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Among bryozoans, trepostomes and cystoporates participated extensively in reef envi¬ronments during the early Paleozoic, fenestrates in the late Paleozoic, and cheilostomes during the Cenozoic (including Holocene). Bryozoans occur most commonly in patch reefs and biohermal banks.

Bryozoans fill various roles in reefs and bioherms. Alone or with other organisms, bryozoans are the principal frame builders in some reefs, mostly Paleozoic. More importantly, Cenozoic reefal bryozoans function as hidden encrusters, cavity dwellers, cavity fillers, and, occasionally, as dead-reef veneerers. In some bioherms, bryozoans serve as sediment binders, stabilizers, and trappers. Throughout their history, reefal bryozoans—alone or in concert with other organisms—have acted as major sediment formers.

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