[Phymatolithon calcareum] maerl beds in infralittoral clean gravel or coarse sand

Description of [Phymatolithon calcareum] maerl beds in infralittoral clean gravel or coarse sand


flag A5.511
creatorIdentity remo
creationTime 2017-08-16T16:38:13.978
Last Maintainer Identity remo
modificationTime 2016-03-16T18:42:49
id 3447
imageSize 0 Bytes

Maerl beds characterised by Phymatolithon calcareum in gravels and sands. Associated epiphytes may include red algae such as Dictyota dichotoma, Halarachnion ligulatum, Callophyllis laciniata, Cryptopleura ramosa, Brongniartella byssoides and Plocamium cartilagineum. Algal species may be anchored to the maerl or to dead bivalve shells amongst the maerl. Polychaetes, such as Chaetopterus variopedatus, Lanice conchilega, Kefersteinia cirrata, Mediomastus fragilis, Chone duneri, Parametaphoxus fultoni and Grania may be present. Gastropods such as Gibbula cineraria, Gibbula magus, Calyptraea chinensis Dikoleps pusilla and Onoba aculeus may also be present. Liocarcinus depurator and Liocarcinus corrugatus are often present, although they may be under-recorded; it would seem likely that robust infaunal bivalves such as Circomphalus casina, Mya truncata, Dosinia exoleta and other venerid bivalves are more widespread than available data currently suggests. It seems likely that stable wave-sheltered maerl beds with low currents may be separable from A5.511; having a generally thinner layer of maerl overlying a sandy /muddy substratum with a diverse cover of epiphytes (e.g. Bosence 1976; Blunden et al. 1977; 1981; Davies & Hall-Spencer 1996) but insufficient data currently exists on a national scale. Wave and current-exposed maerl beds, where thicker depths of maerl accumulate, frequently occur as waves and ridge / furrows arrangements (see Bosence 1976; Blunden et al. 1977; 1981; Irvine & Chamberlain 1994; Hall-Spencer 1995). At some sites where A5.511occurs, there may be significant patches of maerl gravel containing the rare burrowing anemone Halcampoides elongatus; this may be a separate biotope, but insufficient data exists at present. Northern maerl beds in the UK do not appear to contain L. corallioides but in south-west England and Ireland L. corallioides may occur to some extent in A5.511 as well as A5.513, where it dominates.