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Marine Habitat Classification


Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Littoral Sabellaria honeycomb worm reefs


Habitat (physical) description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Exposed, Moderately exposed
Tidal streams
Substratum Boulders; cobbles; pebbles; sand; bedrock
Zone Eulittoral - lower, Eulittoral - mid
Depth Band Lower shore, Mid shore
Other Features

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 LS.LBR.Sab Littoral <I>Sabellaria</I> honeycomb worm 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'

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

Description

The sedentary polychaete Sabellaria alveolata (honeycomb worm) builds tubes from sand and shell. On exposed shores, where there is a plentiful supply of sediment, S. alveolata can form honeycomb reefs on boulders and low-lying bedrock on the mid to lower shore. These S. alveolata reefs are quite distinct from the mosaic of seaweeds and barnacles or red seaweeds (FK; MB) generally associated with moderately exposed rocky shores though many of the same species are present. These include the anemone Actinia equina, the barnacles Semibalanus balanoides and Elminius modestus, the limpet Patella vulgata, the top shell Gibbula cineraria and the winkle Littorina littorea. The whelk Nucella lappilus and the mussel Mytilus edulis is also present on the boulders whereas the polychaete Lanice conchilega is restricted to the associated sediment areas. Scour resistent red seaweeds including Palmaria palmata, Corallina ifficinalis, Mastocarpus stellatus, Chondrus crispus, Ceramium nodulosum, Osmundea pinnatifida, Polysiphonia spp. and coralline crusts can also be present where suitable substrata exsist. Brown and green seaweeds also present include Fucus serratus, Fucus vesioculosus, Cladostephus spongiosus, Enteromorpha intestinalis and Ulva lactuca.

Situation

Above Salv are biotopes dominated either by ephemeral seaweeds, such as Enteromorpha spp. and Porphyra spp. or the perennial wrack Fucus vesiculosus on mixed substrata (FvesB; Fves.X; EphX; EntPor). Rockpool biotopes dominated by the red seaweed Corallina officinalis (Cor), by wracks such as Fucus spp. or by kelp such as Laminaria spp. (FK) can usually be found above this biotope. Beneath this biotope is a community consisting of mixed scour-tolerant like the kelp Laminaria digitata and opportunistic foliose red seaweeds such as Polyides rotundus and Ahnfeltia plicata (Ldig.Ldig; XKScrR; EphR; PolAhn).

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 2 Occasional 41-60 %
Sabellaria alveolata 24 Common 81-100 %
Lanice conchilega 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Elminius modestus 2 Occasional 21-40 %
Semibalanus balanoides 8 Frequent 61-80 %
Carcinus maenas 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Gibbula cineraria 1 Rare 21-40 %
Patella vulgata 5 Occasional 61-80 %
Littorina littorea 6 Frequent 61-80 %
Nucella lapillus 7 Frequent 61-80 %
Mytilus edulis 3 Occasional 41-60 %
Palmaria palmata 2 Occasional 41-60 %
Corallinaceae 3 Frequent 41-60 %
Corallina officinalis 2 Occasional 41-60 %
Chondrus crispus 2 Occasional 41-60 %
Mastocarpus stellatus 2 Occasional 41-60 %
Ceramium nodulosum 2 Occasional 41-60 %
Osmundea pinnatifida 2 Frequent 41-60 %
Polysiphonia 2 Occasional 21-40 %
Cladostephus spongiosus 2 Occasional 41-60 %
Fucus serratus 5 Frequent 61-80 %
Fucus vesiculosus 2 Occasional 21-40 %
Enteromorpha intestinalis 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Ulva lactuca 4 Occasional 61-80 %

Similar biotopes

Not applicable or unknown.

Photos

LR.MLR.SAB Littoral Sabellaria honeycomb worm reefs, Seascale (Whitriggs Scar). Keith Hiscock © JNCC
LR.MLR.SAB Littoral Sabellaria honeycomb worm reefs, Seascale (Whitriggs Scar). Keith Hiscock © JNCC
LR.MLR.SAB Littoral Sabellaria honeycomb worm reefs, Unspecified location. Rohan Holt © JNCC
LR.MLR.SAB Littoral Sabellaria honeycomb worm reefs, Unspecified location. Rohan Holt © JNCC
LR.MLR.SAB Littoral Sabellaria honeycomb worm reefs, Tarn Bay, Ravenglass. Roger Covey © JNCC
LR.MLR.SAB Littoral Sabellaria honeycomb worm reefs, Tarn Bay, Ravenglass. Roger Covey © JNCC

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