Biodiversity & Conservation

Fucus serratus with sponges, ascidians and red seaweeds on tide-swept lower eulittoral mixed substrata

LR.HLR.FT.FserTX


<i>%Fucus serratus%</i> with sponges, ascidians and red seaweeds on tide-swept lower eulittoral mixed substrata
Distribution map

LR.HLR.FT.FserTX recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)


  • UK_BAP

Marine natural heritage importance

Listed under UK Biodiversity Action Plan
National importance Uncommon
Habitat Directive feature (Annex 1) Reefs
Large shallow inlets and bays
Estuaries

Biotope importance

Many of the invertebrate species associated with this biotope will be an important food source for shore birds and waders. Mytilus edulis, for example, is an important food source for oystercatchers and herring gulls and the sand mason Lanice conchilega is part of the diet of wading birds. The toothed wrack Fucus serratus and common mussel Mytilus edulis are both harvested commercially but will probably only occur in small patches within this biotope, it is unlikely that they will be targeted for extraction.

Exploitation

Of the important characterizing and 'other' important species associated with this biotope, only three are known to targeted for extraction, namely toothed wrack Fucus serratus, carrageen Chondrus crispus and the common mussel Mytilus edulis. Fucus serratus is collected, dried and used as a soil additive. Various fucalean algae are used in the production of alginates and these are used widely in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Chondrus crispus is harvested commercially in Ireland, Spain, France, Portugal and North America for the extraction of carrageenan (Guiry & Blunden, 1991). In Ireland, harvesting has generally remained sustainable through pickers developing an intuitive feel for the annual cycle of local stocks and certain practices which involve pulling only the bushy top half of the frond off leaving the base and holdfast behind (Morrissey et al., 2001). The gelling and thickening properties of carrageenan are used widely in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries (see MarLIN review). The common mussel is also collected but there has been a move away from the exploitation of wild stocks to cultivation of this species in Britain (Edwards, 1997).

However, the eulittoral position of this biotope and the fact that the algae and mussels are unlikely to grow in particularly large patches will mean that they are unlikely to be heavily exploited.

Additional information icon Additional information


This review can be cited as follows:

Marshall, C.E. 2006. Fucus serratus with sponges, ascidians and red seaweeds on tide-swept lower eulittoral mixed substrata. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 16/04/2014]. Available from: <http://www.marlin.ac.uk/habitatimportance.php?habitatid=221&code=2004>