, 54:613 | Cite as

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

  • Andrej ErnstEmail author
  • Peter Königshof
Original Article


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.


Reefs Bryozoa Devonian Western Sahara Ecology 



We are very thankful to Caroline Buttler, Cardiff, for language correction and helpful comments on the manuscript and to Wolfgang Reimers, Kiel and Marion Demmel, and Jana Anger, Frankfurt, for their help in preparation of thin sections. We also thank to Patrick Wyse Jackson, Dublin, and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments of the manuscript. The present study was accomplished during project ER 278/4-1 and 2 supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). This paper is a contribution to IGCP 499 (Devonian land-sea interaction: evolution of ecosystems and climate).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Geowissenschaften der Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum SenckenbergFrankfurt am MainGermany

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