Maerl Beds

What is it: 

Maerl beds are found along the entire west coast of Britain but the vast majority are in Scotland where they are widespread along the west coast, the Hebrides and the Northern Isles and together represent about 30% of all maerl beds in north-west Europe. Maerl is extremely slow growing and some of the extensive beds may be over 1,000 years old.

Maerl beds create a complex, open structure that supports diverse associated communities of red seaweeds and animals such as sea firs, scallops, brittlestars, sea cucumbers and tube dwelling sea anemones and including the juvenile stages of a range of commercially important species.

Links to Scotland's Marine Atlas: 
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Maerl beds © Marine Scotland