, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 319–327 | Cite as

Large gryphaeid oysters as habitats for numerous sclerobionts: a case study from the northern Red Sea

Original Article


The shell of a living specimen of the Indo-Pacific gryphaeid giant oyster Hyotissa hyotis was colonized by numerous encrusting, boring, nestling and baffling taxa which show characteristic distribution patterns. On the upper valve, sponge-induced bioerosion predominates. On the lower valve intergrowth of chamid bivalves and thick encrusting associations—consisting mostly of squamariacean and corallinacean red algae, acervulinid foraminifera, and scleractinian corals—provides numerous microhabitats for nestling arcid and mytilid bivalves as well as for encrusting bryozoans and serpulids. Such differences between exposed and cryptic surfaces are typical for many marine hard substrata and result from the long-term stable position of the oyster on the seafloor. The cryptic habitats support a species assemblage of crustose algae and foraminifera that, on exposed surfaces, would occur in much deeper water.


Coral reef Bioerosion Encrustation Cryptic habitats Palaeoecology 



Abbas Mansour, Werner Piller and Michael Rasser helped with fieldwork. Thanks are due to Karl Kleemann, Graham Oliver, Michael Rasser and Michael Stachowitsch for helpful discussions. Karl Kleemann and Norbert Vavra assisted with species identifications. The review of Franz T. Fürsich improved the mansuscript. Financial support was provided by FWF project P10715Geo to F.F. Steininger and by project H-140/2000 of the Hochschuljubiläumsstiftung der Stadt Wien to M. Zuschin.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PalaeontologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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