A new paper on symbiosis between brachiopods and bryozoans in the Late Ordovician of Estonia

I’m pleased to announce another paper has appeared from our ongoing Estonian-German-American collaboration on symbiosis in the fossil record. The beautiful specimen above is the trepostome bryozoan Esthoniopora subsphaerica growing around a bioclaustration, forming a distinctive tube (Katian, Rakvere, northern Estonia; TUG 1824-8). Some alert Wooster students and alumni will remember similar features in trepostome bryozoans from the Cincinnatian in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

The abstract —

Valves of the strophomenid brachiopod Sowerbyella tenera are often encrusted by trepostome bryozoan colonies in the lower Katian of Estonia. In some cases, the encrustation of Sowerbyella likely took place syn vivo. A single Sowerbyella tenera contains three Palaeosabella prisca borings that were bored post mortem into the interface between the encrusting trepostome colony and the ventral valve of Sowerbyella. The encrusting trepostome colonies contain a large bioclaustration in a tubular outgrowth of the bryozoan colony, Anoigmaichnus-like bioclaustrations, Kuckerichnus-like bioclaustrations, A. zapalskii, A. bretti, and a symbiotic conulariid. The bioclaustrated soft-bodied organisms and the conulariid colonized living bryozoans.

It is a pleasure as always to work with this happy team led by the indefatigable Olev Vinn of the University of Tartu, Estonia.


Vinn. O., Ernst, A., Wilson, M.A., Tinn, O., Isakar, M. and Toom, U. 2023. Symbiosis in brachiopods and brachiopod-attached trepostome bryozoans from the Katian of Estonia. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie 307/1: 41-50.

About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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