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Marine Habitat Classification


Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Coralline crusts and Corallina officinalis in shallow eulittoral rockpools


Habitat (physical) description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Very exposed, Exposed, Moderately exposed, Sheltered
Tidal streams
Substratum Bedrock
Zone Eulittoral - mid, Eulittoral - upper
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.Cor Coralline crusts and <I>Corallina officinalis</I> in 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 occurs in exceptionally high densities in upper shore pools), the limpet Patella vulgata and top shell Gibbula cineraria. 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, while the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides can be found on the rock surface. The whelk Nucella lapillus can be found on the rock surface preying on the barnacles and mussels.

Situation

Rockpools throughout the eulittoral and lower littoral fringe rocky shores.

Temporal variation

The ephemeral green seaweeds Enteromorpha intestinalis and Ulva lactuca can occur during the summer.

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 %
Semibalanus balanoides 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Patella vulgata 7 Frequent 41-60 %
Littorina littorea 7 Common 41-60 %
Nucella lapillus 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Mytilus edulis 3 Occasional 21-40 %
Corallinaceae 27 Abundant 81-100 %
Corallina officinalis 24 Common 81-100 %
Chondrus crispus 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Mastocarpus stellatus 2 Occasional 21-40 %
Ceramium nodulosum 7 Frequent 41-60 %
Ulva lactuca 2 Occasional 21-40 %
Cladophora 1 Occasional 21-40 %

Similar biotopes

LR.FLR.Rkp.Cor.Par
Occurs in similar physical conditions though mostly on exposed to very exposed shores (and it is only reported from Ireland). It has a higher species richness and is dominated by P. lividus though the anemone Anemonia viridis can also be present.

LR.FLR.Rkp.Cor.Bif
Occurs in similar physical conditions. The brown seaweed Bifurcaria bifurcata dominates this biotope. The diversity of red seaweeds is higher and includes species such as Palmaria palmata and Gastroclonium ovatum.

LR.FLR.Rkp.Cor.Cys
Occurs in similar physical conditions. The brown seaweed Cystoseira spp. dominates, and species such as Scytosiphon lomentaria, Laminaria digitata and Laminaria hyperborea are usually present (Rare to Occasional ).

LR.FLR.Rkp.G
Similar sized pools in the littoral fringe generally lack the encrusting coralline algae and are characterised by green seaweeds such as Enteromorpha intestinalis.

Biotope history

Classification Habitat code
97.06 LR.Cor

Photos

LR.FLR.RKP.Cor.Cor Coralline crusts and Corallina officinalis in shallow eulittoral rockpools, S of St. Abbs harbour, St. Abbs Head. Jon Davies © JNCC
LR.FLR.RKP.Cor.Cor Coralline crusts and Corallina officinalis in shallow eulittoral rockpools, S of St. Abbs harbour, St. Abbs Head. Jon Davies © JNCC
LR.FLR.RKP.Cor.Cor Coralline crusts and Corallina officinalis in shallow eulittoral rockpools, N of Hunt Cliff, Saltburn. Paul Brazier © JNCC
LR.FLR.RKP.Cor.Cor Coralline crusts and Corallina officinalis in shallow eulittoral rockpools, N of Hunt Cliff, Saltburn. Paul Brazier © JNCC

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