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

Cystoseira spp. in eulittoral rockpools



UK and Ireland classification

UK and Ireland classification


Eulittoral rockpools on exposed to moderately exposed south-western shores dominated by the brown alga Cystoseira spp. (including Cystoseira tamariscifolia), coralline crusts and Corallina officinalis. These pools generally support dense red algal growth comprising: Ceramium spp., Calliblepharis jubata, Chondrus crispus, Osmundea pinnatifida and Gelidium latifolium. Wracks such as Himanthalia elongata and the epiphytic brown seaweed Colpomenia peregrina are present while the kelp Laminaria digitata can occupy the deeper parts of the pool. The green seaweeds Ulva intestinalis and Ulva lactuca are usually present as well. The pools usually contain some sand and pebbles at the base of the pool while spirorbid polychaetes and Spirobranchus spp. Build their tubes on any small boulders present. In addition, these pools can support high numbers of grazing gastropods including the top shells Gibbula cineraria and Gibbula umbilicalis but also the limpet Patella vulgata, while sponges such Hymeniacidon perleve and Halichondria panicea can be found overgrowing the small boulders or on and around the seaweeds. The shanny Lipophrus pholis is present hiding underneath boulder and cobbles, while the anemone Actinia equina is found in cracks and crevices. Number of available records and care should be taken not to interpret this solely as a very high species richness (JNCC, 2015).

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Species indicative of sensitivity


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This review can be cited as:

Tillin, H.M. & Budd, G., 2016. [Cystoseira] spp. in 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: 28/04/2016