Bryozoans; Orange Tubular
The large, common orange tubular bryozoan is one of the first organisms to encrust rocky reefs and jetty timbers around the southern coast of Australia. Initially the colony forms flat, brown plates before eventually branching into large, bright orange tubular protrusions. Crustaceans such as small crabs and shrimps, molluscs and worms inhabit these orange tubes. Colonies can reach up to 30 centimetres in diameter, growing by means of asexual budding of the zooids on the outer perimeter of the colony or by sexual reproduction. Fertilized eggs are released into the water column where they drift amongst the plankton, until they hatch into larvae and settle onto suitable reef, rock or timber habitat. Each will then develop into a zooid and start the budding process to make up a colony of bryozoans. Orange tubular bryozoans are found in shallow depths of 5 metres to 40 metres.
Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty:
As one of the first organisms to encrust the jetty piles, this bryozoans is most obvious on the newer, steel piles where it hasn’t yet been outcompeted and grown over by other invertebrates.