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information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Ross (Pentapora foliacea)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

A large, erect bryozoan deep orange in colour. The colony is attached to the substratum by an encrusting base and forms a mass of repeatedly dividing sheets in an open honeycomb structure. The edges of the sheets are wavy and convoluted. Pentapora foliacea has a growth rate of approximately 2 cm per year and lives for up to ten years. Colonies can reach up to 40 cm in diameter (more typically up to 20 cm across) and 10 cm in height. When dead, the deep orange colour fades to a pale buff.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Common along the South coast of England as far east as Beachy Head. Also the south west, the western extremities of Wales and the Isle of Man. In Ireland present along the south west and north coasts. Scarce records from the Hebrides and St Kilda.

Global distribution

Pentapora foliacea is also recorded from the north coast of Morocco, but Mediterranean records require reassessment based on recent taxonomy (Lombardi et al., 2010).

Habitat

Pentapora foliacea colonies grow on bedrock or large boulders in current swept areas, often surrounded by gravel and scoured by coarse sand. They may colonize coarse gravel and pebbles but do not grow to large colonies.

Depth range

11 - 80

Identifying features

  • Colonies erect, forming orange-buff clumps up to about 15 cm across.
  • Young zooids elongate-hexagonal, with scattered pores in frontal wall.
  • Frontal wall covered with heavy additional calcification, outline becoming rectangular or broadly hexagonal.

Additional information

Sometimes misleadingly called "ross coral". The Species Directory of the British Isles (Howson & Picton, 1997) placed Pentapora fascialis in the family Hippoporinidae under the species name Pentapora foliacea but Hayward & Ryland (1999) conflated the species and suggested that P. foliacea was a junior synonym of P. fascialis (Lombardi et al., 2010). Older classification schemes used the species Lepralia foliacea, e.g. the Plymouth Marine Fauna (Marine Biological Association 1957) and Bruce et al. (1963). But a recent study by Lombardi et al. (2010) concluded that Pentapora foliacea and Pentpora fascialis were distinct species and that P. foliacea was the resident species in the North East Atlantic while P. fascialis was included in the Mediterranean clade.

Due to the lack of information on these species and the taxonomic confusion in the literature, this review is based on information on both Pentapora foliacea and P. fascialis.

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Biology review

Taxonomy

PhylumBryozoa
ClassGymnolaemata
OrderCheilostomatida
FamilyBitectiporidae
GenusPentapora
Authority(Ellis & Solander, 1786)
Recent SynonymsPentapora fascialis (Pallas 1766)Lepralia foliacea (Ellis & Solander, 1786)

Biology

Typical abundanceModerate density
Male size range
Male size at maturity
Female size rangeMedium-large(21-50cm)
Female size at maturity
Growth formFoliose
Growth rate2cm/year
Body flexibilityNone (less than 10 degrees)
Mobility
Characteristic feeding methodActive suspension feeder, Non-feeding
Diet/food source
Typically feeds on
Sociability
Environmental positionEpibenthic
DependencyNo text entered.
SupportsSubstratum

A variety of bryozoan species, and other epibionts.

Is the species harmful?No

Biology information

  • Densities in the Bristol Channel have been recorded as up to one large colony per square metre. Populations in the Mediterranean have been recorded at densities of up to 7 colonies per square metre.
  • Pentapora fascialis grows initially as an encrusting sheet, which seems able to regenerate erect growths (P.J. Hayward pers. comm.).
  • Size ranges refer to colony diameter. Colony size is typically up to 20 cm in diameter and large specimens reach 40 cm across. The largest recorded specimen was from the Eddystone Light and had a circumference of over 2 metres and a depth of 30 cm (Hayward & Ryland, 1979). Specimens of Pentapora fascialis in the Mediterranean reach larger sizes (80cm diameter, 50 cm in height) in deeper waters (40-80 m).
  • Colony shape has been described as 'depressed globular' or 'dome-like' with an elliptical perimeter (Cocito et al., 1998(a)). Growth rates in the Bristol Channel have been estimated at around 2 cm (vertical height) per year through the use of stable oxygen isotope values (Patzold et al., 1987.). Another growth rate estimate (from the Mediterranean) indicates growth of over 200% colony surface area in 11 months (Cocito et al., 1998). Vertical growth has been recorded at up to 3.5 cm per year (Cocito & Ferdeghini, 1998 cited in Cocito et al., 1998).
  • The calcified laminae are rather brittle.
  • Pentapora fascialis characteristically supports several bryozoans including Amphiblestrum flemingii, Callopora dumerilii, Membranipora nitida & Smittoidea reticulata (Hayward & Ryland, 1979). Large colonies may shelter 1000's of other animals (Hayward & Ryland, 1979).

