Phylum Bryozoa (Ectoprocta)
The traditional textbook example of a bryozoan. An erect, branching colonial form that demonstrates polymorphism. The feeding zooids and avicularia are fascinating to watch under a dissecting scope. The now well-known alkaloid bryostatin, which stops cancer cells from dividing, was first isolated from specimens that we provided to a research lab in 1968. It is among the first drugs to be approved for certain cancer treatments.
A calcareous encrusting bryozan colony found on rocks and shells. The tiny, feathery tentacles can be readily seen as they are extended or retracted from the chitinous zooecia. Avicularia are sometimes present.
A brittle branched, orange bryozoan that is often confused with coral. Adds a dash of cheerful color to the aquarium and creates a mini-habitat for sea horses, shrimp, etc. Colonies often contain feather duster worms and other polychaetes, crabs, and top shells. Clumps range from 7 to 10 cm. Four million years ago this genus was a major contributor to the Miami limestone formation of South Florida.
LO-561 WOOL BRYOZOAN, Amathia convoluta
It looks like a clump of tangled seaweed, growing on worm tubes and shells. If it weren’t for its chitinous texture, tan color and large zooids, it could easily confuse students. Like Bugula, it contains high concentrations of the anti-tumor agent Bryostatin.