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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Artificial habitats induce plasticity in colonies of the marine bryozoan Schizoporella errata

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Dias, Gustavo M. [1] ; Dutra, Felipe S. [1] ; Duarte, Rafael C. [1]
Total Authors: 3
[1] Univ Fed ABC UFABC, Ctr Ciencias Nat & Humanas, Rua Arcturus, 03 Jardim Antares, BR-09606070 Sao Bernardo Do Campo, SP - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 1
Document type: Journal article
Web of Science Citations: 0

Modular organization provides flexibility for colonial animals to deal with variable and unpredictable environmental conditions since each module has specific tasks within the colony, such as feeding, defending or reproducing. Depending on the selecting pressures, sessile organisms may phenotypically adjust the morphology of each module or modify their density, increasing individual fitness. Here we used the marine bryozoan Schizoporella errata (Cheilostomata, Schizoporellidae) to test how the divergent conditions between two artificial habitats, the location inside a marina (IM) and the external wall of the breakwater (BW), affect colony size and the density of the distinct modules. The density of avicularia and ovicells, modules related to defense and reproduction, respectively, did not differ between habitats. However, colonies growing in the turbulent waters of BW were, in general, larger and had higher density of feeding autozooids than those at IM. Reciprocal transplants of bryozoan clones indicated that trait variation is genotype-dependent but varies according to the environmental conditions at the assigned location. The occurrence of larger colonies with more zooids in BW is probably linked to the easier feeding opportunity offered by the small diffusive boundary layer around the colony at this location. Since in colonial polymorphic organisms each module (zooid) performs a specific function, the phenotypic response is not uniform across colonies, affecting only those modules that are susceptible to variations in the main selective pressures. Understanding the importance of colony-level plasticity is relevant to predict how modularity will contribute to organisms to deal with human-induced environmental changes in coastal habitats. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 13/11286-2 - How microspatial diferences of abiotic conditions affect the recruitment and predation on the encrusting community and the fitness of the bryozoan Schyzoporella errata?
Grantee:Gustavo Muniz Dias
Support type: Regular Research Grants