shelly” sea-bed off the south-west of the Isle of Man (British Isles) in autumn 1984 and 1985. A survey was performed on the distribution of colonies of eight common, encrusting cheilostome bryozoan species across the surfaces of four types of empty, disarticulated bivalve shells. Each species was found to be significantly commoner on certain substratum types such as rough surfaces or inner concave surfaces. Fenestrulina malusii (Audouin) showed a further, more specific, tendency to be signficantly more abundant on the grooves of the corrugated inner surfaces of left valves of Pecten maximus (L.). In general however there was much overlap in distribution and it is proposed that such large numbers of species are able to co-exist because of the evolution of different life-history strategies ensuring that each species uses the available temporally and spatially heterogenous substrata in subtly different ways; some species, for example, occupying substrata that are optimal to bryozoan growth and other species, by reaching maturity earlier, being able to inhabit more ephemeral suboptimal substrata.

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