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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

Flustra foliacea and colonial ascidians on tide-swept exposed circalittoral mixed substrata

03-04-2018

Summary

UK and Ireland classification

UK and Ireland classification

Description

This variant is typically found on very exposed to moderately exposed, circalittoral mixed substrata subject to moderately strong tidal streams. It most frequently occurs between 10m and 20m water depth. This variant is characterized by a dense hydroid and Flustra foliacea turf, along with other scour-tolerant species, growing on the more stable boulders and cobbles which overlie coarse muddy sand and gravel. Although Nemertesia antennina is the dominant species within the hydroid turf, other species such as Halecium halecinumNemertesia ramosa andHydrallmania falcata may also be present. Other bryozoans found amongst the hydroid and Flustra turf include Cellepora pumicosaBugulina flabellataBugulina turbinata, and a crisiid turf. Encrusting red algae, the polychaete Spirobranchus triqueter and barnacles such as Balanus crenatus may be found on the smaller cobbles and pebbles, which may become mobile during extreme storms. Echinoderms such as Asterias rubens and Ophiothrix fragilis may be present on the boulders, or the coarse sediment in between. On the larger, more stable boulders, isolated sponge communities may develop, with species such as Scypha ciliataDysidea fragilisHemimycale columellaEsperiopsis fucorum andStelligera rigida. In addition, small Alcyonium digitatum, various ascidians (Clavelina lepadiformisBotryllus schlosseri),Pododesmus patelliformis and top shells (Calliostoma zizyphinumGibbula cineraria) may colonise the upper faces and vertical sides of larger boulders. At some shallower sites, the foliose red algae Hypoglossum hypoglossoides may be found on the tops of larger boulders. Within the coarse sediment underlying these boulders and cobbles, anemones such as Cerianthus lloydii and Urticina felina may be recorded. Under-boulder fauna typically consists of terebellid worms, and crabs such as Pisidia longicornis and Cancer pagurus.

Depth range

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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

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Biological Pressures

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Citation

This review can be cited as:

Readman, J.A.J., 2016. [Flustra foliacea] and colonial ascidians on tide-swept exposed circalittoral mixed substrata. 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/1138

Last Updated: 07/07/2016