Habitat preferences

Physiographic preferencesOffshore seabed, Open coast
Biological zone preferencesLower circalittoral, Lower infralittoral, Upper circalittoral
Substratum / habitat preferencesArtificial (man-made), Bedrock, Large to very large boulders
Tidal strength preferencesModerately Strong 1 to 3 knots (0.5-1.5 m/sec.), Strong 3 to 6 knots (1.5-3 m/sec.)
Wave exposure preferencesExposed, Moderately exposed, Sheltered, Very exposed
Salinity preferencesFull (30-40 psu)
Depth range11 - 80
Other preferences

No text entered

Migration PatternNon-migratory / resident

Habitat Information

Off Lundy in the Bristol Channel, most common below 18 m and abundant between 25 -34 m (Hayward & Ryland, 1979). Pentapora fascialis is recorded as settling on artificial substrata in the Ligurian sea (Geraci, 1974 cited in Cocito et al., 1998(b)).  Pentapora foliacea is recorded as being present (off the British Isles) in temperatures between 8 & 14 °C and salinity of 34.5 psu (Patzold et al., 1987).

Life history

Adult characteristics

Reproductive typeNo information
Reproductive frequency Annual protracted
Fecundity (number of eggs)No information
Generation timeInsufficient information
Age at maturitySee additional information
SeasonFebruary - October
Life span5-10 years

Larval characteristics

Larval/propagule type-
Larval/juvenile development Lecithotrophic
Duration of larval stage< 1 day
Larval dispersal potential No information
Larval settlement periodInsufficient information

Life history information

Pentapora foliacea and P. fascialis are closely related. Therefore, information from P.fascialis has been used to infer life history characteristics of P. foliacea due to the lack of species-specific information and the confusion in taxonomy between the two species. 

  • Pentapora foliacea is perennial (Eggleston, 1972a) and probably lives for several years. Stable oxygen isotope values have shown colonies to be at least 3 years old (Patzold et al., 1987) and other estimates of growth rate suggest that Pentapora fascialis colonies in the Mediterranean are 10 years old or more (Cocito et al., 1998(a)).
  • In Pentapora fascialis, the presence/absence of ovicells is taken to be a reliable indicator of reproductive status and as such is a feature of sexual maturity (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). In the Skomer Marine Nature Reserve, Pentapora foliacea colonies were reported to have ovicells present in September, indicating a reproduction event in September or late August (Lock et al., 2006). Colonies of Pentapora fascialis as small as 2.8 cm have been recorded as having ovicells. Reproductive ability is gained at an early stage of colony development (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). Larval settling time is inferred from another Cheilostomata bryozoan species, Bugula neritina (Keough & Chernoff, 1987). Gautier (1962) records ovicells being present all year round. Cocito et al. (1998(b)) note the presence of ovicells in Pentapora fascialis in the northwestern Mediterranean from February to October.
  • Patzold et al. (1987) record the formation of a growth band in Pentapora foliacea during times of reduced reproductivity. This growth check line appears during periods of colder water temperatures.

Sensitivity reviewHow is sensitivity assessed?

Physical pressures

 IntoleranceRecoverabilitySensitivityEvidence/Confidence
High Moderate Moderate High

Pentapora foliacea is permanently attached to the seabed so substratum loss would result in death. Although being quite long-lived (10+ years) Pentapora fascialis is noted as having good reproductive and recolonization abilities, quite fast growth rates and gaining reproductive competency at an early stage (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). However, as the larval stage is potentially very short lived, dispersal distances may be limited (Keough & Chernoff, 1987). Local position of the adults can strongly affect the spatial pattern of larval settlement (Cocito et al 1998(b)). Following the almost total loss of a small population, Cocito et al., 1998(b)) recorded recovery and growth to original colony sizes taking only 3.5 years. In this case, reproductive adults remained nearby. If there are no remaining nearby adult populations then recovery may take much longer and so is assessed as moderate.

