Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Bryozoan in Lake Monroe

Today on the Scientific American Guest Blog, Jennifer Frazer writes about bryozoans. I was pretty thrilled to see that a video she linked to as a visual aid was shot right here in Monroe County, Indiana. It's short, but nicely illustrates this obscure organism. Frazer gives a fantastic introduction to the bryozoan clan, writing:
Bryozoans are like the whales of the coral world -- they are not coral, but have evolved into the same filter-feeding polyp-like niche. They're really old -- like 500,000,000 years old. And some bizarre details of their biology have helped them elude the best efforts of biologists to try and pin them down in the Earth family tree.
Head over to SciAm for the rest. Frazer writes The Artful Amoeba and tweets, too.

Here's a fossilized bryozoan I photographed at Falls of the Ohio State Park in September.

Fossil Bryozoan

You should also head over to Mike Popp's great blog Louisville Fossils and Beyond for his own post on bryozoan fossils, posted today. If you aren't following his blog, get with it! It's a daily must-see.

The Guest Blog is also a consistently great read. That tireless promoter of online science communication, Bora Zivkovic, has really raised its importance since taking the lofty title of Chief Editor and Community Manager for SciAm, bringing in a diverse group of bloggers to contribute on all kinds of scientific topics. Speaking of which, you might be something from yours truly popping up there pretty soon...

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