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The epizoic diatom community on four bryozoan species from Helgoland (German Bight, North Sea)

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The composition of the diatom community on the bryozoans Electra pilosa, Membranipora membranacea, Flustra foliacea, and Alcyonidium gelatinosum from the German Bight was studied by light and scanning electron microscopy. In total, members of 26 diatom genera were found, with Cocconeis, Tabularia, Licmophora, Amphora, and Navicula being the most abundant. The amount and the composition of the diatom covering seem to be typical for single bryozoan species. Electra pilosa and Membranipora membranacea showed a rather dense covering with 71–547 cells/mm2 and 77–110 cells/mm2, respectively. The most prominent genus on Electra pilosa was Cocconeis, reaching up to 58% of all diatoms in one sample, followed by Navicula, Tabularia and Amphora. The most abundant genera on Membranipora membranacea were Tabularia and Licmophora, making up almost 70% of all diatoms in one sample, followed by Navicula, Cocconeis and Amphora. The diatom composition was very stable on all Electra samples, but varied on Membranipora samples. With <1–27 cells/mm2, diatoms were much less abundant on Alcyonidium gelatinosum. Members of the genera Tabularia and Navicula were the most frequently found benthic diatoms, whereas the planktonic forms Coscinodiscus, Cyclotella, and Thalassiosira made up 35% of the diatoms. On Flustra foliacea, diatoms were virtually absent, with fewer than 5 cells/mm2. The low diatom numbers are probably due to toxic metabolites produced by the host. The same may be true for Alcyonidium gelatinosum, but here they might also be a consequence of the surface properties of the bryozoan.

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Wuchter, C., Marquardt, J. & Krumbein, W.E. The epizoic diatom community on four bryozoan species from Helgoland (German Bight, North Sea). Helgol Mar Res 57, 13–19 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10152-002-0117-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10152-002-0117-z