Red List habitat classification > RL - Marine habitats > RLNEA - Atlantic > NEAA1.24 Macaronesian communities of eulittoral rock moderately exposed to wave action

Macaronesian communities of eulittoral rock moderately exposed to wave action

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code NEAA1.24
Threat status
Europe Vulnerable
EU Vulnerable
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)


This intertidal habitat occurs on rocky shores in areas moderately exposed to wave action. It is found throughout Macaronesia in the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands. The associated biotopes develop in response to the combined effects of little wave action, variations in atmospheric pressure, wind and tide and typically include turf forming macroalgae biotopes.

In Azores, this habitat is represented by a proposed new biotope A1.2X_PT01 Rhodymenia pseudopalmata in association with Gigartina acicularis on moderately exposed to sheltered lower eulittoral. In the case of the southern Macaronesian archipelagos, a more diverse sub-set of habitats are recognised in the eulittoral platforms.  

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.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

This habitat occurs in moderately exposed parts of the rocky littoral zone of the Macaronesian islands. Such areas are particularly vulnerable to loss and degradation as a result of coastal development and poor water quality because they have been the focus for settlement, ports and other coastal services. Although there is insufficient information to determine historical trends it is considered likely that the habitat may suffer a fairly substantial decline in quality in the future. Expert opinion is that it should be assessed as Vulnerable for both the EU 28 and EU 28+.
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Vulnerable C/D2
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Vulnerable C/D2

Confidence in the assessment

Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
    • Discharges
  • Pollution
    • Pollution to surface waters (limnic, terrestrial, marine & brackish)
    • Nutrient enrichment (N, P, organic matter)
    • Marine water pollution
  • Invasive, other problematic species and genes
    • Invasive non-native species

Habitat restoration potential


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

This habitat is included within some Marine Protected Areas where there are associated management measures, regulations and codes of conduct although not necessarily targeting this specific habitat. Regulation of coastal development, improved management of discharges to the marine environment and controls on the potential introduction of invasive species are other measures that could benefit this habitat.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring/Improving water quality
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Other marine-related measures
    • Establish protected areas/sites
  • Measures related to urban areas, industry, energy and transport
    • Urban and industrial waste management
    • Managing marine traffic


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)
Macaronesia Present Unknown Unknown Unknown

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 554,339 75 Unknown EOO and AOO have been calculated on the available data. Although this data set is known to be incomplete the figures exceed the thresholds for threatened status.
EU28+ 75 Unknown This habitat does not occur outside the EU28
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 Alsidium corallinum
Algae Caulacanthus ustulatus
Algae Gelidium pusillum
Algae Hincksia mitchelliae
Algae Rhodymenia pseudopalmata
Invertebrates Chthamalus stellatus
Invertebrates Digenea simplex
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Alsidium corallinum Algae
Caulacanthus ustulatus Algae
Gelidium pusillum Algae
Hincksia mitchelliae Algae
Rhodymenia pseudopalmata Algae
Chthamalus stellatus Invertebrates
Digenea simplex Invertebrates

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

Not available
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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