Biodiversity & Conservation

Corallina officinalis and coralline crusts in shallow eulittoral rockpools.



Image David Connor - Pool in Pelvetia zone Corallina officinalis and coralline crusts (LR.Cor). Image width ca 50 cm.
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Distribution map

LR.LR.Rkp.Cor recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats

Marine natural heritage importance

Listed under EC Habitats Directive
National importance Not available
Habitat Directive feature (Annex 1) Reefs
Large shallow inlets and bays

Biotope importance

Corallina officinalis turf provides substratum for various epiphytes, and supports a diverse, species rich invertebrate community due to its provision of interstices and build up of sediment within its fronds. This community includes harpacticoid copepods, amphipods, ostracods and isopods and the serpulid Spirorbis corallinae, which is rarely found on other algae (Dommasnes, 1968; Crisp & Mwaiseje 1989; Grahame & Hanna 1989; Bamber & Irving, 1993; Hull, 1997).


Corallina officinalis was used in Europe as a vermifuge although it no longer seems to be collected for this purpose (Guiry & Blunden, 1991). Corallina officinalis is collected for medical purposes; the fronds are dried and converted to hydroxyapatite and used as bone forming material (Ewers et al., 1987). It is also sold as a powder for use in the cosmetic industry. A European research proposal for cultivation of Corallina officinalis is pending as of May 2000 (Wiedemann, pers. comm.). Both Chondrus crispus and Mastocarpus stellatus are collected as 'carragheen' by hand picking and racking in Europe (Guiry & Blunden, 1991).

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This review can be cited as follows:

Budd, G.C. 2002. Corallina officinalis and coralline crusts in shallow eulittoral rockpools.. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 29/11/2015]. Available from: <>