Caryophyllia smithii with faunal and algal crusts on moderately wave-exposed circalittoral rock

English name: Caryophyllia smithii with faunal and algal crusts on moderately wave-exposed circalittoral rock

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code A4.2146
Bern Convention Included in a Resolution 4 habitat type at a higher level (A4)

Description (English)

This variant is typically found on the upper and vertical faces of exposed and moderately wave-exposed circalittoral rock, subject to very little water movement. Where this variant is found on slightly more wave-exposed sites, it tends to be found towards the bottom of its depth range. The rocky substratum has a grazed appearance, with encrusting red algae. Diversity of species is very low, possibly due to grazing pressure from the sea urchin Echinus esculentus. From afar, there is little evident epifauna attached to the rocks apart from the white, calcareous tubes of the polychaete Pomatoceros triqueter and the cup-coral Caryophyllia smithii. In addition, bryozoan crusts such as Parasmittina trispinosa are frequently seen. Under closer inspection, a few more species become apparent but few are typically characterising of this particular variant. The echinoderms Antedon bifida, Asterias rubens, Ophiothrix fragilis, Marthasterias glacialis, Ophiocomina nigra and Crossaster papposus are occasionally present. Sparse clumps of hydroids such as Halecium halecinum, Kirchenpaueria pinnata and Nemertesia antennina may be found attached to rocky outcrops or boulders. Small specimens of Alcyonium digitatum may be present. The ascidians Ciona intestinalis, Clavelina lepadiformis and Ascidia mentula also occur in this variant but are found in greater numbers in other biotopes. The top shells Calliostoma zizyphinum, Gibbula cineraria, and the saddle oyster Pododesmus patelliformis may be seen on the rock surface whilst the crab Cancer pagurus may be seen under boulders and in crevices. The anemone Metridium senile may be found under rocky overhangs and on the sides of boulders.
Situation: As A4.2146 occurs on moderately wave-exposed coasts, kelp forests in the infralittoral zone shallower than this variant tend to be dominated by robust kelp species such as Laminaria hyperborea (unit A3.214) and Saccorhiza polyschides. Immediately below A4.2146 (typically bedrock/boulder substratum), sublittoral sediment biotopes such as muddy sands, containing Nephrops norvegicus, Virgularia mirabilis and Funiculina quadrangularis are found. Occasionally, biotopes composed of coarser sand/gravelly material may be present, with species such as Peachea cylindrica and Neopentadactyla mixta. When wave exposure and tidal stream increase, A4.2146 tends to grade into A4.2145.

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Invertebrates Alcyonium digitatum
Invertebrates Antedon bifida
Invertebrates Ascidia mentula
Invertebrates Asterias rubens
Invertebrates Calliostoma zizyphinum
Invertebrates Cancer pagurus
Invertebrates Caryophyllia smithii
Invertebrates Ciona intestinalis
Invertebrates Clavelina lepadiformis
Invertebrates Crossaster papposus
Invertebrates Echinus esculentus
Invertebrates Funiculina quadrangularis
Invertebrates Gibbula cineraria
Invertebrates Kirchenpaueria pinnata
Algae Laminaria hyperborea
Invertebrates Marthasterias glacialis
Invertebrates Metridium senile
Invertebrates Nemertesia antennina
Invertebrates Neopentadactyla mixta
Invertebrates Nephrops norvegicus
Invertebrates Ophiocomina nigra
Invertebrates Ophiothrix fragilis
Invertebrates Parasmittina trispinosa
Invertebrates Pododesmus patelliformis
Invertebrates Pomatoceros triqueter
Algae Saccorhiza polyschides
Invertebrates Virgularia mirabilis
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Alcyonium digitatum Invertebrates
Antedon bifida Invertebrates
Ascidia mentula Invertebrates
Asterias rubens Invertebrates
Calliostoma zizyphinum Invertebrates
Cancer pagurus Invertebrates
Caryophyllia smithii Invertebrates
Ciona intestinalis Invertebrates
Clavelina lepadiformis Invertebrates
Crossaster papposus Invertebrates
Echinus esculentus Invertebrates
Funiculina quadrangularis Invertebrates
Gibbula cineraria Invertebrates
Kirchenpaueria pinnata Invertebrates
Laminaria hyperborea Algae
Marthasterias glacialis Invertebrates
Metridium senile Invertebrates
Nemertesia antennina Invertebrates
Neopentadactyla mixta Invertebrates
Nephrops norvegicus Invertebrates
Ophiocomina nigra Invertebrates
Ophiothrix fragilis Invertebrates
Parasmittina trispinosa Invertebrates
Pododesmus patelliformis Invertebrates
Pomatoceros triqueter Invertebrates
Saccorhiza polyschides Algae
Virgularia mirabilis Invertebrates

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
Marine Habitat Classification Britain/Ireland 0405 CR.MCR.EcCr.FaAlCr.Car <I>Caryophyllia smithii</I> with faunal and algal crusts on moderately wave-exposed circalittoral rock 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 A4.2146 Caryophyllia smithii with faunal and algal crusts on moderately wave-exposed circalittoral rock same
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