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LS.LBR.Sab
Littoral Sabellaria honeycomb worm reefs

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Habitat (physical) description

Distribution

 Salinity: Full (30-35 ppt) 
 Wave exposure: Exposed, Moderately exposed 
 Tidal streams:  
 Substratum: Boulders; cobbles; pebbles; sand; bedrock 
 Zone: Eulittoral - lower, Eulittoral - mid 
 Depth Band: Lower shore, Mid shore 
 Other Features:  

Download comparative physical and biological data. The comparative tables enable a rapid comparison of the species composition and principal physical characteristics between a given set of biotopes.
Distribution of habitat LS.LBR.Sab  Littoral Sabellaria honeycomb worm reefs
Distribution of habitat LS.LBR.Sab Littoral Sabellaria honeycomb worm reefs, based on records on the UK Marine Recorder database and EUSeaMap. Red dots represent records on which the biotope is based. Blue dots show other certain records, black dots show records tentatively assigned to this biotope. Yellow areas show level 2 and 3 sublittoral and deep-sea habitats prediced by EUSeaMap within UK waters.

Biotope description

The sedentary polychaete Sabellaria alveolata (honeycomb worm) builds tubes from sand and shell. On exposed shores, where there is a plentiful supply of sediment, S. alveolata can form honeycomb reefs on boulders and low-lying bedrock on the mid to lower shore. These S. alveolata reefs are quite distinct from the mosaic of seaweeds and barnacles or red seaweeds (FK; MB) generally associated with moderately exposed rocky shores though many of the same species are present. These include the anemone Actinia equina, the barnacles Semibalanus balanoides and Elminius modestus, the limpet Patella vulgata, the top shell Gibbula cineraria and the winkle Littorina littorea. The whelk Nucella lappilus and the mussel Mytilus edulis is also present on the boulders whereas the polychaete Lanice conchilega is restricted to the associated sediment areas. Scour resistent red seaweeds including Palmaria palmata, Corallina ifficinalis, Mastocarpus stellatus, Chondrus crispus, Ceramium nodulosum, Osmundea pinnatifida, Polysiphonia spp. and coralline crusts can also be present where suitable substrata exsist. Brown and green seaweeds also present include Fucus serratus, Fucus vesioculosus, Cladostephus spongiosus, Enteromorpha intestinalis and Ulva lactuca.

Situation

Above Salv are biotopes dominated either by ephemeral seaweeds, such as Enteromorpha spp. and Porphyra spp. or the perennial wrack Fucus vesiculosus on mixed substrata (FvesB; Fves.X; EphX; EntPor). Rockpool biotopes dominated by the red seaweed Corallina officinalis (Cor), by wracks such as Fucus spp. or by kelp such as Laminaria spp. (FK) can usually be found above this biotope. Beneath this biotope is a community consisting of mixed scour-tolerant like the kelp Laminaria digitata and opportunistic foliose red seaweeds such as Polyides rotundus and Ahnfeltia plicata (Ldig.Ldig; XKScrR; EphR; PolAhn).

Temporal variation

No temporal variation data available.

Similar biotopes

Not applicable or unknown.

Characterising Species

Taxa Frequency Typical Abundance % Contribution to similarity Abundance (no.2)
Actinia equina O 2
Sabellaria alveolata C 24
Lanice conchilega O 1
Elminius modestus O 2
Semibalanus balanoides F 8
Carcinus maenas O 1
Gibbula cineraria R 1
Patella vulgata O 5
Littorina littorea F 6
Nucella lapillus F 7
Mytilus edulis O 3
Palmaria palmata O 2
Corallinaceae F 3
Corallina officinalis O 2
Chondrus crispus O 2
Mastocarpus stellatus O 2
Ceramium nodulosum O 2
Osmundea pinnatifida F 2
Polysiphonia O 2
Cladostephus spongiosus O 2
Fucus serratus F 5
Fucus vesiculosus O 2
Fucus vesiculosus O 2
Enteromorpha intestinalis O 1
Ulva lactuca O 4

Example photographs of biotope


View North across midshore boulder scar showing Sabellaria reef., Seascale (Whitriggs Scar)., Keith Hiscock, © JNCC Sabellaria colonies on sides of boulders, Unspecified location, Rohan Holt, © JNCC sabellaria reefs on irregular rocky area with fucoids and green algae, Tarn Bay, Ravenglass., Roger Covey, © JNCC
Click on an image for a larger view


Version 15.03 of the classification adds a deep-sea section to version 04.05; therefore superseding version 04.05, 97.06 and 03.02.

This online classification should be cited as:

JNCC (2015) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 15.03 [Online]. [Date accessed]. Available from: jncc.defra.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification

Information from the shallower section (up to sublittoral sediment, taken from Version 04.05) be cited as the report accompanying Version 04.05, as follows:

CONNOR, D.W., J.H. ALLEN, N.GOLDING, K.L.HOWELL, L.M. LIEBERKNECHT, K.O. NORTHEN AND J.B. REKER (2004) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 04.05. In: JNCC (2015) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 15.03 [Online]. [Date accessed].
Available from: jncc.defra.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification
ISBN 1 861 07561 8


Information from the deep-sea section (added in March 2015) should be cited as the report accompanying the deep-sea section, as follows:

PARRY, M.E.V., K.L. HOWELL, B.E. NARAYANASWAMY, B.J. BETT, D.O.B. JONES, D.J. HUGHES, N. PIECHAUD, T.D. NICKELL, H. ELLWOOD, N. ASKEW, C. JENKINS and E. MANCA (2015) A Deep-sea Section for the Marine Habitat Classification of Britain and Ireland. JNCC report 530. In: JNCC (2015) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 15.03 [Online]. [Date accessed].
Available from: jncc.defra.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification
ISSN 0963 8901