CONSERVATION OF MARINE ECOSYSTEMS (WITH FORAMINIFERA) IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
The Tor Bay sea grass (Zostera marina) meadows, with their distinctive assemblages of foraminifera, ostracods, cuttlefish and sea-horses are an important candidate-MCZ in S.W. England as they represent a very high percentage of this habitat in England. These meadows contain a large number of epiphytal Elphidium crispum that, in summer, are found attached to the fronds.
The Helford River and Fal Estuary SAC in Cornwall is important for beds of living red algae (Lithothamnion corallioides and Phymatolithon calcareum) which is locally known as maërl. Living in this fragile community are diverse assemblages of foraminifera and other benthos. Maërl beds provide an important habitat that is rare in the UK and Northern France, including the Baie du Mont-St-Michel. Fossil maërl beds are also known in the Holocene sediments of Brittany and near the island of Jersey. These fossil occurrences, 2000–3000 years B.P., also contain diverse assemblages of foraminifera and demonstrate the continuity of this benthic ecosystem.