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Marine Habitat Classification


Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Cushion sponges and hydroids on turbid tide-swept variable salinity sheltered circalittoral rock


Habitat (physical) description

Salinity Variable (18-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Sheltered, Very sheltered, Extremely sheltered
Tidal streams Strong (3-6 kn), Moderately strong (1-3 kn)
Substratum Bedrock
Zone Circalittoral
Depth Band 0-5 m, 5-10 m, 10-20 m
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 CR.MCR.CFaVS.CuSpH.VS Cushion sponges and hydroids on turbid tide-swept variable salinity sheltered circalittoral 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'
  • 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.

Description

This sub-biotope typically occurs in turbid, variable salinity water, on wave-sheltered bedrock in estuaries subject to strong tidal regimes where circalittoral communities occur in relatively shallow water (typically 5m to 8m water depth). Cushion sponges, hydroids and ascidians dominate the biotope. Large growths (often up to 50cm across) of the sponges Halichondria panicea mixed with Halichondria bowerbanki almost entirely cover the bedrock, appearing in places like a continuous cushion. Haliclona oculata, Suberites ficus, Leucosolenia botryoides, various hydroids such as Plumularia setacea, Nemertesia antennina, Nemertesia ramosa and various bryozoans such as Bugula plumosa, Bugula turbinata and Bowerbankia pustulosa protude through the Halichondria spp. sponge growth. Colonial ascidians such as the lightbulb ascidian Clavelina lepadiformis and Morchellium argus may also be observed. Other more ubiquitous species include Balanus crenatus, Carcinus maenas, Asterias rubens, Metridium senile, Sagartia elegans and Ophiothrix fragilis.

Situation

No situation data available.

Temporal variation

Not known.

Characterising Species

Taxon Relative importance of taxon for defining this community (%) Typical abundance - SACFOR scale % of core records where taxon was recorded
Leucosolenia botryoides 3 Frequent 21-40 %
Suberites ficus 7 Occasional 61-80 %
Halichondria bowerbanki 4 Frequent 21-40 %
Halichondria panicea 10 Frequent 61-80 %
Hymeniacidon perleve 11 Frequent 61-80 %
Haliclona oculata 1 Occasional 1-20 %
Nemertesia antennina 3 Frequent 21-40 %
Nemertesia ramosa 2 Frequent 21-40 %
Plumularia setacea 4 Frequent 41-60 %
Metridium senile 3 Occasional 21-40 %
Sagartia troglodytes 2 Occasional 21-40 %
Balanus crenatus 10 Common 41-60 %
Carcinus maenas 5 Occasional 41-60 %
Bowerbankia pustulosa 1 Frequent 21-40 %
Bugula plumosa 3 Occasional 41-60 %
Bugula turbinata 1 Common 21-40 %
Asterias rubens 4 Occasional 41-60 %
Ophiothrix fragilis 1 Occasional 21-40 %
Clavelina lepadiformis 10 Frequent 61-80 %
Morchellium argus 1 Occasional 21-40 %

Similar biotopes

CR.MCR.CFaVS.CuSpH.As
This sub-biotope occurs in more marine conditions in the outer parts of estuaries. A diverse range of cushion sponges and hydroids are present, unlike CuSp.VS, together with a number of colonial or small solitary ascidians.

CR.MCR.CFaVS.HbowEud
This biotope occurs in variable saline sheltered circalittoral mixed substratum, subject to varying tidal streams. Similar species range to CuSp.VS although lacks hydroids such as Eudendrium spp.

Photos

CR.MCR.CFaVS.CuSpH.VS Cushion sponges and hydroids on turbid tide-swept variable salinity sheltered circalittoral rock, Dockyard Bank. Sue Hiscock © JNCC
CR.MCR.CFaVS.CuSpH.VS Cushion sponges and hydroids on turbid tide-swept variable salinity sheltered circalittoral rock, Dockyard Bank. Sue Hiscock © JNCC

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