As is obvious from the above, the origin of detritus is manifold. Because of its overwhelming importance in terms of both quantity and significance for nutrient cycling, mostly plant litter (i.e., detritus of vegetal origin) will be considered here. Detritus of animal origin (necro-mass) should be named carcass or carrion, and animals feeding on such organic matter are necrophagous; this and other potential contributors to the total detrital mass will be briefly discussed below.

Two sources of plant detritus, namely vascular plants and macroalgae, that can be subdivided further, will be considered here. Besides photosynthetically active tissue,

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