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information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Brittlestars on faunal and algal encrusted exposed to moderately wave-exposed circalittoral rock

03-04-2018

Summary

UK and Ireland classification

UK and Ireland classification

Description

This variant is typically found on the upper faces of exposed and moderately wave-exposed circalittoral bedrock, boulders and cobbles subject to moderately strong to weak tidal streams. It is characterized by high densities of brittlestars (predominantly Ophiothrix fragilis, Ophiocomina nigra and Ophiura albida). In fact, they may form such dense beds that the seabed underneath may not be visible. The rocky substratum is usually colonized by species such as encrusting red algae and the white, calcareous tubes of the polychaete Spirobranchus triqueter (syn. Pomatoceros triqueter). Only robust hydroids such as Abietinaria abietina, Alcyonium digitatum and bryozoan crusts such as Parasmittina trispinosa are able to tolerate the significant smothering effect from the dense mat of brittlestars. Other species typically seen include Echinus esculentus, Asterias rubens, Pagurus bernhardus, Anapagurus hyndmanni, Gibbula cineraria, Urticina felina, Pododesmus patelliformis and Ciona intestinalis.

Depth range

10-20 m, 20-30 m, 30-50 m

Additional information

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Sensitivity reviewHow is sensitivity assessed?

Explanation

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Species indicative of sensitivity

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Physical Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Chemical Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Biological Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Additional information

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Citation

This review can be cited as:

De-Bastos, E.S.R. & Hill, J., 2016. Brittlestars on faunal and algal encrusted exposed to moderately wave-exposed circalittoral rock. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 18-06-2018]. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/habitat/detail/1059

Last Updated: 25/01/2016

Tags: brittle-star brittle star