Expedition to Mt. Auburn

Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is renowned as an urban wildlife habitat.  Though it is especially famous for its birds, this summer an aquatic species has attracted attention.  A spectacular bloom of bryozoan Pectinatella magnifica is now in progress in Willow Pond.  Librarian Mary Sears joined graduate students from Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology and Prof. Abigail Smith of the University of Otago for a freshwater bryozoan expedition on July 8, 2017.  The group observed many colonies of P. magnifica anchored to sticks close to the shore, while others appeared as floating islands, resembling large bubbles.  Bryozoans, or "moss animals" are primarily found in salt water, but a few species, such as P. magnifica, grow in freshwater ponds, pools, etc.  Although the colonies can grow to 2 ft in diameter, each is composed of thousands of individual zooids, visible under magnification. Visit the Encyclopedia of Life for more information on Pectinatella magnifica.