Abstract

Sabellariid worms build extensive reefs along tropical and subtropical beaches. Detailed study of a system of reefs built by Phragmatopoma lapidosa along the lower East Florida coast demonstrates the ability of the worms to thrive in the breaker zone and to extend their colonial tube upward and seaward by agglutination of littoral sediment. Beachrock converted from the reefs and impoundment of sediment on their landward side provide for progradation of the beach. These organisms may have been instrumental in the construction and preservation of beaches in the geologic past.

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