EUNIS habitat classification 2012 amended 2019 > A - Marine habitats > A2 - Littoral sediment > A2.7 - Littoral biogenic reefs > A2.71 - Littoral Sabellaria reefs > A2.711 - Sabellaria alveolata reefs on sand-abraded eulittoral rock

Sabellaria alveolata reefs on sand-abraded eulittoral rock

English name: Honeycomb worm reefs on sand-abraded eulittoral rock

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code A2.711

Description (English)

Exposed to moderately exposed bedrock and boulders in the eastern basin of the Irish Sea (and as far south as Cornwall) characterised by reefs of the polychaete Sabellaria alveolata. The sand based tubes formed by S. alveolata form large reef-like hummocks, which serve to stabilise the boulders and cobbles. Other species in this biotope include the barnacles Semibalanus balanoides and Elminius modestus and the limpet Patella vulgata, the winkle Littorina littorea, the mussel Mytilus edulis and the whelk Nucella lapillus. The anemone Actinia equina and the crab Carcinus maenas can be present in cracks and crevices on the reef. Low abundance of seaweeds tend to occur in areas of eroded reef. The seaweed diversity can be high and may include the foliose red seaweeds Palmaria palmata, Mastocarpus stellatus, Osmundea pinnatifida, Chondrus crispus and some filamentous species e.g. Polysiphonia spp. and Ceramium spp. Coralline crusts can occur in patches. Wracks such as Fucus vesiculosus, Fucus serratus and the brown seaweed Cladostephus spongiosus may occur along with the ephemeral green seaweeds Enteromorpha intestinalis and Ulva lactuca. On exposed surf beaches in the south-west S. alveolata forms a crust on the rocks, rather than the classic honeycomb reef form, and may be accompanied by the barnacle Balanus perforatus (typically common to abundant). On wave-exposed shores in Ireland, the wrack Himanthalia elongata can also occur.
Situation: Above this unit are biotopes dominated either by ephemeral seaweeds, such as Enteromorpha spp. and Porphyra spp. or the perennial wrack Fucus vesiculosus on mixed substrata (units A1.213; A1.3132; A2.821; A1.452). Rockpool biotopes dominated by the red seaweed Corallina officinalis (unit A1.411), by wracks such as Fucus spp. or by kelp such as Laminaria spp. (A1.412) 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 (units A3.2111; A3.125; A1.45; A3.127). In adjacent sediment areas Lanice conchilega may dominante (A2.245).
Temporal variation: These reefs may be susceptible to storm damage in the winter, although they can regenerate remarkably quickly in a season as long as some adults are left as they facilitate the larval settlement. S. alveolata is tolerant to burial under sand for several weeks. Changes in desiccation over a period of time can cause part of the population to die.

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Algae Ahnfeltia plicata
Algae Chondrus crispus
Algae Cladostephus spongiosus
Algae Corallina officinalis
Algae Enteromorpha intestinalis
Algae Fucus serratus
Algae Fucus vesiculosus
Algae Himanthalia elongata
Algae Laminaria digitata
Algae Mastocarpus stellatus
Algae Osmundea pinnatifida
Algae Palmaria palmata
Algae Polyides rotundus
Algae Ulva lactuca
Invertebrates Actinia equina
Invertebrates Balanus perforatus
Invertebrates Carcinus maenas
Invertebrates Elminius modestus
Invertebrates Lanice conchilega
Invertebrates Littorina littorea
Invertebrates Mytilus edulis
Invertebrates Nucella lapillus
Invertebrates Patella vulgata
Invertebrates Sabellaria alveolata
Invertebrates Semibalanus balanoides
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Ahnfeltia plicata Algae
Chondrus crispus Algae
Cladostephus spongiosus Algae
Corallina officinalis Algae
Enteromorpha intestinalis Algae
Fucus serratus Algae
Fucus vesiculosus Algae
Himanthalia elongata Algae
Laminaria digitata Algae
Mastocarpus stellatus Algae
Osmundea pinnatifida Algae
Palmaria palmata Algae
Polyides rotundus Algae
Ulva lactuca Algae
Actinia equina Invertebrates
Balanus perforatus Invertebrates
Carcinus maenas Invertebrates
Elminius modestus Invertebrates
Lanice conchilega Invertebrates
Littorina littorea Invertebrates
Mytilus edulis Invertebrates
Nucella lapillus Dog whelk Invertebrates
Patella vulgata Invertebrates
Sabellaria alveolata Invertebrates
Semibalanus balanoides Invertebrates

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
Marine Habitat Classification Britain/Ireland 0405 LS.LBR.Sab.Salv <I>Sabellaria alveolata</I> reefs on sand-abraded eulittoral rock source
CORINE Land Cover 4.2.3. Intertidal flats n/a
Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Habitats (UK) 31 Sabellaria alveolata reefs wider
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A2.711 Sabellaria alveolata reefs on sand-abraded eulittoral rock same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 A1.261 Sabellaria alveolata reefs on sand-abraded eulittoral rock same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 A1.261 Sabellaria alveolata reefs on sand-abraded eulittoral rock same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 A1.251 Sabellaria alveolata reefs on sand-abraded eulittoral rock same
MNCR BioMar 97.06 (Britain & Ireland) MLR.Sab.Salv Sabellaria alveolata reefs on sand-abraded eulittoral rock same
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