Intermediate Moderate Moderate Moderate

Pentapora foliacea is permanently attached to the seabed and so would be unable to avoid smothering. Although colonies of this species may reach considerable heights (50 cm in the Mediterranean), the sheet-like-structure is likely to retain any smothering sediment. Smaller colonies may be entirely killed whereas larger colonies that protrude through the smothering layer may lose only part of the colony. Smothering by encrusting epibiotic species may also occur (Cocoito et al. (1998(a)) recorded epibionts present on 50 % of the area of study quadrats in the Mediterranean). Epibionts can cause partial mortality of colonies. This effect is size dependent - proportions affected by epibionts is greater in larger colonies. Although being quite long-lived (10+ years) Pentapora fascialis is noted as having good reproductive and recolonization abilities, quite fast growth rates and gaining reproductive competency at an early stage (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). However, as the larval stage is potentially very short lived, dispersal distances may be limited (Keough & Chernoff, 1987). Local position of the adults can strongly affect the spatial pattern of larval settlement (Cocito et al 1998(b)). Following the almost total loss of a small population, Cocito et al., 1998(b)) recorded recovery and growth to original colony sizes taking only 3.5 years. In this case, reproductive adults remained nearby. If there are no remaining nearby adult populations then recovery may take much longer. Some evidence is available regarding the ability of this species to repair damage to colonies by epibiont smothering by regrowth of new zooids and strengthening of the base by thickening of lower zooid walls (Hayward and Ryland, 1979).

Intermediate High Low Moderate

Siltation has been recorded as causing partial colony mortality in populations of Pentapora fascialis in the Mediterranean. Increases in siltation rate may cause loss of part of a population. Although being quite long-lived (10+ years) Pentapora fascialis is noted as having good reproductive and recolonization abilities, quite fast growth rates and gaining reproductive competency at an early stage (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). However, as the larval stage is potentially very short lived, dispersal distances may be limited (Keough & Chernoff, 1987). Local position of the adults can strongly affect the spatial pattern of larval settlement (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). Following the almost total loss of a small population, Cocito et al., 1998(b)) recorded recovery and growth to original colony sizes taking only 3.5 years. In this case, reproductive adults remained nearby. If there are no remaining nearby adult populations then recovery may take much longer. Some evidence is available regarding the ability of this species to repair damage to colonies by siltation by regrowth of new zooids and strengthening of the base by thickening of lower zooid walls (Hayward and Ryland, 1979).

No information
High Moderate Moderate Low

The species is entirely subtidal and exposure to desiccating influences is likely to cause death. Although being quite long-lived (10+ years) Pentapora fascialis is noted as having good reproductive and recolonization abilities, quite fast growth rates and gaining reproductive competency at an early stage (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). However, as the larval stage is potentially very short lived, dispersal distances may be limited (Keough & Chernoff, 1987). Local position of the adults can strongly affect the spatial pattern of larval settlement (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). Following the almost total loss of a small population, Cocito et al., 1998(b)) recorded recovery and growth to original colony sizes taking only 3.5 years. In this case, reproductive adults remained nearby. If there are no remaining nearby adult populations then recovery may take much longer and so is assessed as moderate.

High Moderate Moderate Low

The species is entirely subtidal and a period of emergence is likely to cause death. Although being quite long-lived (10+ years) Pentapora fascialis is noted as having good reproductive and recolonization abilities, quite fast growth rates and gaining reproductive competency at an early stage (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). However, as the larval stage is potentially very short lived, dispersal distances may be limited (Keough & Chernoff, 1987). Local position of the adults can strongly affect the spatial pattern of larval settlement (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). Following almost total loss of a small population, Cocito et al., 1998(b)) recorded recovery and growth to original colony sizes taking only 3.5 years. In this case, reproductive adults remained nearby. If there are no remaining nearby adult populations then recovery may take much longer.

No information
Low Very high Very Low Low

The species inhabits environments with considerable water flow and is often found in areas scoured by sand. Decreases in water flow rate may interfere with feeding efficiency. Recovery of condition on the resumption of normal conditions should not take too long.

No information
Intermediate High Low Low

Pentapora foliacea is found in warmer waters as far south the north coast of Morocco. The northernmost limits of the distribution are in the Minch off western Scotland. Once established, colonies are most likely able to withstand occasional lower or higher than normal temperatures, but long term decreases in temperature may cause distribution range to shrink. Although being quite long-lived (10+ years) Pentapora fascialis is noted as having good reproductive and recolonization abilities, quite fast growth rates and gaining reproductive competency at an early stage (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). However, as the larval stage is potentially very short lived, dispersal distances may be limited (Keough & Chernoff, 1987). Local position of the adults can strongly affect the spatial pattern of larval settlement (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). Following the almost total loss of a small population, Cocito et al., 1998(b)) recorded recovery and growth to original colony sizes taking only 3.5 years. In this case, reproductive adults remained nearby. If there are no remaining nearby adult populations then recovery may take much longer. Some evidence is available regarding the ability of this species to repair damage to the colony by regrowth of new zooids and strengthening of the base by thickening of lower zooid walls (Hayward and Ryland, 1979).

