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Membranipora membranacea
Image courtesy of Hans De Blauwe © WoRMS for SMEBD, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 License
Membranipora membranacea
Taxonomic Group: Bryozoans


Membranipora membranacea is an encrusting bryozoan that forms extensive white lacy coverings on algae, often on laminarian kelps. It is native to European waters, and was previously reported as having a broad global anti-tropical distribution in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. However, recent genetic studies indicate that this species is a complex of a number of long-separated clades. The only verified invasion is its introduction from the Northeast Atlantic to the Northwest Atlantic, where it now occurs from Long Island Sound to southern Labrador. It is known primarily from algal beds, but also occurs on ships' hulls, buoys, and fouling panels. It has negative impacts on seaweeds by fouling their surfaces, reducing their rate of photosynthesis and growth, and making them more prone to tearing and breakage during storms.

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Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, Simkanin C, & Carlton JT (2018)
National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System.
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Marine Invasions Lab
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

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