Environmental change

We are investigating the potential impacts of ocean acidification and eutrophication on bryozoans.

Marine bryozoans are comprised of zooids with calcium carbonate skeletons. Some zooids are modified for reproduction, others for defence and the majority for feeding.

The calcium carbonate skeletons of the individual zooids within a colony provide a record of how colonies invest in these different functions, and whether their skeletal integrity is altered by environmental change.

We focus on two areas:

Marine environmental change 
  • We use present-day and historical marine bryozoans to examine how environmental change in space and time may influence skeletal integrity and investment in different vital functions through zooid types.
  • We use this framework to investigate the impacts of ocean acidification, temperature and seasonal regimes.
  • Extra additions of nutrients to bodies of water can affect local community structure.
  • We are analysing the remains of bryozoans in sediment cores to investigate community structure in freshwater environments in time and space as a response to nutrient influxes.

Project researchers



Eutrophication is the addition of nutrients to a body of water. These events can be natural or man-made, as in the case of fertiliser run-off from farming, creating an influx of nitrates and phosphates.

Eutrophication can cause large blooms of organisms like algae that starve other organisms of oxygen and reduce light levels for aquatic plants.

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