Cheilostome bryozoans offer a powerful method for estimating temperature seasonality in the past. Museum scientists are applying this analysis to address a range of palaeoclimatic issues.
Cheilostome bryozoans are good indicators of temperature seasonality because the size of individual zooids within colonies is dependent on the ambient temperature at the time of their formation, and therefore:
- colonies showing a low variance in zooid size indicate low levels of seasonality
- colonies with a high variance indicate high levels of seasonality
We are applying this MART (Mean Annual Range of Temperature) analysis to address palaeoclimatic issues in, for example:
- the Pliocene of the North Atlantic
- the Pliocene of the Antarctic Peninsula