|Basic Information||Biotope classification||Ecology||Habitat preferences and distribution||Species composition||Sensitivity||Importance|
Image Christine Howson - Lithothamnion glaciale nodules amongst pebbles with the sunstar Crossaster papposus, Isle of Lewis. Image width ca 20 cm.
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SS.IGS.Mrl.Lgla recorded () and expected () distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)
Temperature range preferences - See additional information.
Water clarity preferences - Very high clarity / Very low turbidity
High clarity / Low turbidity
Medium clarity / Medium turbidity
Limiting Nutrients - Calcium
Other preferences -
Growth of Lithothamnion glaciale is maximal at 10-12 °C (Adey, 1970). Growth of Lithothamnion glaciale is impaired at reduced salinities (Adey, 1970). Distribution of maerl is dependent on several factors. Living maerl has poor tolerance of desiccation and so is typically found subtidally (Hall-Spencer, 1998). As a photosynthetic organism there is a requirement for light which restricts the species to depths shallower than 32 m in the relatively turbid waters of northern Europe (Hall-Spencer, 1998). Some shelter from wave action is required to prevent physical damage, dispersal or burial although some degree of water movement is important to ensure that silt does not smother the maerl bed.
King & Schramm (1982) report that ionic calcium concentration is the main factor affecting growth of maerl in culture experiments rather than salinity per se (although this has not been shown in the field). Uptake of calcium carbonate occurs optimally at 30 psu.
This review can be cited as follows:
Jackson, A. 2006. Lithothamnion glaciale maerl beds in tide-swept variable salinity infralittoral gravel. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 25/04/2014]. Available from: <http://www.marlin.ac.uk/habitatpreferences.php?habitatid=7&code=1997>