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

Filamentous red seaweeds, sponges and Balanus crenatus on tide-swept variable-salinity infralittoral rock



UK and Ireland classification

UK and Ireland classification


Tide-swept infralittoral rock subject to variable salinity and turbid waters occurs in the mid to upper reaches of the rias of south-west Britain, where riverine freshwater input reduces the salinity. Very shallow rock under these conditions is characterized by a covering of filamentous red seaweed such as Callithamnion spp., Antithamnion spp., Ceramium spp., Griffithsia devoniensis, Pterothamnion plumula and Polysiphonia fucoides, as well as the filamentous green seaweed Cladophora spp. Foliose red seaweeds such as Hypoglossum hypoglossoides, Cryptopleura ramosa and Erythroglossum laciniatum commonly occur, as does the foliose green seaweed Ulva lactuca. Although Saccharina latissima is often present it is usually in very low abundance (Occasional). The fluctuating salinity limits the number of species able to exist in this habitat. The animal community is dominated by the sponges Halichondria panicea and Hymeniacidon perleve and the barnacle Balanus crenatus. The ascidians Clavelina lepadiformis and Dendrodoa grossularia can be locally abundant at some sites. The crab Carcinus maenas is usually present, as is the mussel Mytilus edulis. The bryozoan Crisularia plumosa is sometimes present. Where vertical rock is present, the seaweeds Ceramium nodulosum, Pterothamnion plumula, Cryptopleura ramosa, Hypoglossum hypoglossoides and Erythroglossum laciniatum are typically found (JNCC, 2015).

Depth range

0-5 m

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Physical Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Chemical Pressures

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This review can be cited as:

Tillin, H.M. 2016. Filamentous red seaweeds, sponges and [Balanus crenatus] on tide-swept variable-salinity infralittoral 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 19-06-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 16/06/2016