Sponge crusts and colonial ascidians on wave-surged vertical infralittoral rock
|Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 97.06
|Wave-surged, overhanging, vertical and steep infralittoral rock in caves tunnels and gullies subject to some sand-scour and characterised by sponge crusts and ascidians. This biotope is found in similar locations to the sponge crusts and anemones biotope (EIR.SCAn), but the latter are not subject to as much scour. Sponges include Clathrina coriacea, Leucosolenia botryoides, Esperiopsis fucorum and Halichondria panicea while the ascidians include mixtures of Polyclinum aurantium, Dendrodoa grossularia, Aplidium spp., Diplosoma spp. and other didemnids. On surfaces that receive sufficient illumination, a moderately dense turf of foliose red seaweeds may also occur. Crevices and other areas that offer some protection from sand scour may contain anemones, such as Sagartia elegans and Metridium senile, though they never dominate the biotope (compare with EIR.SCAn). On vertical walls towards the back of caves, the rock may be dominated by only Dendrodoa grossularia and Clathrina coriacea (see EIR.SCAs.DenCla). In deeper, though still scoured gullies, caves and tunnels the rock may be covered by sponge crusts, polyclinid ascidians and a bryozoan and hydroid turf (see EIR.SCAs.ByH).
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