|Researched by||John Readman||Refereed by||This information is not refereed.|
This variant is typically found on the upper faces and vertical sides of wave-exposed bedrock or boulders subject to moderately strong to weak tidal streams. The fauna is often sparse with the frequently observed Echinus esculentusgiving it a grazed appearance, but the community may also be affected by violent storm action working into deep water during winter storms. Despite this spartan appearance, the community is relatively diverse and contains a wide range of sponges, hydroids, bryozoans and echinoderms. This variant is found on open coasts or offshore, and is characterized by the cup-coral Caryophyllia smithii, Alcyonium digitatum, the sea urchin Echinus esculentus, large specimens of the sponge Cliona celata, encrusting bryozoans and encrusting red algae. Although this variant tends to occur in deep water (depth range of 20-30m), a high degree of water clarity allows some red algae to grow at these depths. Other species recorded include large specimens of Haliclona viscosa, the bryozoans Parasmittina trispinosa, Porella compressa andPentapora foliacea, the sea cucumbers Holothuria forskali and Aslia lefevrei and sparse hydroids such as Abietinaria abietina, Nemertesia antennina, Nemertesia ramosa and Halecium halecinum. Anemones such as Corynactis viridis,Sagartia elegans and Urticina felina are also frequently seen. Various other species characteristic of wave-exposed rock include the sponges Pachymatisma johnstonia, Stelligera stuposa, the starfish Luidia ciliaris, Marthasterias glacialis,Asterias rubens, Henricia oculata, the crinoid Antedon bifida, the barnacle Balanus crenatus, the top shell Calliostoma zizyphinum and the polychaete Spirobranchus triqueter. The majority of the records within this variant originate from the west coast of Ireland.
This MarLIN sensitivity assessment has been superseded by the MarESA approach to sensitivity assessment. MarLIN assessments used an approach that has now been modified to reflect the most recent conservation imperatives and terminology and are due to be updated by 2016/17.
No sensitivity data available
No sensitivity data available
No sensitivity data available
Airoldi, L., 2000. Responses of algae with different life histories to temporal and spatial variability of disturbance in subtidal reefs. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 195 (8), 81-92.
Bell, J.J. & Turner, J.R., 2000. Factors influencing the density and morphometrics of the cup coral Caryophyllia smithii in Lough Hyne. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 80, 437-441.
Bishop, G.M. & Earll, R., 1984. Studies on the populations of Echinus esculentus at the St Abbs and Skomer voluntary Marine Nature Reserves. Progress in Underwater Science, 9, 53-66.
Bishop, G.M., 1985. Aspects of the reproductive ecology of the sea urchin Echinus esculentus L. Ph.D. thesis, University of Exeter, UK.
Boolootian, R.A.,1966. Physiology of Echinodermata. (Ed. R.A. Boolootian), pp. 822-822. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Boulcott, P. & Howell, T.R.W., 2011. The impact of scallop dredging on rocky-reef substrata. Fisheries Research (Amsterdam), 110 (3), 415-420.
Bower, S.M., 1996. Synopsis of Infectious Diseases and Parasites of Commercially Exploited Shellfish: Bald-sea-urchin Disease. [On-line]. Fisheries and Oceans Canada. [cited 26/01/16]. Available from:
Braber, L. & Borghouts, C.H., 1977. Distribution and ecology of Anthozoa in the estuarine region of the rivers Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt. Hydrobiologia, 52, 15-21.
Bradshaw, C., Veale, L.O., Hill, A.S. & Brand, A.R., 2000. The effects of scallop dredging on gravelly seabed communities. In: Effects of fishing on non-target species and habitats (ed. M.J. Kaiser & de S.J. Groot), pp. 83-104. Oxford: Blackwell Science.
Bryan, G.W. & Gibbs, P.E., 1991. Impact of low concentrations of tributyltin (TBT) on marine organisms: a review. In: Metal ecotoxicology: concepts and applications (ed. M.C. Newman & A.W. McIntosh), pp. 323-361. Boston: Lewis Publishers Inc.
