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Marine Habitat Classification


3 results for 'CR.MCR.EcCr.CarSp'

   CR.MCR.EcCr.CarSp  Caryophyllia smithii, sponges and crustose communities on wave-exposed circalittoral rock

This biotope typically occurs on the upper and vertical faces of wave-exposed, moderately strong to weakly tide-swept, circalittoral bedrock or boulders, with a water depth range of 20-30m. This often silty biotope has a typically sparse fauna, appearing grazed, and is characterised by common cup corals Caryophyllia smithii, frequent Alcyonium digitatum and occasional urchins Echinus esculentus. There may be occasional large growths of the sponge Cliona celata, Haliclona viscosa, Pachymatisma johnstonia and the axinellid sponge Stelligera stuposa. Echinoderms form a prominent feature of the fauna within this biotope, with species such as Marthasterias glacialis, Asterias rubens, Luidia ciliaris, Henricia oculata, Holothuria (Panningothuria) forskali, Antedon bifida and Aslia lefevrei present. Bryozoan crusts such as Parasmittina trispinosa and encrusting red algae cover the rock/boulder surface. The bryozoan Porella compressa may also be recorded occasionally. Isolated clumps of hydroids feature species such as Nemertesia antennina, Nemertesia ramosa, Abietinaria abietina, Halecium halecinum and Sertularella gayi. Other species observed include the anemone Corynactis viridis, Urticina felina, Cylista elegans, Calliostoma zizyphinum, Balanus crenatus and Spirobranchus triqueter. Two variants within this biotope have been distinguished: CarSp.PenPcom and CarSp.Bri. While CarSp.PenPcom tends to have the bryozoans Pentapora foliacea and P. compressa, while CarSp.Bri features a dynamic community of brittlestars covering the seabed in a dense mat. Ophiothrix fragilis is usually the dominant species in shallow water but tends to be replaced by Ophiocomina nigra in deeper water.

   CR.MCR.EcCr.CarSp.Bri  Brittlestars overlying coralline crusts, Parasmittina trispinosa and Caryophyllia smithii on wave-exposed circalittoral rock

This variant is typically found on the upper faces of wave-exposed circalittoral bedrock or boulders subject to moderately strong to weak tidal streams, on open coasts. However, the depth at which the variant occurs means that wave action is not so severe on the seabed as to displace the dense mat of brittlestars that covers the seabed. Ophiothrix fragilis is usually the most dominant species in shallow water, with Ophiocomina nigra usually found amongst them, but sometimes becoming the dominant species in deeper water. Although brittlestar biotopes are typically species-poor, the underlying fauna in this variant is relatively diverse and resembles that of CarSp.PenPcom. Species such as the anemone Urticina felina, the cup coral Caryophyllia smithii, and the anemone Corynactis viridis may occasionally be present. There may also be sparse clumps of various hydroids including Halecium halecinum, Nemertesia antennina, Nemertesia ramosa, Sertularella gayi and Abietinaria abietina. Soft coral Alcyonium digitatum is occasionally present and there may be sparse specimens of the sponges Cliona celata and Polymastia boletiformis. In addition, various echinoderms such as Asterias rubens, Antedon bifida, Echinus esculentus, Henricia oculata, Marthasterias glacialis and Luidia ciliaris may be observed. The barnacle Balanus crenatus and the polychaete Spirobranchus triqueter may be seen attached to any available space on the bedrock and boulders not smothered by brittlestars. Bryozoan crusts such as Parasmittina trispinosa may also be present.

   CR.MCR.EcCr.CarSp.PenPcom  Caryophyllia smithii and sponges with Pentapora foliacea, Porella compressa and crustose communities on wave-exposed circalittoral rock

This variant is typically found on the upper faces and vertical sides of wave-exposed bedrock or boulders subject to moderately strong to weak tidal streams. The fauna is often sparse with the frequently observed Echinus esculentus giving it a grazed appearance, but the community may also be affected by violent storm action working into deep water during winter storms. Despite this spartan appearance, the community is relatively diverse and contains a wide range of sponges, hydroids, bryozoans and echinoderms. This variant is found on open coasts or offshore, and is characterised by the cup-coral Caryophyllia smithii, Alcyonium digitatum, the sea urchin Echinus esculentus, large specimens of the sponge Cliona celata, encrusting bryozoans and encrusting red algae. Although this variant tends to occur in deep water (depth range of 20-30m), a high degree of water clarity allows some red algae to grow at these depths. Other species recorded include large specimens of Haliclona viscosa, the bryozoans Parasmittina trispinosa, Porella compressa and Pentapora foliacea, the sea cucumbers Holothuria (Panningothuria) forskali and Aslia lefevrei and sparse hydroids such as Abietinaria abietina, Nemertesia antennina, Nemertesia ramosa and Halecium halecinum. Anemones such as Corynactis viridis, Cylista elegans and Urticina felina are also frequently seen. Various other species characteristic of wave-exposed rock include the sponges Pachymatisma johnstonia, Stelligera stuposa, the starfish Luidia ciliaris, Marthasterias glacialis, Asterias rubens, Henricia oculata, the crinoid Antedon bifida, the barnacle Balanus crenatus, the top shell Calliostoma zizyphinum and the polychaete Spirobranchus triqueter. The majority of the records within this variant originate from the west coast of Ireland.
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