Description of Sponges and anemones on vertical circalittoral bedrock
This biotope is found on exposed to moderately wave exposed , vertical and overhanging, circalittoral bedrock, subject to strong through to weak tidal streams. This biotope is characterised by a mixed faunal turf of hydroids (Nemertesis antennina, Tubularia indivisa and Halecium halecium) and bryozoans (Alcyonidium diaphanum and crisiid turf). There is frequently a diverse range of sponges recorded, including Cliona celata, Pachymatisma johnstonia, Dysidea fragilis and Hemimycale columella. There may be dense aggregation of dead mans fingers Alcyonium digitatum along with clumps of the cup coral Caryophyllia smithii, and the anthozoans Corynactis viridis, Actinothoe sphyrodeta, Sagartia elegans and Metridium senile. Other species present include the echinoderms Echinus esculentus, Asterias rubens, Marthasterias glacialis, Henricia oculata, Holothuria forskali and Antedon bifida, clumps of the lightbulb tunicate Clavelina lepadiformis and the top shell Calliostoma zizyphinum. Three regional variations of this biotope have been recorded. The first variant is characterised by a Bugula turf along with the pink sea fan Eunicella verrucosa, and has been recorded from around southwest England and Wales. The second variant, characterised by a dense 'carpet' of Corynactis viridis and Metridium senile has been recorded predominantly from the west coast of Ireland. The final variant is characterised by a very diverse, dense faunal turf of hydroids, bryozoans and ascidians and has been recorded from the coasts around Northern Ireland.
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