Bryan, G.W., 1984. Pollution due to heavy metals and their compounds. In Marine Ecology: A Comprehensive, Integrated Treatise on Life in the Oceans and Coastal Waters, vol. 5. Ocean Management, part 3, (ed. O. Kinne), pp.1289-1431. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Budd, G.C. 2008. Alcyonium digitatum Dead man's fingers. 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. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1187
Castège, I., Milon, E. & Pautrizel, F., 2014. Response of benthic macrofauna to an oil pollution: Lessons from the “Prestige” oil spill on the rocky shore of Guéthary (south of the Bay of Biscay, France). Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 106, 192-197.
Chamberlain, Y.M., 1996. Lithophylloid Corallinaceae (Rhodophycota) of the genera Lithophyllum and Titausderma from southern Africa. Phycologia, 35, 204-221.
Cocito, S. & Sgorbini, S., 2014. Long-term trend in substratum occupation by a clonal, carbonate bryozoan in a temperate rocky reef in times of thermal anomalies. Marine Biology, 161 (1), 17-27.
Comely, C.A. & Ansell, A.D., 1988. Invertebrate associates of the sea urchin, Echinus esculentus L., from the Scottish west coast. Ophelia, 28, 111-137.
Connor, D.W., Allen, J.H., Golding, N., Howell, K.L., Lieberknecht, L.M., Northen, K.O. & Reker, J.B., 2004. The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland. Version 04.05. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough. www.jncc.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification.
Cook, E.J., Stehlíková, J., Beveridge, C.M., Burrows, M.T., De Blauwe, H. & Faasse, M., 2013b. Distribution of the invasive bryozoan Tricellaria inopinata in Scotland and a review of its European expansion. Aquatic Invasions, 8 (3), 281-288.
Crisp, D.J. (ed.), 1964. The effects of the severe winter of 1962-63 on marine life in Britain. Journal of Animal Ecology, 33, 165-210.
De Kluijver, M.J., 1993. Sublittoral hard-substratum communities off Orkney and St Abbs (Scotland). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 73 (4), 733-754.
Diaz, R.J. & Rosenberg, R., 1995. Marine benthic hypoxia: a review of its ecological effects and the behavioural responses of benthic macrofauna. Oceanography and Marine Biology: an Annual Review, 33, 245-303.
Dyrynda, P., Fairall, V., Occhipinti Ambrogi, A. & d'Hondt, J.-L., 2000. The distribution, origins and taxonomy of Tricellaria inopinata d'Hondt and Occhipinti Ambrogi, 1985, an invasive bryozoan new to the Atlantic. Journal of Natural History, 34 (10), 1993-2006.
Edwards, R.V. 2008. Tubularia indivisa Oaten pipes hydroid. 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. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1967
Edyvean, R. & Ford, H., 1987. Growth rates of Lithophyllum incrustans (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) from south west Wales. British Phycological Journal, 22 (2), 139-146.
Edyvean, R.G.J. & Ford, H., 1984a. Population biology of the crustose red alga Lithophyllum incrustans Phil. 2. A comparison of populations from three areas of Britain. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 23 (4), 353-363.
Eggleston, D., 1972a. Patterns of reproduction in marine Ectoprocta off the Isle of Man. Journal of Natural History, 6, 31-38.
Eno, N.C., Clark, R.A. & Sanderson, W.G. (ed.) 1997. Non-native marine species in British waters: a review and directory. Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fowler, S. & Laffoley, D., 1993. Stability in Mediterranean-Atlantic sessile epifaunal communities at the northern limits of their range. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 172 (1), 109-127.
Gommez, J.L.C. & Miguez-Rodriguez, L.J., 1999. Effects of oil pollution on skeleton and tissues of Echinus esculentus L. 1758 (Echinodermata, Echinoidea) in a population of A Coruna Bay, Galicia, Spain. In Echinoderm Research 1998. Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Echinoderms, Milan, 7-12 September 1998, (ed. M.D.C. Carnevali & F. Bonasoro) pp. 439-447. Rotterdam: A.A. Balkema.
Griffith, K., Mowat, S., Holt, R.H., Ramsay, K., Bishop, J.D., Lambert, G. & Jenkins, S.R., 2009. First records in Great Britain of the invasive colonial ascidian Didemnum vexillum Kott, 2002. Aquatic Invasions, 4 (4), 581-590.
Griffiths, A.B., Dennis, R. & Potts, G.W., 1979. Mortality associated with a phytoplankton bloom off Penzance in Mount's Bay. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 59, 515-528.
