Sabellaria alveolata reefs on sand-abraded eulittoral rock
|Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 97.06
|Many wave-exposed boulder scar grounds in the eastern basin of the Irish Sea (and as far south as Cornwall), are characterised by reefs of Sabellaria alveolata which build tubes from the mobile sand surrounding the boulders and cobbles. The tubes formed by Sabellaria alveolata form large reef-like hummocks, which serve to further stabilise the boulders. Other species in this biotope include the barnacles Semibalanus balanoides, Balanus crenatus and Elminius modestus and the molluscs Patella vulgata, Littorina littorea, Nucella lapillus and Mytilus edulis. Low abundances of algae tend to occur in areas of eroded reef. The main algal species include Porphyra spp., Mastocarpus stellatus, Ceramium spp., Fucus vesiculosus, Fucus serratus, Enteromorpha spp. and Ulva spp. On exposed surf beaches in the south-west Sabellaria forms a crust on the rocks, rather than the classic honeycomb reef, and may be accompanied by the barnacle Balanus perforatus (typically common to abundant). On wave-exposed shores in Ireland, the brown alga Himanthalia elongata can also occur.
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