Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

2019 Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski

Bioherms and Biostromes

  • Jacques LaborelEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93806-6_51


Originally coined by Cumings (1932), the word bioherm along with its brother term biostrome have been widely used in reef literature, but their proper stratigraphic definition is often misunderstood.

In the original meaning (Chevalier 1961) a bioherm was defined as a mound or lens-shaped organic build-up, edified by the skeletons of various organisms and lying unconformably inside a stratigraphic series of different lithology. Conversely, a biostrome was a flat, layered reef structure, wide or narrow in shape and causing no stratigraphic disturbance inside its sedimentary environment.


Both words “bioherm” and “biostrome” were obviously coined for fossil build-ups, whose stratigraphic position in the sedimentary sequence can be studied; and they were also commonly used for the description of living or subfossil structures, whether the sedimentary environment of the latter is accessible or not to study.

Definitions vary according to authors: In the Encyclopaedia...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMR DIMARUniversité de la MéditerranéeMarseilleFrance