Hall-Spencer, J.M. & Moore, P.G., 2000a. Impact of scallop dredging on maerl grounds. In Effects of fishing on non-target species and habitats. (ed. M.J. Kaiser & S.J., de Groot) 105-117. Oxford: Blackwell Science.
Hansson, H., 1998. NEAT (North East Atlantic Taxa): South Scandinavian marine Echinodermata Check-List. Tjärnö Marine Biological Assocation [On-line] [cited 26/01/16]. Available from:
Hartnoll, R., 1975. The annual cycle of Alcyonium digitatum. Estuarine and coastal marine science, 3 (1), 71-78.
Hartnoll, R.G., 1998. Circalittoral faunal turf biotopes: an overview of dynamics and sensitivity characteristics for conservation management of marine SACs, Volume VIII. Scottish Association of Marine Sciences, Oban, Scotland. [UK Marine SAC Project. Natura 2000 reports.]
Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. 1990. The marine fauna of the British Isles and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Herreid, C.F., 1980. Hypoxia in invertebrates. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Physiology, 67 (3), 311-320.
Hill, A.S., Brand, A.R., Veale, L.O. & Hawkins, S.J., 1997. Assessment of the effects of scallop dredging on benthic communities. Final Report to MAFF, Contract CSA 2332, Liverpool: University of Liverpool
Hill, J., 2008. Antedon bifida. Rosy feather-star. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [On-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 25/01/16] Available from:
Hiscock, K. & Hoare, R., 1975. The ecology of sublittoral communities at Abereiddy Quarry, Pembrokeshire. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 55 (4), 833-864.
Hiscock, K., 1983. Water movement. In Sublittoral ecology. The ecology of shallow sublittoral benthos (ed. R. Earll & D.G. Erwin), pp. 58-96. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Hiscock, K., Sharrock, S., Highfield, J. & Snelling, D., 2010. Colonization of an artificial reef in south-west England—ex-HMS ‘Scylla’. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 90 (1), 69-94.
Hiscock, K., Southward, A., Tittley, I. & Hawkins, S., 2004. Effects of changing temperature on benthic marine life in Britain and Ireland. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 14 (4), 333-362.
Hoare, R. & Hiscock, K., 1974. An ecological survey of the rocky coast adjacent to the effluent of a bromine extraction plant. Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science, 2 (4), 329-348.
Hobson, A., 1930. Regeneration of the Spines in Sea-Urchins. Nature, 125, 168.
Holt, T.J., Jones, D.R., Hawkins, S.J. & Hartnoll, R.G., 1995. The sensitivity of marine communities to man induced change - a scoping report. Countryside Council for Wales, Bangor, Contract Science Report, no. 65.
Jackson, A., 2008. Ciona intestinalis. A sea squirt. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [On-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 16/12/15] Available from:
Jangoux, M., 1980. Echinoderms: present and past. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam: CRC Press.
Jenkins, S.R., Beukers-Stewart, B.D. & Brand, A.R., 2001. Impact of scallop dredging on benthic megafauna: a comparison of damage levels in captured and non-captured organisms. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 215, 297-301.
Kaiser, M.J., Ramsay, K., Richardson, C.A., Spence, F.E. & Brand, A.R., 2000. Chronic fishing disturbance has changed shelf sea benthic community structure. Journal of Animal Ecology, 69, 494-503.
Kayser, H., 1990. Bioaccumulation and transfer of cadmium in marine diatoms, Bryozoa, and Kamptozoa. In Oceanic processes in marine pollution, vol. 6. Physical and chemical processes: transport and transformation (ed. D.J. Baumgartner & I.W. Duedall), pp. 99-106. Florida: R.E. Krieger Publishing Co.
Kelly, M., Owen, P. & Pantazis, P., 2001. The commercial potential of the common sea urchin Echinus esculentus from the west coast of Scotland. Hydrobiologia, 465 (1-3), 85-94.
Kinne, O. (ed.), 1984. Marine Ecology: A Comprehensive, Integrated Treatise on Life in Oceans and Coastal Waters.Vol. V. Ocean Management Part 3: Pollution and Protection of the Seas - Radioactive Materials, Heavy Metals and Oil. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
Lawrence, J.M., 1975. On the relationships between marine plants and sea urchins. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, 13, 213-286.
