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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

To understand more about what this page is describing, see How to use the classification. See also How to cite.

   Coral reefs

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure
Tidal streams Moderately strong (1-3 kn), Weak (>1 kn)
Substratum Fine silt with occasional small cobbles or stones.
Zone Circalittoral - lower
Depth Band 50-100 m, 100-200 m
Other Features

Biotope origin

Derived using data from Video
Faunal group Epifauna

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 SS.SBR.Crl Coral reefs

  • 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'
  • Predicted extent of the level 3 (for sublittoral rock & deep sea) or 4 (for sublittoral sediment) habitat

Point data based on records in the UK Marine Recorder Snapshot. Predicted habitat extent is from UKSeaMap.


The coral reef structures in UK waters are found in cold (4-13°C), largely aphotic waters, generally along the shelf edge and in offshore waters down to 2000m. In the north east Atlantic, Lophelia pertusa is the dominant colonial coral and is the characterising species of the biotope described under this biotope complex. Lophelia and its deep-water allies lack the symbiotic algae of their tropical relatives, so can live in the permanent darkness of the deep sea. These corals form colonies and can aggregate into patches and banks which may be described as reefs. These deep-sea corals can support and shelter hundreds of other species, including sponges, polychaete worms, echinoderms (starfish, sea urchins, brittle stars) and bryozoans (sea mats). Some 200-300 species can be found in these coral habitats, a number comparable to that found in other important deep-water habitats. Unlike tropical coral reef systems, they are dominated by only a few hard-coral species, and there are far fewer fish species.


No situation data available.

Temporal variation

No temporal data available.

Characterising species

Characterising species data not applicable.

Similar biotopes or habitat types

Not applicable or unknown.

Classification history of this biotope or habitat type

Classification version Code Habitat name
2015 (15.03) SS.SBR.Crl Coral reefs
2004 (04.05) SS.SBR.Crl Coral reefs

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