Evolution of Epibiosis

Upper Ordovician trilobite (Flexicalymene sp.) whose head is fouled by a trepostrome bryozoan from Cincinnati, OH.

Live female horseshoe crab (Tachypleus gigas)
fouled by white bryozoan colonies (Biflustra
savartii) from Singapore. 
Marcus M. Key Jr. - Dept. of Geology, Dickinson College, U.S.A.
Gregory A. Schumacher - Ohio Geological Survey, U.S.A.
David D.K. Barnes - British Antarctic Survey, U.K.
William B. Jeffries - Dept. of Biology, Dickinson College, U.S.A.
Harold K. Voris - Field Museum of Natural History, U.S.A.
Judith E. Winston - Virginia Museum of Natural History, U.S.A.
Chang M. Yang -  Dept. of Zoology, National University of Singapore
Students: Jared W. Volpe ('95), Joel Knauff ('01)

       Epibiosis refers to the ecologic relationship where one organism lives on another (e.g., barnacle fouling a whale).  Our goal is to understand how and why organisms evolve to live on other motile organisms.  Our data for the modern portion of the study comes primarily from the spatial distribution of bryozoans that live on various extant host substrates such as sea snakes and horseshoe crabs from Singapore, blue crabs from the Mid-Atlantic, and isopods and sea spiders from Antarctica.  Current work is examining the stratigraphic and phylogenetic history of the hosts and the epibiotic bryozoans.  We hope to test the hypothesis that the phylogenies of the hosts and the bryozoans should mirror each other. We are currently working on Ordovician trilobite hosts from the Cincinnati area and Neogene cidaroid sea urchins from New Zealand..