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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Scanning electron micrograph of fertile zooids of a contemporary species of the cheilostome bryozoan genus Microporella from New Zealand (magnification 50x). Photo: Emanuela Di Martino

Di Martino E, Liow LH


Larger offspring associated with lower temperatures across species of Microporella, a widespread colonial invertebrate


How does offspring size change through millions of years in the history of a lineage? Despite its ecological and evolutionary importance among life history traits, little is known about offspring size variation over macroevolutionary timescales, especially for colonial organisms. Using related species of the cheilostome bryozoan Microporella, we found that offspring size is affected by a combination of module size and water temperature/latitude, while fecundity and levels of nutrients have weak to no effect on this life history trait. This study illustrates how capitalizing on among species variation in both contemporary organisms and their fossil counterpart can reveal different aspects and the complexity of the variation.


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