No information
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive High

The species has very low or no ability for visual perception and is unlikely to be sensitive to changes in turbidity.

No information
Intermediate High Low Moderate

The species can occur in fairly exposed conditions. However, extreme wave action, as in storms, has been noted to cause widespread destruction of colonies (Cocito et al., 1998(a)). Therefore, increases in wave exposure may cause damage to colonies. Although being quite long-lived (10+ years) Pentapora fascialis is noted as having good reproductive and recolonization abilities, quite fast growth rates and gaining reproductive competency at an early stage (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). However, as the larval stage is potentially very short lived, dispersal distances may be limited (Keough & Chernoff, 1987). Local position of the adults can strongly affect the spatial pattern of larval settlement (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). Following the almost total loss of a small population, Cocito et al. (1998(b)) recorded recovery and growth to original colony sizes taking only 3.5 years. In this case, reproductive adults remained nearby. If there are no remaining nearby adult populations then recovery may take much longer. Some evidence is available regarding the ability of this species to repair damage to the colony by regrowth of new zooids and strengthening of the base by thickening of lower zooid walls (Hayward and Ryland, 1979).

No information
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Low

It is unlikely that Pentapora fascialis has a particular intolerance to noise vibrations.

Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive High

The species has very low or no ability for visual perception and is unlikely to be sensitive to changes in visual perception.

High Moderate Moderate High

The 'leaves' of a Pentapora foliacea colony are highly calcified and brittle. Physical abrasion can easily cause damage. Pentapora foliacea is noted as being tolerant of regular medium intensity disturbances (such as winter storms) but low frequency, high intensity disturbances such as freak storms cause mortality, particularly in shallower waters (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). The effects of diver frequentation have been monitored for Pentapora fascialis populations in the Mediterranean (Sala et al., 1996). Areas with heavy diving activity have greatly reduced densities of Pentapora fascialis and remaining colonies are frequently smaller and highly damaged. Colonies only survive in more protected locations such as under overhangs. In addition, Pentapora foliacea was reported to be damaged by scallop dredges and mobile fishing gear, pots and creels (Bullimore, 1985; DWT, 1993; Eno et al., 1996). Mobile gears also result in modification of the substratum, including removal of shell debris, cobbles and rocks, and the movement of boulders (Bullimore, 1985; Jennings & Kaiser, 1998). Therefore, intolerance has been assessed as high.

Although being quite long-lived (10+ years) Pentapora fascialis is noted as having good reproductive and recolonization abilities, quite fast growth rates and gaining reproductive competency at an early stage (Cocito et al., 1998b). However, as the larval stage is potentially very short lived, dispersal distances may be limited (Keough & Chernoff, 1987). Local position of the adults can strongly affect the spatial pattern of larval settlement (Cocito et al., 1998b). Following almost total loss of a small population, Cocito et al., 1998b) recorded recovery and growth to original colony sizes taking only 3.5 years. In this case, reproductive adults remained nearby. If there are no remaining nearby adult populations then recovery may take much longer.

High Moderate Moderate High

The colonies of Pentapora fascialis are permanently attached to the substratum. If displaced, the colony in not able to reform the attachment and death occurs. No information is available regarding the reproduction or dispersal abilities of this species so no assessment of recoverability can be made. However, the species may be quite long lived (10+ years) and slow growing (2 cm per year). Following loss of a population, growth to original colony sizes, after recolonization, may take some years.

Chemical pressures

 IntoleranceRecoverabilitySensitivityEvidence/Confidence
No information No information No information Not relevant

Insufficient
information

Heavy metal contamination
No information No information No information Not relevant

Insufficient
information

Hydrocarbon contamination
No information No information No information Not relevant

Insufficient
information

Radionuclide contamination
No information No information No information Not relevant

Insufficient
information

Changes in nutrient levels
No information No information No information Not relevant

Insufficient
information

High Moderate Moderate Moderate

The species only inhabits fully saline waters (Patzold et al., 1987) and exposure to salinity conditions outside of this range would probably result in death. Although being quite long-lived (10+ years) Pentapora fascialis is noted as having good reproductive and recolonization abilities, quite fast growth rates and gaining reproductive competency at an early stage (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). However, as the larval stage is potentially very short lived, dispersal distances may be limited (Keough & Chernoff, 1987). Local position of the adults can strongly affect the spatial pattern of larval settlement (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). Following the almost total loss of a small population, Cocito et al., 1998(b)) recorded recovery and growth to original colony sizes taking only 3.5 years. In this case, reproductive adults remained nearby. If there are no remaining nearby adult populations, as is likely with changes in salinity, then recovery may take much longer.

