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Free Content Polypide Morphology and Feeding Behavior in Marine Ectoprocts

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Observations on living colonies of 56 species of marine bryozoans from Florida and Panama have shown that these organisms possess a variety of morphological and behavioral adaptations related to feeding activities. In the species studied mean lophophore diameter varies from 187 to 1,012 μm, mouth size from 15 to 91 μm, and tentacle number from 8 to 31. Polypide morphology, particularly introvert length and lophophore symmetry, also varies from species to species, and this variation is linked to behavioral strategy. With respect to individual polypide behavior species can range from passive filterers (e.g. Crisia elongata), to tentacle feeders (e.g. Pasythea tulipifera), to cage-captors (e.g. Bugula neritina), to particle jugglers (e.g. Sundanella sibogae). Colony-wide patterns of morphology and behavior also reflect various methods of dealing with water currents. These range from weakly integrated patterns characterized by separation and a high degree of functional independence of individual polypides to highly integrated patterns in which both skeletal morphology and polypide orientation serve to enhance and/or channel feeding currents. Similar strategies have evolved in all three orders of marine bryozoans, apparently in response to the common problem of changing the characteristics of water flow in the immediate vicinity of the colony so that food particles may be extracted.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1978-01-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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