Circalittoral coral reefs

English name: Circalittoral coral reefs

Description (English)

The coral reef structures in UK waters are found in cold, largely aphotic waters, generally along the shelf edge and in offshore waters down to 2000 m. In the north east Atlantic, Lophelia pertusa is the dominant colonial coral and is the characterising species of the biotope described under this habitat type. Lophelia and its deep-water allies lack the symbiotic algae of their tropical relatives, so can live in the permanent darkness of the deep sea. These corals form colonies and can aggregate into patches and banks which may be described as reefs. These deep-sea corals can support and shelter hundreds of other species, including sponges, polychaete worms, echinoderms (starfish, sea urchins, brittle stars) and bryozoans (sea mats). Some 200-300 species can be found in one of these coral habitats, a number comparable to that found in other important deep-water habitats. Unlike tropical coral reef systems, they are dominated by only a few hard-coral species, and there are far fewer fish species.

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code A5.63
Bern Convention Included in a Resolution 4 habitat type at a higher level (A5)

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Invertebrates Lophelia pertusa
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Lophelia pertusa Invertebrates

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
Marine Habitat Classification Britain/Ireland 0405 SS.SBR.Crl Coral reefs source
CORINE Land Cover 5.2.3. Sea and ocean n/a
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types


Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A5.63 Circalittoral coral reefs same
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