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Overview

Brief Summary

Jelly bryozoans are colony-forming bryozoans, where the colonies resemble thick branched cartilage fingers. They attach to seaweed, stones, shellfish or crab shells. The shape of the colonies can vary greatly and are sometimes incomparable with anything else. Some biologists just refer to them as 'a marine thing' instead of their name. There are several species of jelly bryozoans, but the transparent species is the most common. The different species are often only recognizable under the microscope. Colonies that have broken away from their underground are regularly found on the beach. Jelly bryozoans are common in the North Sea.
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Comprehensive Description

Alcyonidium sp. is an encrusting type of bryozoan, having gelatinous colonies, which form into whitish or brownish crusts. Zooids are hexagonal or polygonal in shape and measure 0.46 - 0.22 mm in size. The lophophore measures approximately 0.33 mm in diameter, and has 14 tentacles.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Distribution

Unknown. Within the Indian River Lagoon, living specimens of Alcyonidium sp. have been collected in April only at Link Port, Florida (Winston 1982). Increased sampling effort could potentially widen the documented occurrence of this species to include other areas of the India River Lagoon.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Physical Description

Size

Zooids in this species are hexagonal or irregularly polygonal in shape and measure approximately 0.46 - 0.22 mm in length. The lophophore generally measures 0.331 mm in diameter. Alcyonidium sp. has 14 tentacles.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Diagnostic Description

description

Lang bleef de identiteit van deze soorten een mysterie. Door gebrek aan verkalking en skeletkenmerken is het onderscheiden van soorten moeilijk. Recent onderzoek bracht klaarheid in de ware identiteit van sommige soorten. Over deze familie is nog volop onderzoek bezig en het laatste woord is er zeker nog niet over geschreven. Het aantal tentakels varieert binnen één soort volgens groeiplaats en concurrentiedruk. Een combinatie van kenmerken zoals kolonievorm, kleur, aantal tentakels, voortplantingswijze en substraatvoorkeur maken een betrouwbare determinatie mogelijk. Genetisch onderzoek geeft in twijfelgevallen uitsluitsel. De meeste soorten broeden embryo’s in de zoïden en brengen larven voort. Andere soorten scheiden eieren af die zich in de waterkolom ontwikkelen tot larve. Enkel de soorten die eieren voortbrengen (A. condylocinereum, A. parasiticum en A. mytili), ontwikkelen een intertentaculair orgaan. Dit orgaan speelt een rol in de opname van sperma en het uitscheiden van eieren en is, indien aanwezig, een goed determinatiekenmerk.
  • De Blauwe, H. (2009). Mosdiertjes van de Zuidelijke Bocht van de Noordzee. Determinatiewerk voor België en Nederland. Uitgave Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee, Oostende: 464pp.
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 968 specimens in 28 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 311 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): -2 - 1697
  Temperature range (°C): -1.990 - 25.702
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.862 - 34.585
  Salinity (PPS): 10.036 - 36.096
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.103 - 8.237
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.083 - 2.372
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.777 - 113.106

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): -2 - 1697

Temperature range (°C): -1.990 - 25.702

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.862 - 34.585

Salinity (PPS): 10.036 - 36.096

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.103 - 8.237

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.083 - 2.372

Silicate (umol/l): 0.777 - 113.106
 
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Trophic Strategy

Alcyonidium sp., like all bryozoans, is a suspension feeder. Each individual zooid in a colony has 14 ciliated tentacles that are extended to filter phytoplankton less than 0.045 mm in size (about 1/1800 of an inch) from the water column. Bullivant (1967; 1968) showed that the average individual zooid in a colony can clear 8.8ml of water per day.Habitats: Typical habitat for ectoprocts in the Indian River Lagoon include seagrasses, drift algae, oyster reef, dock, pilings, breakwaters, and man-made debris (Winston 1995).
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Associations

Seagrasses as well as floating macroalgae, provide support for bryozoan colonies. In turn, bryozoans provide habitat for many species of juvenile fishes and their invertebrate prey such as Polychaete worms, amphipods and copepods. (Winston 1995).Bryozoans are also found in association with other species that act as support structures: mangrove roots, oyster beds, mussels, etc.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Population Biology

Alcyonidium sp. is considered rare within the IRL, as it has been collected from only one site. However, further sampling efforts in other areas could expand our knowledge of Alcyonidium sp.'s distribution within the IRL. This species is locally abundant at other locations within its geographic range. In the IRL, it is considered a fouling organism (Winston 1995).Locomotion: Sessile
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Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Life History and Behavior

Growth

The embryology of Alcyonidium sp. is unknown; however, some members of this order brood embryos within zooids, while other produce a cyphonautes-like larva.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:11Public Records:1
Specimens with Sequences:6Public Species:1
Specimens with Barcodes:6Public BINs:1
Species:2         
Species With Barcodes:2         
          
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Barcode data

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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Alcyonidium

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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Benefit in IRL: Bryozoans are ecologically important in the Indian River Lagoon due to their feeding method. As suspension feeders, they act as living filters in the marine environment. For example, Winston (1995) reported that bryozoan colonies associated with 1 square meter of seagrasses could potentially filter and recirculate an average of 48,000 gallons of seawater per day.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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