Species composition and biodiversity

Characterising species

For MLR.Salv in the UK % Frequency Faithfulness Typical abundance
Sabellaria alveolata Common
Semibalanus balanoides Frequent
Balanus crenatus Occasional
Balanus perforatus Common
Elminius modestus Frequent
Patella vulgata Occasional
Littorina littorea Frequent
Nucella lapillus Frequent
Mytilus edulis Occasional
Porphyra sp. Occasional
Palmaria palmata Frequent
Mastocarpus stellatus Occasional
Ceramium sp. Occasional
Cladostephus spongiosus Occasional
Fucus serratus Occasional
Fucus vesiculosus Occasional
Enteromorpha sp. Occasional
Ulva sp. Occasional

Littoral S. alveolata reefs are not particularly diverse communities, they do nevertheless provide some increased diversity of habitat, and older reefs have somewhat more diverse associated communities than younger ones. Sheets of S. alveolata appear to enhance algal diversity, apparently by providing barriers to limpet grazing (Cunningham et al. 1984). Wilson (1971) noted that Fucus serratus, Fucus vesiculosus, Palmaria palmata, Polysiphonia sp., Ceramium sp., and Ulva lactuca are frequently associated with older Sabellaria colonies, and small polychaetes such as Fabricia sabella and syllids have been found living on colonies. Cunningham et al. (1984) noted up to eighteen associated animal species and twenty associated plant species, mainly on older colonies. The important animal species were all epifauna, including barnacles Cthalamus montagui, C. stellata and Semibalanus balanoides, limpets Patella vulgata, P. depressa and P. aspera, mussel Mytilus edulis, dogwhelk Nucella lapillus and serpulid worms. No rare or uncommon species have been reported to be associated with S. alveolata reefs.

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