Bottom dwelling animals: Benthos
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The beaches of Goa are predominantly sandy, and occupy about 4000 ha of area along the north-south coastline. An important component of the sandy beaches in Goa re the sand dunes in the supralittoral region. The coastal region includes the intertidal (shore and beach), sub tidal and offshore region. The coastal zone has the highest marine resources, the greatest concentration and diversity of marine life and critical habitats. It also has the most serious threats from the land-based activities. At the bottom/sediment dwelling animal communities are collectively termed as 'BENTHOS'. This extremely valuable component of the marine environment consumes the sediment organic matter from the overlying water column and effectively converts into benthic biomass. Benthos also play a vital role in the marine food cahin and in the recycling of essential lifesustaining elements like carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in the marine ecosystem. Besides, benthos are considered the best indicators of environmental stress or aquatic pollution and some of the macrobenthic invertebrates are widely used in 'biomonitoring programmes' both as surveillance and compliance in order to assess the health of environment.
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