Bryozoans Coralline Algae

Bryozoans associated to coralline algae from La Guajira: an approach to their diversity, ecology, biogeography, and potential uses. 2021-2022

The continental shelf in La Guajira is the place of atypical marine ecosystems with a considerable diversity of fauna and flora. In different zones between 10 and 50 m depth, there are abundant and diverse coralline algae with a variety of shapes. These particular algae provide substrate to copiously bryozoan species, and together, they perform significant contributions to the shelf carbonates. However, the study of these components and their interactions is lacking in the region.

In this context, the Ministry of Science in Colombia opened a call for research projects entitled: “Vocations and formations in science, technology, and research to the economic reactivation in the frame of post-pandemic” at the end of 2020, to which MoAm applied and obtained finance for a postdoctoral investigation with Dra. Paola Flórez. The objective of the project is the assessment of bryozoans associated with coralline algae, aiming to know the diversity of these invertebrates, as well as to explore some aspects of their ecology, biogeography, and potential uses.

The evaluation will be performed with the biological material provided by the Museum of Marine Natural History of Colombia MHNMC – Makuriwa under the lending code SP-55526 of 2021. The organisms were collected by the Marine and Coastal Research Institute – INVEMAR during the survey campaigns Macrofauna II (2001), Chuchupa II (2004), and Macrofauna Corpoguajira (2005) in the continental shelf off La Guajira department.


The objective of the research will be accomplished through the following activities:

  • Separation of morphotypes and preliminary taxonomic identification of bryozoans, and estimation of abundance and coverage
  • Clasification of the algal substrate according to its morphology
  • Sample preparation and imagery acquisition of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) for taxonomic confirmation
  • Ecological and biogeographic analysis, as well as literature review for potential bioactive bryozoans
  • Presentation of results and publications