Himanthalia elongata and red seaweeds on exposed lower eulittoral rock
|Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 97.06
|Exposed to moderately exposed lower eulittoral bedrock may be characterised by buttons and straps of the thong weed Himanthalia elongata (at least frequent) with a dense turf of red algae beneath. The predominant red algae are usually Mastocarpus stellatus, Laurencia pinnatifida, Corallina officinalis and Palmaria palmata which tend to grow over a crust of pink coralline algae. Any patches between the algal turf may be colonised by barnacles Semibalanus balanoides, or Balanus perforatus in the south-west, and limpets Patella vulgata. Pits and crevices in the rock often provide a refuge for anemones, gastropods (Nucella lapillus and Littorina neglecta) and small mussels Mytilus edulis. This biotope generally characterises those shores which are too exposed for Fucus serratus to form a dense canopy, often occurring as large patches within the F. serratus / red algal turf zone (Fser.R). Consequently, F. serratus plants frequently occur amongst the Himanthalia and red algae (F. serratus common or less). On some shores this biotope may occur as a distinct zone between the F. serratus / red algal turf (Fser.R) and the Alaria esculenta / Laminaria digitata zone (Ala.Ldig). In the south and south-west Bifurcaria bifurcata may replace Himanthalia, and can sometimes form a distinct band on the lower shore. Himanthalia may occur on tide-swept, sheltered shores in sealochs (e.g. Loch Maddy).
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