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Marine Habitat Classification


Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Fucus spiralis on full salinity sheltered upper eulittoral rock


Habitat (physical) description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Moderately exposed
Tidal streams
Substratum Bedrock; stable boulders; cobbles
Zone Eulittoral - upper
Depth Band
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 LR.LLR.F.Fspi.FS <I>Fucus spiralis</I> on full salinity sheltered upper eulittoral rock

  • 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

Sheltered upper eulittoral bedrock characterised by a band of the spiral wrack Fucus spiralis overlying the black lichen Verrucaria maura and the olive green lichen Verrucaria mucosa. Underneath the fronds of F. spiralis is a community consisting of the limpet Patella vulgata, the winkles Littorina saxatilis and Littorina littorea and sparse individuals of the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides while the mussel Mytilus edulis can be found attached in cracks and crevices. A variety of red algae including Hildenbrandia rubra may be present underneath the fronds. During the summer months ephemeral green seaweeds such as Enteromorpha intestinalis can be common.

Situation

This zone usually lies below a zone dominated by the wrack Pelvetia canaliculata (PelB; Pel), but occasional clumps of P. canaliculata may be present (usually less than common) amongst the F. spiralis. In areas of extreme shelter, such as in Scottish sea lochs, the P. canaliculata and F. spiralis zones often merge together forming a very narrow band. Fspi occurs above the wracks Ascophyllum nodosum (Asc) and/or Fucus vesiculosus (Fves) zones and these two fucoids may also occur, although F. spiralis always dominates. Vertical surfaces in this zone, especially on moderately exposed shores, often lack the fucoids and are characterised by a barnacle-limpet dominated community (Sem).

Temporal variation

Unknown.

Characterising Species

Taxon Relative importance of taxon for defining this community (%) Typical abundance - SACFOR scale % of core records where taxon was recorded
Semibalanus balanoides 6 Occasional 41-60 %
Patella vulgata 10 Frequent 61-80 %
Littorina littorea 3 Occasional 41-60 %
Littorina saxatilis 11 Occasional 61-80 %
Mytilus edulis 2 Rare 21-40 %
Hildenbrandia rubra 5 Occasional 21-40 %
Fucus spiralis 43 Common 81-100 %
Enteromorpha intestinalis 5 Occasional 41-60 %
Verrucaria maura 4 Frequent 41-60 %
Verrucaria mucosa 3 Frequent 21-40 %

Similar biotopes

LR.LLR.F.Fspi.X
Occurs in fully marine conditions, but on mixed substrata. It has a similar species composition, although amphipods, the crab Carcinus maenas and the whelk Nucella lapillus may occur underneath and/or among the boulders and cobbles. In sheltered areas (behind boulders) A. nodosum can be found.

LR.LLR.FVS.FspiVS
Occurs in sheltered areas with variable salinity. The species diversity is lower and species such as P. vulgata and M. edulis usually absent as well as the lichen Verrucaria maura. The barnacle Elminius modestus can be present.

Biotope history

Classification Habitat code
6.95 LRK.FSP
97.06 SLR.Fspi in part

Photos

LR.LLR.F.Fspi.FS Fucus spiralis on full salinity sheltered upper eulittoral rock, S of Skelbrae, Otters Wick, North Sanday. Sue Scott © JNCC
LR.LLR.F.Fspi.FS Fucus spiralis on full salinity sheltered upper eulittoral rock, S of Skelbrae, Otters Wick, North Sanday. Sue Scott © JNCC
LR.LLR.F.Fspi.FS Fucus spiralis on full salinity sheltered upper eulittoral rock, Long Taing of Newark, South Sanday. Sue Scott © JNCC
LR.LLR.F.Fspi.FS Fucus spiralis on full salinity sheltered upper eulittoral rock, Long Taing of Newark, South Sanday. Sue Scott © JNCC
LR.LLR.F.Fspi.FS Fucus spiralis on full salinity sheltered upper eulittoral rock, NW of Carness, Loch Leven. Teresa Bennett © JNCC
LR.LLR.F.Fspi.FS Fucus spiralis on full salinity sheltered upper eulittoral rock, NW of Carness, Loch Leven. Teresa Bennett © JNCC

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