, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 613-620

The role of bryozoans in fossil reefs—an example from the Middle Devonian of the Western Sahara

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Abstract

Stenolaemate bryozoans with their stable calcitic skeletons play a significant role in reef building. In the Middle Devonian Sabkhat Lafayrina reef complex (Western Sahara), bryozoans are abundant and diverse. Although they do not form part of the principal framework of reefs, bryozoans are involved significantly in reef growth, especially in the initial stage. In this way, bryozoans are important with respect to initiating reef growth. They contribute greatly to sediment stabilization, making it possible for principal reef builders to grow on hardened and stabilized substrates, and also play sediment-baffling and sediment-filling roles. The aim of this study is to document the diversity of bryozoans in a Middle Devonian reef complex and to estimate their potential for initiation and contribution to reef structures.