Mussel and/or barnacle communities

English name: Mussel and/or barnacle communities

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code A1.11
Bern Convention Resolution 4 habitat type (used for designation of Emerald sites)

Description (English)

Communities on very exposed to moderately exposed upper and mid eulittoral bedrock and boulders dominated by the mussel Mytilus edulis (A1.111), barnacles Chthamalus spp. and/or Semibalanus balanoides and limpets Patella spp. (A1.112, A1.113). Several variants are identified. Some shores are characterised by dense bands of the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides and the limpet Patella vulgata (A1.113). The barnacles may be covered by Porphyra umbilicalis on the upper shore of exposed sites. Cracks and crevices in the rock provide a refuge for small individuals of the mussel M. edulis, winkles Littorina saxatilis and the whelk Nucella lapillus. Red seaweeds also frequently occupy damp crevices, particularly Ceramium shuttleworthianum, Corallina officinalis, Osmundea pinnatifida and encrusting coralline algae, but the non-vesiculate form of the wrack Fucus vesiculosus might be present (A1.1132). Large numbers of the winkle Littorina littorea often dominate fields of large boulders or shores with a more mixed substratum (A1.1133). There is much regional variation affecting the zonation of barnacles in the British Isles. In the north-west C. montagui and/or C. stellatus can form a distinct band above S. balanoides. In the south-west C. montagui and/or C. stellatus can be the dominant barnacles throughout the eulittoral zone (A1.1121). On the east coasts S. balanoides is able to extend to the upper shore due to the absence of Chthamalus spp. and thereby any competition. The lichen Lichina pygmaea may be prominent, especially in the south, where it can form distinct patches or even a separate zone among the Chthamalus spp. (A1.1122). In areas of soft rock (e.g. shales), the barnacles may be scarce or absent and the rock dominated by P. vulgata.
Situation: This habitat type is found in the mid to upper eulittoral on very to moderately exposed shores below the lichen dominated biotopes (B3.11) and is typically characterised by patches of mussels M. edulis interspersed with barnacles. Below A1.11 is a community dominated by the wrack Himanthalia elongata and red seaweeds such as C. officinalis, Mastocarpus stellatus and O. pinnatifida (A1.12). With decreasing wave exposure F. vesiculosus is able to survive, gradually replacing the barnacles and P. vulgata biotope (A1.213). On such moderately exposed shores A1.11 may occur on steep and vertical faces, while fucoids dominate the flatter areas (A1.1132, A1.213).

Source:
EUNIS habitat classification
Interpretation Manual of the habitats targeted by Resolution No. 4

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
Marine Habitat Classification Britain/Ireland 0405 LR.HLR.MusB Mussel and/or barnacle communities source
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 200112 11.254 Mussel beds wider
CORINE Land Cover 4.2.3. Intertidal flats n/a
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A1.11 Mytilus edulis and/or barnacle communities same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 A1.21 Mussels and/or barnacles on littoral rock moderately exposed to wave action narrower
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 A1.11 Mussels and/or barnacles on very exposed littoral rock narrower
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 A1.21 Mussels and/or barnacles on littoral rock moderately exposed to wave action narrower
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 A1.11 Mussels and/or barnacles on very exposed littoral rock narrower
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 A1.11 Mussels and barnacles on very exposed littoral rock same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199811 A1.11 Mussel and barnacle communities on very exposed rock same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199712 A1.21 Mussel and barnacle communities on very exposed rock same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 199905 11.254 Part of Mussel beds narrower
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1997 11.254 Part of Mussel beds narrower
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1996 11.254   narrower
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1993 11.254   narrower
CORINE Biotopes Classification 1991 11.254   narrower
MNCR BioMar 97.06 (Britain & Ireland) ELR.MB Mytilus (mussels) and barnacles same
MNCR BioMar 96.7 (Britain & Ireland) ELR.MB   same
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