Larvae of the marine cheilostomatid bryozoan Bugula neritina (L.) were prevented from settling for 1, 4 and 8 h by mechanical agitation, following which settlement and metamorphosis success were examined. Settlement rates were significantly affected by swimming time, which decreased from 100% after 2 h to 93.7 ± 4.3% after 8 h. Similarly, metamorphosis to the feeding ancestrula was significantly impaired following a swimming time of 8 h, declining from 93.7 ± 4.3% after 1 h to 65.9 ± 7.0% after 8 h. The resultant colonies grew well for the first 3 wk, following which time, growth patterns became erratic. Growth rate was in all cases highly variable, and did not correlate with enforced swimming times. Larval protein composition was examined after 1, 4 and 8 h swimming time, and post-larval composition 1, 2, 5, 24 and 48 h after settlement using sodium-dodecyl-sulphate polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Individual protein content was measured using a densitometer. Larvae did not consume protein during swimming, however a protein measuring 170 kdaltons was consumed during metamorphosis. These results are discussed in the context of larval settlement and energetics.