Red List habitat classification > RL - Marine habitats > RLNEA - Atlantic > NEAA1.15 Fucoids on tide-swept Atlantic littoral rock

Fucoids on tide-swept Atlantic littoral rock

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code NEAA1.15
Threat status
Europe Data Deficient
EU Data Deficient
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)

Summary

This habitat is characterised by fucoid seaweeds in tide-swept conditions on sheltered to extremely sheltered mid-eulittoral to lower eulittoral rocky shores, such as narrow channels in sea lochs and estuaries. It occurs below the band of Fucus spiralis and F. vesiculosus on the shore but above the kelp dominated zone in the sublittoral fringe. The middle shore can be dominated by the wrack Ascophyllum nodosum, while Fucus serratus is dominating the lower shore. The high levels of water movement encourages a rich associated fauna including several filter-feeding groups. In the Macaronesian Islands, Cystoseira spp. are the dominant fucoid.

Indicators of quality:

Both biotic and abiotic indicators have been used to describe marine habitat quality. These include: the presence of characteristic species as well as those which are sensitive to the pressures the habitat may face; water quality parameters; levels of exposure to particular pressure, and more integrated indices which describe habitat structure and function, such as trophic index, or successional stages of development in habitats that have a natural cycle of change over time.

There are no commonly agreed indicators of quality for this habitat, although particular parameters may have been set in certain situations e.g. protected features within Natura 2000 sites, where reference values have been determined and applied on a location-specific basis.  Indicators which have been developed for the assessment of ecological quality of coastal water bodies for the Water Framework Directive (WFD) that are relevant to this habitat include a consideration of macroalgae species richness, proportions of different taxa of algae present, and the abundance and coverage of the rocky surfaces by typical species. 

Characteristic species
For full habitat description, please download the habitat factsheet.

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

Local and/or seasonal factors often exert a substantial influence on intertidal habitats making it difficult to distinguish any long-term trend across the region. This is complicated further because differences between localities are often linked to differences in geographical latitude and, therefore, to differences in climatic traits like temperature and/or ice cover.
Survey information confirms that this habitat has a widespread distribution in the North East Atlantic. It has been studied in detail in some localities however there is insufficient information to determine whether there have been any historical, recent and possible future trends in quantity or quality.
This habitat has a large EOO and AOO, and therefore qualifies as Least Concern under criterion B. However the habitat is assessed as Data Deficient both at the EU 28 and EU 28+ levels because of the lack of information on its extent and trends in quantity and quality.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Data Deficient -
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Data Deficient -

Confidence in the assessment

low
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
  • Biological resource use other than agriculture & forestry
    • Fishing and harvesting aquatic resources
  • Natural System modifications
    • Human induced changes in hydraulic conditions
    • Modification of hydrographic functioning, general

Habitat restoration potential

There is a significant difference in the longevity and recoverability of brown algae that make up the communities associated with this habitat. Ascophyllum nodosum is a slow growing species, with poor recruitment rates that limit recoverability. It has a long life span with individual fronds surviving for 10-15 years. Assemblages originating from a common holdfast are thought capable of living for decades or even longer. If not cut back to the rock A.nodosum can regenerate quickly from the basal portions, the rate depending on how much remains. Annual growth rates of 8-15 cm have been recorded. It is slow to recruit if completely removed from an area with reported recovery times of more than 8 years in Britain and 3 -8 years in Norway. A study on the long term effects of removing the canopy of Ascophyllum nodosum on a sheltered rocky shore in the Isle of Man, reported major effects even after twelve years. This included changes in the understory community which showed no signs of reverting to its pre-disturbance state.
Fucus spp have life spans of the order of 3-4 years and species such as F. vesiculosus and F. serratus recruit readily to cleared areas, especially in the absence of grazers.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Unknown Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Unknown Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

The regulation of the harvesting of algae especially the methods used, location, intensity and frequency is an essential measure to safeguard the marine biotopes associated with this habitat. Controls on activities that change the hydrological regime, such as coast protection works and infilling are also relevant. These measures have been introduced where this habitat occurs both within and outside marine protected areas.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to marine habitats
    • Other marine-related measures
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
  • Measures related to special resouce use
    • Regulating/Managing exploitation of natural resources on sea

Distribution

For each habitat a distribution map was produced from a wide variety of sources indicating known and potential occurrences of the habitat in 10x10 km grids within Europe. Occurrences in grid cells were given in two classes: actual distribution from relatively reliable sources (surveys, expert knowledge), and potential distribution based on models or less reliable indicators. Please download the fact sheet to see the map.

Geographic occurrence and trends

Seas Present or presence uncertain Current area of habitat (Km2) Recent trend in quantity (last 50 years) Recent trend in quality (last 50 years)
Bay of Biscay and the Iberian Coast Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Celtic Seas
Greater North Sea
Kattegat

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 >247,890 >36 unknown Based on a limited data set. AOO is known to be an underestimate.
EU28+ >36 unknown Based on a limited data set. AOO is known to be an underestimate.
AOO = the area occupied by a habitat measured in number of 10x10 km grid cells.
EOO = the area (km2) of the envelope around all occurrences of a habitat (calculated by a minimum convex polygon).

Characteristic species

The full list of characteristic species and genus are available above from the Summary. The species available in the EUNIS database are shown here.
Algae Ascophyllum nodosum
Algae Chondrus crispus
Algae Cladophora rupestris
Algae Cystoseira humilis
Algae Enteromorpha intestinalis
Algae Fucus serratus
Algae Fucus spiralis
Algae Fucus vesiculosus
Algae Gelidium pusillum
Algae Lomentaria articulata
Algae Membranoptera alata
Algae Polysiphonia lanosa
Algae Ulva lactuca
Invertebrates Ascidiella scabra
Invertebrates Carcinus maenas
Invertebrates Clava multicornis
Invertebrates Dendrodoa grossularia
Invertebrates Dynamena pumila
Invertebrates Grantia compressa
Invertebrates Halichondria panicea
Invertebrates Littorina littorea
Invertebrates Nucella lapillus
Invertebrates Patella vulgata
Invertebrates Semibalanus balanoides
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Ascophyllum nodosum Algae
Chondrus crispus Algae
Cladophora rupestris Algae
Cystoseira humilis Algae
Enteromorpha intestinalis Algae
Fucus serratus Algae
Fucus spiralis Algae
Fucus vesiculosus Algae
Gelidium pusillum Algae
Lomentaria articulata Algae
Membranoptera alata Algae
Polysiphonia lanosa Algae
Ulva lactuca Algae
Ascidiella scabra Invertebrates
Carcinus maenas Invertebrates
Clava multicornis Invertebrates
Dendrodoa grossularia Invertebrates
Dynamena pumila Invertebrates
Grantia compressa Invertebrates
Halichondria panicea Invertebrates
Littorina littorea Invertebrates
Nucella lapillus Dog whelk Invertebrates
Patella vulgata Invertebrates
Semibalanus balanoides Invertebrates

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

Not available
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