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Many marine invertebrates that inhabit coral reefs excavate the coral substrate in order to create protective domiciles. In turn, the organisms comprising the coral-reef community display a pronounced biotic zonation that can be closely correlated to bathymetry. This study considers the distribution of these endolithic organisms covering a variety of reef habitats. Vast differences in the major environmental parameters have a profound effect upon the distribution patterns of macroboring organisms and govern the boring morphologies. Of these parameters,
hydraulic energy has the strongest influences on the morphotypes and distributions of the macroborings. An equivalent macroboring assemblage dominated by sponges and bivalves prevails in both the shallow back-reef zone and the deep fore-reef zone, both of which are low-energy settings. Boring assemblages in more turbulent zones within the reef consist of polychaete and sipunculid worms, sea urchins, and barnacles, with sponges and bivalves less dominant and less abundant. Other environmental factors which may be important locally include: nutrient availability, photic energy, sediment size and sedimentation rate, competition for substrate, and predation pressure upon the live coral tissue. Shape parameters for different boring types are provided as a means of identification and as an ndication of the environmental control upon boring shape. An understanding of the variability of boring types with respect to the ambient environment within modern reefs facilitates the use of borings as paleoenvironmental indicators within Cenozoic carbonate systems.
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