Biodiversity & Conservation

Lithothamnion glaciale maerl beds in tide-swept variable salinity infralittoral gravel

SS.IGS.Mrl.Lgla


IGS.Lgla

Image Christine Howson - Lithothamnion glaciale nodules amongst pebbles with the sunstar Crossaster papposus, Isle of Lewis. Image width ca 20 cm.
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Distribution map

SS.IGS.Mrl.Lgla recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)


  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP
  • OSPAR

Habitat sensitivity

Physical Factors

Click factor name to view rationale Intolerance Recoverability Sensitivity Species Richness Evidence / Confidence
Substratum Loss High Very low / none Very High Major decline High
Smothering High Very low / none Very High Major decline High
Increase in suspended sediment Intermediate Low High Decline High
Decrease in suspended sediment
Desiccation High Very low / none Very High Major decline High
Increase in emergence regime High Very low / none Very High Major decline High
Decrease in emergence regime
Increase in water flow rate Intermediate Low High Decline Moderate
Decrease in water flow rate
Increase in temperature Intermediate Low High Minor decline Low
Decrease in temperature
Increase in turbidity Low Very high Very low Decline Moderate
Decrease in turbidity
Increase in wave exposure Intermediate Very low / none High Decline Moderate
Decrease in wave exposure
Noise Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive No change High
Visual Presence Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive No change High
Abrasion & physical disturbance High Very low / none Very High Major decline High
Displacement Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive No change Low

Chemical Factors

Click factor name to view rationale Intolerance Recoverability Sensitivity Species Richness Evidence / Confidence
Synthetic compound contamination High High Moderate Decline Very low
Heavy metal contamination Insufficient information Not relevant Insufficient information Not relevant Not relevant
Hydrocarbon contamination Intermediate High Low Decline Very low
Radionuclide contamination Insufficient information Insufficient information Insufficient information Insufficient Information Not relevant
Changes in nutrient levels Intermediate Low High Decline Low
Increase in salinity Low High Low Minor decline Low
Decrease in salinity
Changes in oxygenation Intermediate Moderate Moderate Major decline Very low

Biological Factors

Click factor name to view rationale Intolerance Recoverability Sensitivity Species Richness Evidence / Confidence
Introduction of microbial pathogens/parasites Intermediate Very low / none High Low
Introduction of non-native species Intermediate Very low / none High Decline Moderate
Extraction of this species High Very low / none Very High Major decline Moderate
Extraction of other species High Very low / none Very High Major decline High

Species used to indicate biotope intolerance

Physical factors

Lithothamnion glaciale
Key structural
Ophiothrix fragilis
Important functional
Psammechinus miliaris
Important functional
Substratum LossHighHighHigh
SmotheringHighHighHigh
Increase in suspended sedimentIntermediateLowLow
Decrease in suspended sediment
DesiccationHighIntermediateHigh
Increase in emergence regimeHighNot relevantLow
Decrease in emergence regime
Increase in water flow rateIntermediateLowLow
Decrease in water flow rate
Increase in temperatureIntermediateIntermediateLow
Decrease in temperature
Increase in turbidityIntermediateLowLow
Decrease in turbidity
Increase in wave exposureIntermediateLowIntermediate
Decrease in wave exposure
NoiseTolerantLowTolerant
Visual PresenceTolerantTolerantLow
Abrasion & physical disturbanceHighIntermediateIntermediate
DisplacementIntermediateTolerantTolerant

Chemical factors

Lithothamnion glaciale
Key structural
Ophiothrix fragilis
Important functional
Psammechinus miliaris
Important functional
Synthetic compound contaminationInsufficient informationInsufficient informationHigh
Heavy metal contaminationInsufficient informationInsufficient informationIntermediate
Hydrocarbon contaminationInsufficient informationHighHigh
Radionuclide contaminationInsufficient informationInsufficient informationInsufficient information
Changes in nutrient levelsIntermediateIntermediateLow
Increase in salinityLowLowIntermediate
Decrease in salinity
Changes in oxygenationLowHighIntermediate

Biological factors

Lithothamnion glaciale
Key structural
Ophiothrix fragilis
Important functional
Psammechinus miliaris
Important functional
Introduction of microbial pathogens/parasitesIntermediateLowIntermediate
Introduction of non-native speciesIntermediateTolerantTolerant
Extraction of this speciesIntermediateNot relevantIntermediate
Extraction of other speciesIntermediateTolerantIntermediate

Species used to indicate biotope recoverability

Physical factors

Lithothamnion glaciale
Key structural
Ophiothrix fragilis
Important functional
Psammechinus miliaris
Important functional
Substratum LossHighHigh
SmotheringHighHigh
Increase in suspended sedimentLowVery highVery high
Decrease in suspended sediment
DesiccationHighHigh
Increase in emergence regimeNot relevantLow
Decrease in emergence regime
Increase in water flow rateLowVery highVery high
Decrease in water flow rate
Increase in temperatureLowHighLow
Decrease in temperature
Increase in turbidityLowVery highVery high
Decrease in turbidity
Increase in wave exposureLowVery highHigh
Decrease in wave exposure
NoiseNot relevantVery highNot relevant
Visual PresenceNot relevantNot relevantVery high
Abrasion & physical disturbanceHighHigh
DisplacementNot relevantNot relevant

Chemical factors

Lithothamnion glaciale
Key structural
Ophiothrix fragilis
Important functional
Psammechinus miliaris
Important functional
Synthetic compound contaminationInsufficient informationNot relevantHigh
Heavy metal contaminationInsufficient informationNot relevantHigh
Hydrocarbon contaminationInsufficient informationHighHigh
Radionuclide contaminationInsufficient informationNot relevantInsufficient information
Changes in nutrient levelsLowHighVery high
Increase in salinityVery highHighHigh
Decrease in salinity
Changes in oxygenationVery highHighHigh

Biological factors

Lithothamnion glaciale
Key structural
Ophiothrix fragilis
Important functional
Psammechinus miliaris
Important functional
Introduction of microbial pathogens/parasitesLowHighHigh
Introduction of non-native speciesLowNot relevantNot relevant
Extraction of this speciesLowNot relevantHigh
Extraction of other speciesLowNot relevantHigh

This review can be cited as follows:

Jackson, A. 2006. Lithothamnion glaciale maerl beds in tide-swept variable salinity infralittoral gravel. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 18/04/2014]. Available from: <http://www.marlin.ac.uk/habitatsensitivity.php?habitatid=7&code=1997>