Animal Forests of the World: An Overview
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Three dimensional architecture
In the marine benthos, megabenthic communities dominated by sessile suspension feeders (such as sponges, corals, and bivalves) form three-dimensional structures which provide architectural complexity and shelter for several species. These communities are, in part, structurally and functionally similar to the terrestrial forests, with the main difference that they are dominated by animals instead of plants. The term “animal forests” has been introduced to describe these communities, highlighting the structural and functional similarities with their terrestrial counterparts trying to gather, in a single concept, all the three-dimensional alive structures dominated by sessile animals. Among the animal forests, tropical coral reefs, due to their high biodiversity, have been defined as the “rainforests of the sea” and have attracted the interest of scientists all over the world. However, during the last decades, many other animal forests have been subjected to the attention of the scientific ...
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