Electra vs Callopora: life histories of two bryozoans with contrasting reproductive strategies in the White Sea

Ekaterina T. Shevchenko, Marina A. Varfolomeeva, Uliana A. Nekliudova, Olga N. Kotenko, Nikolay V. Usov, Andrei I. Granovitch, Andrew N. Ostrovsky

Research output


The life histories of two common boreal-Arctic bryozoans–Electra pilosa and Callopora craticula–living on kelps in the White Sea are described for the first time using colony mapping. Colony functional dynamics (sexual, feeding, budding and rejuvenation) was traced seasonally via recording zooidal states. During the ice-free season the population of the zygote spawner E. pilosa was represented by three generations–overwintered (maternal) and two young ones (daughter and granddaughter). The overwintered colonies exhibited two-phased reproduction and the ‘early’ daughter colonies reproduced just once. ‘Late’ colonies, together with the granddaughter generation, remained sterile. Four generations are described for the brooder C. craticula, three of which continuously produced larvae. While the two species co-exist on the same substratum, reproduction in E. pilosa started almost 1 month later (in late June), which could be explained by the insufficient abundance of phytoplankton in early summer to support the start of oogenesis and feeding cyphonautes larvae. The estimated maximal colony lifespan is 13 months in E. pilosa and 15 months in C. craticula. The broad comparison of bryozoan reproductive ecology in the White Sea showed that their life histories are much more diverse, complex and evolutionarily flexible than previously acknowledged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-157
Number of pages44
JournalInvertebrate Reproduction and Development
Issue number2
Early online date27 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Developmental Biology

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