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

Coralline crusts and Paracentrotus lividus in shallow eulittoral rockpools



UK and Ireland classification

UK and Ireland classification


Shallow and relatively smal rockpools throughout the eulittoral zone on very exposed to exposed shores, characterized by a covering of encrusting coralline algae on which Corallina officinalis forms a dense turf. The bottom of these pools can be covered in coarse gravel and cobbles. In south and west Ireland these coralline pools may be dominated by the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus and the seaweed diversity is generally low due to the grazing pressure of Paracentrotus lividus, the top shells Gibbula cineraria and Gibbula umbilicalis, and winkles such as Littorina littorea. Within the pools, pits and crevices are often occupied by the anemone such as Actinia equina and Anemonia viridis and small individuals of the mussel Mytilus edulis. The siphonous green seaweed Codium spp. can also be present along with the wrack Himanthalia elongata and the brown seaweed Leathesia difformis and the filamentous red seaweed Ceramium spp. The barnacle Semibalanus balanoides is either absent or occurs at low abundance in these rockpools, presumably due to the grazing pressure on the larval stage and the predation pressure from the whelk Nucella lapillus. Soft bedrock, such as limestone, allows P.aracentrous lividus to bore into the rock (JNCC, 2015)

Depth range

Upper shore, Mid shore, Lower shore

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Sensitivity reviewHow is sensitivity assessed?



Species indicative of sensitivity


Physical Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Chemical Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Biological Pressures

No sensitivity data available

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This review can be cited as:

Tillin, H.M. 2016. Coralline crusts and [Paracentrotus lividus] in shallow eulittoral rockpools. 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:

Last Updated: 04/01/2016