A floating partnership – Bryozoa – Akumal, México

As humans, we all value a piece of land to call home. It’s not so different sometimes in the ocean. Many invertebrates would colonize just about any surface you can find in the open waters. And Bryozoa are masters of colonizing just about anything.. even if it’s a floating algae.

I am on a peninsula in Mexico, and the entire coastline is covered with Sargasam (that’s for another day). But if you look closely, it’s covered with a mineralized layer.

You can see the little bulbs that keeps it afloat in the ocean. But if you look closely at all the leaves; this is what it looks like (10x mag)

I mounted one of them on a slide and put it inside a foldscope. This is a “dead” sample; so I was not expecting to see the creatures that created these homes. Take a look..

Reading more about it; seems like this is a Bryozoa of the genus Membranipora.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Membranipora

You can see hundreds of little homes, packed together (its crowded here); all living in a harmony. The structures are three dimensional and perfectly patterned. Every one of them. I a surprised to see a little “red” seat at the base of house. Possibly, that’s the attachment structure that keeps the organism attached. Now I have to go out in the water and get a living organism – so I know how they all feed in such a crowded city.

Keep exploring.

Cheers

Manu

2 Comments Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    Fascinating Manu. Cant wait to see more on this.

  2. Cristina says:

    Dear Manu Prakash:
    This is so interesting! I am writing a comment on this post, but have already read the series. Amazed by the fact that some briozoa share their nervous system as a continuous structure and then act as a whole.

    I will try to find briozoa in the island where I live.

    By the way, that beach is teeming with life!!!!

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