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Serpulid Reef (Biotic Group)

Component: Biotic

Unique Identifier: 590

Biotic Setting Benthic/Attached Biota
Biotic Class Reef Biota
Biotic Subclass Worm Reef Biota
Biotic Group Serpulid Reef
Biotic Community Serpula vermicularis Reef

Definition Areas dominated by mound-like, bush-like, or patchy growths of living Serpulid worms that have secreted tubes of calcium carbonate to form complex aggregated structures. Serpulid worms can be distinguished from Sabellariid worms (see above) by the presence of a hard operculum that seals the hard, shell-like Serpulid tube. Living Serpulid reefs are extremely rare in U.S. coastal waters, but recently extinct Serpulid reef structures do occur, e.g., in certain Gulf of Mexico embayments. If no living Serpulid worms are present and the reef is extinct, it is classified in CMECS as Substrate (see Section 7.4.2). Living Serpulid reefs are, however, found in other parts of the world, and are considered valuable structure-forming habitat.