|Marine Benthic Communities play an important role in nutrient recycling.
|Interaction of nutrients and other gases
between the benthos and other organisms in the water column
The conditions of benthic organisms, especially the burrowing forms (infauna), are sessile and therefore, indicative of time-integrated effects of various kinds of environmental stress. Since relatively sessile, the status of well being of Marine Benthic Communities can be used to reflect environmental conditions, e.g., eutrophication, or effects of man-made perturbations, e.g., dredging operations.
Soft sediments support a wide range of community types and standing crops, and have long been recognized as valuable feeding areas as they are major food source for demersal fisheries.
Some of the benthic species are unique and of particular conservation value. The cephalochordate Branchiostoma belcheri (Amphioxidae) found in sandy seabed in Hong Kong, for example, is regarded as a living fossil link in the evolution of marine invertebrates to vertebrates.