Bryozoan research at the Museum focuses on the evolutionary history and palaeoecology of this phylum of colonial invertebrates.
Compared with most other invertebrate groups possessing comparably rich fossil records, bryozoans have been neglected, in part because of their difficult taxonomy.
Yet bryozoans not only offer unique insights into the evolution of coloniality, but can also provide valuable information on palaeoenvironments, for example temperature seasonality.
The Natural History Museum has a comprehensive collection of both fossil and living bryozoans and much of our research is interdisciplinary, spanning palaeontology and zoology.
Our work integrates such diverse disciplines as:
Follow the links below for details about individual projects.
This project uses DNA analysis of nuclear ribosomal genes and mitochondrial genes to investigate the molecular phylogeny of bryozoans.
Cheilostome bryozoans use 2 different forms of calcium carbonate for their skeletons. We are investigating the switch of some clades to aragonite, the more soluble form, and the effects of ocean acidification on colonies.
By carrying out taxonomic studies of selected bryozoan groups and faunas we aim to provide a better understanding of the significant diversification that occurred during the mid-late Mesozoic.
Find out how MART (Mean Annual Range of Temperature) analysis using cheilostome bryozoans is being employed by Museum researchers to address palaeoclimatic issues.