deepwater coral "reefs"?

Don McAllister mcall at
Fri May 26 19:27:26 EDT 2000

"Alina M. Szmant" wrote:

> "Reef " by definition is a structure that ships can run aground on. Coral reefs are such structures build by hermatypic corals and associated organisms. Deeper 3-D structures built by corals or other organisms (algae, worms, whatever...) are bioherms. I agree we need to stick with correct terminology, and educate the public and press in the process.

Thanks for this enlightenment.

"A dictionary of ecology, evolution and systematics" defines bioherm as:
1) Any organism contributing to the formation of a coral reef
2) A mound-like accumulation of fossil remains on the site where the organisms lived.

The first lines of "Coral Reefs" in the Ecosystems of the World series says,
"Reefs are marine, biogenic, wave-resistant carbonate structures, also known as <hermatypic> , or reef-building organisms."  [The word hermatypic is in italics].

I don't pretend to know the correct word for deepwater corals lacking zooxanthellae.

Don McAllister

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