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. 2018 Jun 13;13(6):e0197533.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197533. eCollection 2018.

Skeletal Carbonate Mineralogy of Scottish Bryozoans

Free PMC article

Skeletal Carbonate Mineralogy of Scottish Bryozoans

Jennifer Loxton et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


This paper describes the skeletal carbonate mineralogy of 156 bryozoan species collected from Scotland (sourced both from museum collections and from waters around Scotland) and collated from literature. This collection represents 79% of the species which inhabit Scottish waters and is a greater number and proportion of extant species than any previous regional study. The study is also of significance globally where the data augment the growing database of mineralogical analyses and offers first analyses for 26 genera and four families. Specimens were collated through a combination of field sampling and existing collections and were analysed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and micro-XRD to determine wt% MgCO3 in calcite and wt% aragonite. Species distribution data and phylogenetic organisation were applied to understand distributional, taxonomic and phylo-mineralogical patterns. Analysis of the skeletal composition of Scottish bryozoans shows that the group is statistically different from neighbouring Arctic fauna but features a range of mineralogy comparable to other temperate regions. As has been previously reported, cyclostomes feature low Mg in calcite and very little aragonite, whereas cheilostomes show much more variability, including bimineralic species. Scotland is a highly variable region, open to biological and environmental influx from all directions, and bryozoans exhibit this in the wide range of within-species mineralogical variability they present. This plasticity in skeletal composition may be driven by a combination of environmentally-induced phenotypic variation, or physiological factors. A flexible response to environment, as manifested in a wide range of skeletal mineralogy within a species, may be one characteristic of successful invasive bryozoans.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Fig 1
Fig 1. The biomineral space occupied by Scottish bryozoan species.
Skeletal carbonate mineralogy of 154 species of Scottish marine bryozoans. Shaded box indicates maximum biomineral space occupied by the phylum in Scotland (42% of the total available biomineral space).
Fig 2
Fig 2. The phylogenetic distribution of the skeletal carbonate mineralogy of Scottish bryozoans.
Phylogenetic tree adapted from Waeschenbach et al [55]. Crosses are means, with the range delineated by tails. Single measurements are represented by black (wt% MgCO3 in calcite) or hollow (wt% calcite) circles.

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Grant support

The authors thank the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology in Scotland (MASTS) and the Marine Environmental Research Group (MERG) at Heriot-Watt University for supporting and funding J.L.’s PhD. Natural Environment Research Council [NE/M006566/2] to Dr Jennifer Loxton. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.