Mytilus edulis and barnacles on very exposed eulittoral rock
|Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 97.06
|The eulittoral zone, particularly mid and lower shore zones, of very exposed rocky shores are typically characterised by patches of small mussels Mytilus edulis interspersed with patches of barnacles Semibalanus balanoides. Amongst the mussels small red algae including Ceramium shuttleworthianum, Corallina officinalis, Mastocarpus stellatus and Aglaothamnion spp. can be found. Two red algae in particular, Porphyra umbilicalis and Palmaria palmata, are commonly found on the Mytilus itself and can form luxuriant growths. The abundance of the red algae generally increases down the shore and in the lower eulittoral they may form a distinct zone in which mussels or barnacles are scarce (R, Him or Coff. Where Mytilus occurs on steep rock, red algae are scarce, and restricted to the lower levels. The dog whelk Nucella lapillus and a few littorinid molluscs occur where cracks and crevices provide a refuge in the rock. Fucoids are generally absent, although some Fucus vesiculosus f. linearis may occur where the shore slopes more gently. MytB is generally found above a zone of either mixed turf-forming red algae (R), Himanthalia elongata (Him) or above the sublittoral fringe kelp Alaria esculenta (Ala). Above MytB there may be a Porphyra zone (Ver.Por), a Verrucaria maura and sparse barnacle zone (Ver.B) or a denser barnacle and limpet zone (BPat), often with Porphyra. In addition, patches of Lichina pygmaea with barnacles (BPat.Lic) may also occur above this biotope, particularly on southern shores. This biotope also occurs on steep moderately exposed shores which experience increased wave crash.
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