Friday, 27 July 2012

Rocky Shore - Western Isles, The Hebrides

Rock pooling destination: Western Isles, Elean Siaris, The Hebrides, June 2012

Rocky Shore - Lichens dominate the uppermost shore, whilst fucoids
occur throughout the mid to lower shore. Habitat classification: LR.FLR.Lic (Lichens on supralittoral and littoral fringe rock) and LR.LLR.F (Fucoids on sheltered marine shores).
The rocky shore is comprised of cobbles and boulders that are colonised by lichens in the uppermost shore and fucoid seaweeds from the mid to lower shore. Most marine organisms are aggregated beneath the fucoid understory and boulders.
Lichens grow on the rocks of the uppermost shore, interspersed with occasional clumps of sea thrift, in what is known as the ‘splash zone’.
Fucoid seaweeds dominate the mid to lower shore, exhibiting zonation, with specific species dominating bands of the shore.
Channelled wrack (Pelvitia canaliculata) is found first, where it co-occurs with the lichen Verrucaria Maura and occasional bladder wrack (Fucus vesiculosus), rough periwinkles (Littorina saxatilis) and barnacles.
Channel wrack (Pelvetia canaliculata) and the tar lichen (Verrucaria maura).
Habitat classification: LR.LLR.F.Pel (Pelvetia canaliculata on sheltered littoral fringe rock)
Egg wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum) forms blankets across the mid to lower shore. Underneath which other seaweeds including bladder wrack (Fucus vesiculosus) and smaller red, brown and green seaweeds grow. Limpets, winkles and whelks occur among the fronds and under the boulders are tunicates, sponges, polychaetes, byrozoans, hydrozoans, echinoderms, crustaceans and anemones.

Egg wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum).
Habitat classification: LR.LLR.F.Asc (Ascophyllum nodosum on very sheltered mid eulittoral rock)

As the low tide mark is reached the boulders give way to sediment. Serrated wrack (Fucus serratus), Ulva Spp and other membranous red and brown seaweeds come to dominate and amongst these a seasonal aggregation of sea hares had occured.
LR.LLR.F (Fucus serratus on sheltered eulittoral rock)
 Below are images of some of the marine organims encountered in the different habitats of this rocky shore:
Sea thirft amongst Lichen in the 'splash zone'
Lichens covering a boulder in the 'splash zone'
A white lichen, possibly Ochrolechia parella
The lichen, Black shields (Tephromela atra )
A black lichen, Lichina pygmaea
Channel wrack (Pelvetia canaliculata) and the tar lichen (Verrucaria maura).
Bladder wrack (Fucus vesiculosus), Channel wrack (Pelvetia canaliculata)
and tar lichen (Verrucaria maura)
Barnacles occur in lower abundance within the sheltered channel wrack habitat in
 contrast to where it occurs in more exposed channel wrack habitats.
Rough periwinkle (Littorina saxatilis) with barnacles on the side of a boulder.

Flat periwinkle (Littorina obtusata) beneath fucoid understory.

The seaweed Ralfsia verrucosa forms a crust on  a limpet (Patella vulgata).
Under boulder community of sponges (Porifera) and spirobid worms.
Underboulder community of bryozoans, spirobid worms and a
 terebelomorpha polychaete worm.
Under boulder community of spirobid worms and a sea squirt.
A variety of smaller seaweeds can be found underneath the Fucoid understory.
Chlorophyta and Rhodophyta seaweeds beneath fucoid understory.
Rhodophyta beneath fucoid understory.

Rhodophyta beneath Fucoid understory.
Edible periwinkle (Littorina littorea) amongst Egg wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum).
Dog whelk (Nucella lapillus) beneath Fucoid understory.
Purse sponge (Grantia compressa) and Breadcrumb sponge (Halichondria panicea)
Under boulder community of spirobid worms, bryozoa and sponge (Porifera).
Juvenile common starfish (Asterias rubens) on boulder underside.
Purse sponge (Grantia compressa)
Serrated wrack (Fucus serratus)
Sipunculan and Common starfish (Asterias rubens) under a boulder.

Strawberry anemone (Actinia fragacea).
An isopod under the Fucoid understory.
Sea squirts on the under side of a boulder.
Flat topshell (Gibbula umbilicus)

Lower shore with Serrated wrack (Fucus serratus),
Osmundea Spp. and chlorphyta alga.
Keel worm (Serpulidae)
Serrated wrack (Fucus serratus) and encrusting fauna -
Keel worms (Serpulidae), encrusting coralline algae and spirobid worms.
Sea Hare (Aplysia punctata) out of water.
Sea Hare (Aplysia punctata)
Sea Hare (Aplysia punctata)
Sea Hare (Aplysia punctata)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Coralline Rockpools - Western Isles- Barra

 Rock pooling destination: Vatersay, Western Isles - Barra, June 2012

The shore at Vatersay is comprised of sand with pebbles and cobbles forming a bank on the upper shore. There is a rock out crop along the beach in which coralline rock pools can be found.

Within these rock pools the corraline crusts dominate with Corallina officinalis occurring around the edges and ephemeral green seaweeds and Osumdea spp. occurring in patches within the pools.

Limpet grazing restricts further algae growth and limits larval settlement of other species so that mussels are confined to crevices and barnacles occur in sporadic clumps.

Below are photographs of some of the organisms encountered whilst rock pooling in this habitat:


Ringed Plover breeding in the pebbles/cobble bank of the upper shore.
Biotope description: LS.LCS.Sh.BarSh (Barren littoral Shingle)

Coralline rockpools, Biotope description:
LR.FLR.Rkp.Cor (Coralline crust- dominated shallow eulittoral rockpools).
Limpets, Patella vulgata occur on the edges of the rockpools and the blue mussel, Mytulis edulis occurs within crevices, green seaweeds and Corallina officinalis occur as patches within the rockpools.

Corallina officinalis on the edge of the rockpool.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Rocky Shore- Oban

Rock pooling destination: Oban, Scotland, June 2012

The shore at Oban is comprised of pebbles and cobbles with occasional boulders and rock out crops that are colonised by fucoid seaweeds. The marine organisms are aggregated beneath the fucoid understory, under boulders, within crevices and beneath rock overhangs.

Barnacles, fucoid seaweeds, limpets, beadlet anemones and periwinkles are the most commonly encountered species, with the barnacles even growing on the fucoid fronds and other gastropods!
Below are photographs of some of the organisms encountered whilst rock pooling in this habitat:

Shore  below Oban. Habitat Classification:
LR.MLR.BF (Barnacles and fucoids on moderately exposed shores) 
Spiral wrack (Fucus spiralis)

Channel wrack (Pelvetia canaliculata)

Limpets and barnacles on boulder

Barnacles and limpet "growing" into the footprint of a limpet that has not returned.


Bladder wrack (Fucus vesiculosus)

Beadlet anemone (Actinia equina), Dog Whelk (Nucella lapillus) and Grey topshell (Gibbula cineraria)

Barnacles living upon an Edible periwinkle (Littorina littorea)

Edible periwinkle (Littorina littorea), Limpets and Barnacles
Serrated wrack (Fucus serratus)


Ragworm (Neridae)

Sponge (Porifera)

Grey Topshell (Gibbula cineraria)

Barnacles on Fucoid frond

Flat periwinkle (Littorina sp)

Beadlet anemone (Actinaria equina)

Rag worm (Neridae)
Sand Mason ( Lanice conchilega)

Beadlet anemone (Actina equina)

Coral weed (Corallina officinalis)