BIOTIC Species Information for Lithothamnion glaciale
Researched byAngus Jackson Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
General Biology
Growth formAlgal gravel
Crustose hard
Feeding methodPhotoautotroph
Mobility/MovementNot relevant
Environmental positionEpifloral
Typical food typesNot relevant HabitBed forming
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityNone (< 10 degrees)
FragilityFragile SizeMedium(11-20 cm)
Height Growth Rate13 µm/day
Adult dispersal potential10-100m DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional Information
  • Maerl has been found in densities of up to 22,000 thalli per square metre. The proportion of live to dead nodules varies considerably (Birkett et al., 1998). In the British Isles, Lithothamnion glaciale is found in relative abundances of up to 36 % of coralline red algae and up to 80 % further north (Adey & Adey, 1973)
  • Individual thalli of this species may occur as male female, asexual or non-breeding plants depending on the development of the various types of reproductive conceptacles.
  • Crustose plants adhere strongly to the substratum and reach 20 cm in diameter at least (Suneson, 1943; Irvine & Chamberlain, 1994). Unattached plants probably reach 4-5 cm in diameter.
  • Little is known about growth rates of this species. Maerl is amongst the slowest growing species in the North Atlantic (Birkett et al., 1998). Adey, (1970) recorded rates of up to 13 microns per day in the lab. This is fast in comparison to other sub-arctic maerl species which may explain why Lithothamnion glaciale is often the most abundant North Atlantic crustose coralline alga.
  • Mobility and sociability is not applicable to algal species.
  • Maerl beds in general are known as a particularly diverse habitat with over 150 macro algal species and 500 benthic faunal species recorded (Birkett et al., 1998(a)). The loose structure of these beds permits water circulation and oxygenation to considerable depth. As a consequence of this loose structure, maerl provides shelter for an astonishing variety of fauna e.g. molluscs (Hall-Spencer, 1998) and amphipods (Grave De, 1999).
Biology References Adey et al., 1976, Suneson, 1943, Rosenvinge, 1917, Adey & Adey, 1973, Cardinal et al., 1979, Adey, 1966, Adey, 1970, Irvine & Chamberlain, 1994, Birkett et al., 1998(a), Hall-Spencer, 1998, Grave De, 1999,
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