Polar Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 773–779 | Cite as

A new species of the cheilostome bryozoan Chiastosella in the Southern Ocean, past and present

  • Federica Ragazzola
  • Paul D. Taylor
  • Pietro Bazzicalupo
  • Beth Okamura
  • Daniela N. Schmidt
Original Paper


Understanding whether marine calcifying organisms may acclimatise to climate change is important with regard to their survival over the coming century. Due to cold waters having a naturally higher CO2 uptake, the Southern Ocean provides an especially good opportunity to study the potential impact of climate change. In 2011, a new cheilostome bryozoan species—Chiastosella ettorina sp. nov.—was dredged from Burdwood Bank, Southern Ocean, at 324–219-m depth during the Nathaniel B Palmer Cruise. This species had previously been collected in 1902 from the same area at 100-m depth, but was incorrectly identified as Chiastosella watersi, an encrusting species from New Zealand. The availability of samples of the same species, from the same general location, but collected 109 years apart allowed us to investigate morphological modifications potentially arising from environmental changes. We found a significant difference in zooid size, with the oldest and shallowest specimens having smaller zooids than the recently collected deeper specimens. This difference in zooid size appears to be unrelated to known sources of environmental variation such as temperature and salinity, and it could represent the extremes of the zooid size range of C. ettorina. An alternative explanation is that acidifying waters may have caused zooids to grow more slowly, resulting in a final larger size.


Bryozoa Taxonomy Zooid size Ocean acidification Morphological variation Burdwood bank Climate change 



We would like to thank the Master and the crew of Nathaniel B Palmer for facilitating the sampling and Dr. Laura Robinson (then WHOI now Bristol) for making the material available to us. We thank Mary Spencer Jones (Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, London) for arranging a loan of material from the NSM and Suzanne Jennions for the collection of Chiastosella ettorina specimens during the Nathaniel B Palmer Cruise in 2011. This study was founded by the Leverhulme Trust (RPG-183 to DNS, PDT and BO) and a Royal Society URF to DNS.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Federica Ragazzola
    • 1
  • Paul D. Taylor
    • 2
  • Pietro Bazzicalupo
    • 3
  • Beth Okamura
    • 4
  • Daniela N. Schmidt
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Earth SciencesUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesNatural History MuseumLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  4. 4.Department of Life SciencesNatural History MuseumLondonUK

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