EUNIS habitat classification 2012 amended 2019 > A - Marine habitats > A6 - Deep-sea bed > A6.6 - Deep-sea bioherms > A6.61 - Communities of deep-sea corals

Communities of deep-sea corals

English name: Communities of deep-sea corals

Description (English)

The only community described is Lophelia pertusa, a cold water, reef-forming coral, which has a wide geographic distribution ranging from 55°S to 70°N, where water temperatures typically remain between 4-8°C. These reefs are generally subject to moderate current velocities (0.5 knots). The majority of records occur in the north-east Atlantic. The extent of L. pertusa reefs varies, with examples off Norway several km long and more than 20 m high. These reefs occur within a depth range of 200 - >2000 m on the continental slope, and in shallower waters in Norwegian fjords and Swedish west coast. In Norwegian waters, L. pertusa reefs occur on the shelf and shelf break off the western and northern parts on local elevations of the sea floor and on the edges of escarpments. The biological diversity of the reef community is approximately three times as high as the surrounding soft sediment (ICES, 2003), suggesting that these cold-water coral reefs may be biodiversity hotspots. Characteristic species include other hard corals, such as Madrepora oculata and Solenosmilia variabilis, the redfish Sebastes viviparous and the squat lobster Munida sarsi. L. pertusa reefs occur on hard substrata; this may be Lophelia rubble from an old colony or on glacial deposits. For this reason, L. pertusa reefs can be associated with iceberg plough-mark zones.

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

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code A6.61
Bern Convention Resolution 4 habitat type (used for designation of Emerald sites)

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Invertebrates Lophelia pertusa
Invertebrates Madrepora oculata
Invertebrates Munida sarsi
Invertebrates Solenosmilia variabilis
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Lophelia pertusa Invertebrates
Madrepora oculata Invertebrates
Munida sarsi Invertebrates
Solenosmilia variabilis Invertebrates

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
Barcelona Convention 199812 V.3.1. Biocenosis of deep sea corals source
CORINE Land Cover 5.2.3. Sea and ocean n/a
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A6.61 Communities of deep-sea corals same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 A5.63 Communities of deep-sea corals same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 A5.61 Deep-sea bioherm dominated by scleractinian coral framework narrower
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 A5.63 Communities of deep-sea corals same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 A5.13 Biocenosis of deep sea corals same
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