A bioturbator is an organism that lives either on or in the sediment at the bottom of the ocean. These organisms get their nutrients by moving along or burrowing into the sediment. As they move through the sediment they remove nutrients from the clastic material. If there is an organism in the sediment the bioturbator will devour or destroy the dead organism or topple over living ones as it disturbs the sediment. This is just one of the ways that an organism can be destroyed before being preserved. The processes that affect an organism after death are called taphonomy.

( To learn more about these taphonomic processes return to the HVPM after this tour and click on the Taphonomy section)

One example of a bioturbator that may have lived in this area, if it was oxygenated, is aquatic worms similar to this little terrestrial earthworm (Ctenoscolex procerus Ehlers). This worm was probably thrown into this part of the lagoon by a passing storm or dropped by a flying creature as it flew over the lagoon. Once in there it died and was burried, preserving all the detail of its soft body. If this was an oxygenated area aquatic worms or other bioturbators would have crawled around in the subsurface eating all the organic debris that had settled there, thereby destroying detail (modified from Barthel et. al., 1990).