No information
Intermediate High Low Low

There is no information regarding the tolerance of Pentapora fascialis to changes in oxygen concentration. However, Cole et al., (1999) suggest possible adverse effects on marine species below 4 mg/l and probable adverse effects below 2mg/l. Although being quite long-lived (10+ years) Pentapora fascialis is noted as having good reproductive and recolonization abilities, quite fast growth rates and gaining reproductive competency at an early stage (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). However, as the larval stage is potentially very short lived, dispersal distances may be limited (Keough & Chernoff, 1987). Local position of the adults can strongly affect the spatial pattern of larval settlement (Cocito et al., 1998(b)). Following almost total loss of a small population, Cocito et al., 1998(b)) recorded recovery and growth to original colony sizes taking only 3.5 years. In this case, reproductive adults remained nearby. If there are no remaining nearby adult populations then recovery may take much longer. Some evidence is available regarding the ability of this species to repair damage to the colony by regrowth of new zooids and strengthening of the base by thickening of lower zooid walls (Hayward and Ryland, 1979).

Biological pressures

 IntoleranceRecoverabilitySensitivityEvidence/Confidence
No information No information No information Not relevant

Insufficient
information

No information No information No information Not relevant

Insufficient
information

Not relevant Not relevant Not relevant High

The species has no commercial value (Sala et al., 1996) and is highly unlikely to be extracted.

Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Very low

Pentapora fascialis has no known obligate relationships. Extraction of other species is not likely to have any effect on Pentapora fascialis colonies.

Additional information

Importance review

Policy/legislation

Northern Ireland Priority Species

Status

Non-native

Importance information

On rocky, current swept seabeds, the species is often a conspicuous and dominant component of the assemblage (Hayward & Ryland, 1979.). Pentapora foliacea is recorded as acting as host for a variety of other bryozoan species and shelter for quite high densities of other fauna (Hayward & Ryland, 1979)

Bibliography

  1. Bruce, J.R., Colman, J.S. & Jones, N.S., 1963. Marine fauna of the Isle of Man. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

  2. Cocito, S., Ferdeghini, F., & Sgorbini, S., 1998b. Pentapora fascialis (Pallas) [Cheilostomata: Ascophora] colonization of one sublittoral rocky site after sea-storm in the northwest Mediterranean. Hydrobiologia, 375/376, 59-66.

  3. Cocito, S., Sgarbini, S. & Bianchi, C.N., 1998a. Aspects of the biology of the bryozoan Pentapora fascialis in the northwestern Mediterranean. Marine Biology, 131, 73-82.

  4. Eggleston, D., 1972a. Patterns of reproduction in marine Ectoprocta off the Isle of Man. Journal of Natural History, 6, 31-38.

  5. Gautier, Y.V., 1962. Recherches ecologiques sur les bryozoares chilostomes en Mediterranee occidentale. Recueil des travaux de la station marine d'Endoume, 38, 165-166.

  6. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  7. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. 1979. British ascophoran bryozoans. London: Academic Press.

  8. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. 1999. Cheilostomatous Bryozoa. Part II Hippothooidea - Celleporoidea. London: Academic Press.[Synopses of the British Fauna, no. 14. (2nd edition)]

  9. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  10. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid

  11. Keough, M.J. & Chernoff, H., 1987. Dispersal and population variation in the bryozoan Bugula neritina. Ecology, 68, 199 - 210.

  12. Lock, K., Burton, M., Luddington, L. & Newman, P., 2006. Skomer Marine Nature Reserve project status report 2005/06. CCW Regional Report CCW/WW/05/9., Countryside Council for Wales.

  13. Lombardi, C., Taylor, P.D. & Cocito, S., 2010. Systematics of the Miocene–Recent bryozoan genus Pentapora (Cheilostomata). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 160 (1), 17-39. DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2009.00594.x

  14. MBA (Marine Biological Association), 1957. Plymouth Marine Fauna. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

  15. Patzold, J., Ristedt, H. & Wefer, G., 1987. Rate of growth and longevity of a large colony of Pentapora foliacea (Bryozoa) recorded in their oxygen isotope profiles. Marine Biology, 96, 535-538.

  16. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin., http://www.itsligo.ie/biomar/

  17. Sala, E., Garrabon, J. & Zabala, M., 1996. Effects of diver frequentation on Mediterranean sublittoral populations of the bryozoan Pentapora fascialis. Marine Biology, 126, 451-459.

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Jackson, A. 2016. Pentapora foliacea Ross. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1389

Last Updated: 08/06/2016