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

  • EC_Habitats

For a list of 2004 characterising species please see the JNCC website.

Species indicative of sensitivity

To assess the sensitivity of the biotope, the sensitivity of component species is reviewed. Those species that are considered to be particularly indicative of the sensitivity of the biotope, and for which research has been undertaken in detail are shown below (see selection criteria). The biology of other component species of the biotope is also taken into account wherever information is known to the researcher.

Species found especially in this biotope

  • Corallina officinalis
  • Lithophyllum incrustans
Community Importance Species name Common Name
Key structural Corallina officinalis Coral weed
Important characterizing Lithophyllum incrustans Encrusting coralline algae
Important structural Littorina littorea Common periwinkle
Important structural Patella vulgata Common limpet
Important structural Gibbula cineraria Grey top shell
Important structural Hyale prevostii An amphipod


Corallina officinalis is the dominant characterizing species within the biotope and provides substratum and refuges for a diverse epifauna. Therefore, the community is dependant on the presence of Corallina officinalis and it has been included as key structuring. Encrusting coralline algae such as Lithophyllum incrustans are characteristic of the biotope. Gastropods Littorina littorea, Patella vulgata and Gibbula cineraria may graze pools in the eulittoral zone to such an extent that they are devoid of any foliose red algae and are reduced to encrusting coralline algae. They have been included as important structural species. Epiphytic grazers, such as amphipods, isopods small gastropods probably keep the turf free of epiphytic algae and are important structural species. Reference has been made to reviews of Hyale prevostii to represent the sensitivity of amphipods and small crustaceans.

Additional information

The MNCR recorded ca 577 species in 176 records of this biotope, although not all species occurred in all records of the biotope (Connor et al., 1997b; JNCC, 1999).

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 25/11/2015]. Available from: <>