BIOTIC Species Information for Bugula turbinata
Researched byDr Harvey Tyler-Walters Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr Peter J. Hayward
General Biology
Growth formArborescent / Arbuscular
Feeding methodActive suspension feeder
Mobility/MovementPermanent attachment
Environmental positionEpibenthic
Typical food typesPhytoplankton (<50µm), macroalgal spores, detritus, and bacteria. HabitAttached
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityFragile SizeSmall-medium(3-10cm)
Height3-6 cm Growth RateSee additional information
Adult dispersal potentialNone DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationGrowth form
Bugula species form erect tufted growths, characterized by continuous branching. The holdfast is composed of encrusting rhizoids. The exact nature of branching and colony form varies with species, active growth occurring at the branch apices. In Bugula turbinata, the branches form spirally around a central axis (Dyrynda & Ryland, 1982; Hayward & Ryland, 1998).

Growth rates
Growth rates in bryozoans have been shown to vary with environmental conditions, especially water flow, food supply, temperature, competition for food and space, and genotype. For example:

  • Wendt (1998) reported that the length of time larvae spent in the plankton affected subsequent growth and reproduction of colonies of Bugula neritina, i.e. although specific growth rates were probably the same, colonies developing from 24 hr old larvae were 35% smaller, began reproduction about 1.5 days later and had about 50% fewer brood chambers than those growing from 1 hr larvae.
  • Wendt (1998) also noted that colonies growing on upward facing surfaces in the laboratory were about 40% smaller than colonies growing on downward facing surfaces.
Growth in numbers of zooids is exponential. Wendt (1998) reported a mean number of 74-113 zooids 14 days after larval settlement in Bugula neritina, depending on the length of time the larvae spent in the plankton. Note, however, that Bugula neritina is a warm temperate species probably only remotely related to the NE Atlantic species (P. Hayward, pers. comm.). Schneider (1963) reported that buds grew at about 12 µm /hr (a maximum of 25 µm/hr) in the laboratory. Schnieder's estimates probably represent optimal growth under laboratory conditions, however, growth in Bugula species is likely to rapid.

The structure and function of the bryozoan lophophore was reviewed by Ryland (1976), Winston (1977), and Hayward & Ryland (1998). Ambient water flow is important for bringing food-bearing water within range of the colonies own pumping ability (McKinney, 1986), however, increased water flow reduces feeding efficiency in small colonies but not of large colonies (Okamura, 1984). Curiously, upstream zooids dominated feeding in slow flow (1-2 cm/s) and central zooids in fast flow (10-12 cm/s) (Okamura, 1984). Bryozoa probably feed on small flagellates (<50 µm), bacteria, algal spores and small pieces of abraded macroalgae (Winston, 1977; Best & Thorpe, 1994).

Biology References Hayward & Ryland, 1998, Ryland, 1967, Ryland, 1970, Ryland, 1976, Best & Thorpe, 1994, Winston, 1977, McKinney, 1986, Okamura, 1984, Schneider, 1963, Wendt, 2000, Eggleston, 1972b, Dyrynda & Ryland, 1982, Wendt, 1998,
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