Littoral Sabellaria alveolata reefs
Compiled by: Leigh Jones, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Monkstone House, City
Road, Peterborough PE1 IJY, UK.
Derived, in part, from: the UK marine biotope classification (Connor et al.
1997a) and a review undertaken for the UK Marine SACs Project (Holt et al. 1998).
|Europe (EUNIS Nov. 1999)
||Sabellaria reefs on littoral rock
||Not listed / present
|Britain/Ireland (MNCR BioMar 97.06)
||Sabellaria alveolata reefs on sand-abraded eulittoral
||Récifs dHermelles à Sabellaria alveolata
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, the
tubes of which are built from the mobile sand surrounding the boulders and cobbles. The
tubes formed by Sabellaria alveolata form large reef-like hummocks, which serve to
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). On wave-exposed shores in Ireland, the brown alga Himanthalia
elongata can also occur.
Note: Sabellaria alveolata reefs may also form in the subtidal (e.g. in the
Severn estuary), but these are not considered here.
(from MNCR database in February 1999)
Species composition and biodiversity
Sensitivity to human activities
Conservation and protection status