Bryozoans are abundant in all oceans and reach maximum diversity in the western Pacific. They are found at all water-depths, from the shoreline to the abyss. The deepest record of a living bryozoan is 8500m, but their importance as a group declines with increasing water-depth. Bryozoans are sensitive to their enviroment and the principal controls on their distribution are:
The three principal classes of bryozoan are living today - they are extant organisms. One species of bryozoan, Bugula neritina, is of current interest as a source of cytotoxic chemicals, bryostatins, which are under investigation as anti-cancer agents. Growth pattern and form of a bryozoan is an expression of its ecological niche rather than its classification. Therefore it is appropriate to describe the characteristics of modern bryozoa found in different ecological niches.
Author: Luke Mander
Last updated: 20.11.05
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