Lengyel, N.L., Collie, J.S. & Valentine, P.C., 2009. The invasive colonial ascidian Didemnum vexillum on Georges Bank - Ecological effects and genetic identification. Aquatic Invasions, 4(1), 143-152.
Lewis, G.A. & Nichols, D., 1979a. Colonization of an artificial reef by the sea-urchin Echinus esculentus. Progress in Underwater Science, 4, 189-195.
MacBride, E.W., 1914. Textbook of Embryology, Vol. I, Invertebrata. London: MacMillan & Co.
Matthews, A., 1917. The development of Alcyonium digitatum with some notes on early colony formation. Quarterly Journal of Microscopial Science, 62, 43-94.
Migliaccio, O., Castellano, I., Romano, G. & Palumbo, A., 2014. Stress response to cadmium and manganese in Paracentrotus lividus developing embryos is mediated by nitric oxide. Aquatic Toxicology, 156, 125-134.
Moore, P.G., 1977a. Inorganic particulate suspensions in the sea and their effects on marine animals. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, 15, 225-363.
NBN, 2015. National Biodiversity Network 2015(20/05/2015). https://data.nbn.org.uk/
Nichols, D., 1979. A nationwide survey of the British Sea Urchin Echinus esculentus. Progress in Underwater Science, 4, 161-187.
Nichols, D., 1984. An investigation of the population dynamics of the common edible sea urchin (Echinus esculentus L.) in relation to species conservation management. Report to Department of the Environment and Nature Conservancy Council from the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Exeter.
Rees, H.L., Waldock, R., Matthiessen, P. & Pendle, M.A., 2001. Improvements in the epifauna of the Crouch estuary (United Kingdom) following a decline in TBT concentrations. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 42, 137-144.
Rosenberg, R., Hellman, B. & Johansson, B., 1991. Hypoxic tolerance of marine benthic fauna. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 79, 127-131.
Ryland, J.S. & De Putron, S., 1998. An appraisal of the effects of the Sea Empress oil spillage on sensitive invertebrate communities. Countryside Council for Wales Sea Empress Contract Report, no. 285, 97pp.
Ryland, J.S., Holt, R., Loxton, J., Spencer Jones, M. & Porter, J.S., 2014. First occurrence of the non-native bryozoan Schizoporella japonica Ortmann (1890) in Western Europe. Zootaxa, 3780 (3), 481-502.
Smith, J.E. (ed.), 1968. 'Torrey Canyon'. Pollution and marine life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Soule, D.F. & Soule, J.D., 1979. Bryozoa (Ectoprocta). In Pollution ecology of estuarine invertebrates (ed. C.W. Hart & S.L.H. Fuller), pp. 35-76.
Stickle, W.B. & Diehl, W.J., 1987. Effects of salinity on echinoderms. In Echinoderm Studies, Vol. 2 (ed. M. Jangoux & J.M. Lawrence), pp. 235-285. A.A. Balkema: Rotterdam.
Stock, J.H., 1988. Lamippidae (Copepoda: Siphonostomatoida) parasitic in Alcyonium. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 68 (02), 351-359.
Tranter, P.R.G., Nicholson, D.N. & Kinchington, D., 1982. A description of spawning and post-gastrula development of the cool temperate coral, Caryophyllia smithi. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 62, 845-854.
Tyler, P.A. & Young, C.M., 1998. Temperature and pressures tolerances in dispersal stages of the genus Echinus (Echinodermata: Echinoidea): prerequisites for deep sea invasion and speciation. Deep Sea Research II, 45, 253-277
Tyler-Walters, H., 2008. Echinus esculentus. Edible sea urchin. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. [cited 26/01/16]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1311
Tyler-Walters, H., 2008b. Corallina officinalis Coral weed. 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. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1364
Ursin, E., 1960. A quantitative investigation of the echinoderm fauna of the central North Sea. Meddelelser fra Danmark Fiskeri-og-Havundersogelser, 2 (24), pp. 204.
Whomersley, P. & Picken, G., 2003. Long-term dynamics of fouling communities found on offshore installations in the North Sea. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, 83 (5), 897-901.
Wood. C., 2005. Seasearch guide to sea anemones and corals of Britain and Ireland. Ross-on-Wye: Marine Conservation Society.
This review can be cited as:
Last Updated: 06/07/2016