Maerl - Phymatolithon calcareum - General information
Image Keith Hiscock - Phymatolithon calcareum forming a maerl bed. Loch Carron, West Scotland. Image width ca 20 cm.
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| Researched by:
|| Refereed by:
||Dr Christine Maggs
| Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland
||Recorded around the Shetland Orkney Islands and along the east coast of Scotland, south coast of England with isolated records at Bideford Bay, Pembrokeshire and Caernarfon Bay. Abundant around the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland
| Habitat information
||Typically found in less than 20 m depth on sand, mud or gravel substrata in areas that are protected from strong wave action but have moderate to high water flow. The crustose form is very rare in the British Isles. Usually found as unattached plants forming beds of coralline algal gravel (maerl) in the sublittoral and occasionally lower littoral. Typically found together with Lithothamnion corallioides in the southern British Isles or Lithothamnion glaciale in the northern British Isles.
||A fragile, coralline alga often confused with Lithothamnion corallioides. Its form is very variable but commonly resembles stag's horns of irregular diameter. Older specimens become somewhat erect with nodular branches and are reminiscent of red 'coral'. Unattached plants may reach about 7 cm in diameter with branches up to 6 mm in diameter and mauvish brown in colour. The surface can be smooth or flaky.
This review can be cited as follows:
Angus Jackson 2007.
Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line].
Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.
Available from: <http://www.marlin.ac.uk/speciesfullreview.php?speciesID=4121>