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Advanced undergraduate and graduate text giving an overview of what is known about the structure and organisation of the assemblages of organisms that live on the sea floor. The book is organized into three parts. The first eight chapters explore general processes that generate pattern in benthic communities. These introductory chapters examine how physical and biological forces interacting with historical and genetic constraints operate to structure marine communities. The middle part examines the ecology of specific marine benthic community types, ranging from rocky shores and soft substrate habitats to seagrass beds and coral reefs. These chapters are intended to be the most up-to-date summaries available of our understanding of these communities. The book closes with three chapters examining conservation and management issues of marine communities. These closing chapters emphasize how pervasively benthic marine communities are impacted by humans and outline how we can use our understanding of these systems to manage marine populations and communities and to design marine reserves.