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Marine Habitat Classification


Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Coralline crust-dominated shallow eulittoral rockpools


Habitat (physical) description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Very exposed, Exposed, Moderately exposed, Sheltered
Tidal streams
Substratum Bedrock; boulders
Zone Eulittoral, Littoral fringe
Depth Band Mid shore, Upper shore
Other Features Rockpool

Download comparative physical and biological data. The comparative tables enable a rapid comparison of the species composition and principal physical characteristics between a given set of biotopes.

Distribution of habitat LR.FLR.Rkp.Cor Coralline crust-dominated shallow eulittoral rockpools

  • Records used to define the biotope (core records)
  • Other records assigned to this biotope, marked as 'certain'
  • Other records assigned to this biotope, marked as 'uncertain'

Point data based on records in the UK Marine Recorder Snapshot.

Description

Shallow and smaller rockpools throughout the eulittoral zone in a wide range of wave exposures characterised by a covering of encrusting coralline algae on which Corallina officinalis often forms a dense turf. The bottom of these pools can be covered in coarse gravel and cobbles. These 'coralline' pools have a striking appearance as they are dominated by red seaweeds. Foliose red seaweeds found in these pools include Mastocarpus stellatus, Chondrus crispus and the filamentous Ceramium nodulosum. The ephemeral green seaweeds Cladophora rupestris, Ulva lactuca and Enteromorpha spp. can also occur in high abundance. The pools may hold large numbers of grazing molluscs, particularly the winkle Littorina littorea (which often occur in exceptionally high densities in upper shore pools) and the limpet Patella vulgata. Gastropods may graze these pools to such an extent that they is devoid of any foliose red seaweeds, and the flora are reduced to encrusting coralline algae and large numbers of gastropods. Large brown seaweeds are generally absent. Within the pools, pits and crevices are often occupied by the anemone Actinia equina and small individuals of the mussel Mytilus edulis. The whelk Nucella lapillus can be found on the rock surface preying on the barnacles and mussels. A number of variants have been identified. Pools dominated by coralline algae and foliose red seaweeds with a distribution throughout the UK (see Cor.Cor). In Ireland, the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus can dominate these shallow coralline pools (see Cor.Par). In south-west Britain, the brown seaweed Bifurcaria bifurcata (Cor.Bif) or Cystoseira spp. (Cor.Cys) can be regionally dominant.

Situation

Rockpools throughout the eulittoral and lower littoral fringe on rocky shores.

Temporal variation

No temporal variation data available.

Characterising Species

Taxon Relative importance of taxon for defining this community (%) Typical abundance - SACFOR scale % of core records where taxon was recorded
Actinia equina 4 Occasional 41-60 %
Patella vulgata 6 Frequent 41-60 %
Littorina littorea 6 Common 41-60 %
Nucella lapillus 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Mytilus edulis 2 Occasional 21-40 %
Corallinaceae 26 Abundant 81-100 %
Corallina officinalis 23 Common 81-100 %
Chondrus crispus 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Mastocarpus stellatus 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Ceramium nodulosum 2 Frequent 21-40 %
Enteromorpha intestinalis 7 Frequent 41-60 %
Ulva lactuca 3 Occasional 21-40 %
Cladophora 1 Occasional 21-40 %

Similar biotopes

Not applicable or unknown.

Biotope history

Classification Habitat code
96.7 Includes RKP.Gas

Photos

LR.FLR.RKP.Cor Coralline crust-dominated shallow eulittoral rockpools, NE of Idrigill Point, Loch Bracadale, Skye. David Connor © JNCC
LR.FLR.RKP.Cor Coralline crust-dominated shallow eulittoral rockpools, NE of Idrigill Point, Loch Bracadale, Skye. David Connor © JNCC
LR.FLR.RKP.Cor Coralline crust-dominated shallow eulittoral rockpools, Thannaf Point. Keith Hiscock © JNCC
LR.FLR.RKP.Cor Coralline crust-dominated shallow eulittoral rockpools, Thannaf Point. Keith Hiscock © JNCC

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