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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

To understand more about what this page is describing, see How to use the classification. See also How to cite.

   Circalittoral coarse sediment

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Exposed, Moderately exposed
Tidal streams Moderately strong (1-3 kn), Weak (>1 kn), Very weak (negligible)
Substratum Coarse sand and gravel with a minor finer sand fraction
Zone Infralittoral - lower, Circalittoral
Depth Band 10-20 m, 20-30 m, 30-50 m
Other Features

Biotope origin

Derived using data from Various
Faunal group Epifauna/infauna

Download comparative physical and biological data. The comparative tables enable a rapid comparison of the species composition and principal physical characteristics between a given set of biotopes.

Distribution of habitat SS.SCS.CCS Circalittoral coarse sediment

  • Records used to define the biotope (core records)
  • Other records assigned to this biotope, marked as 'certain'
  • Other records assigned to this biotope, marked as 'uncertain'
  • Predicted extent of the level 3 (for sublittoral rock & deep sea) or 4 (for sublittoral sediment) habitat

Point data based on records in the UK Marine Recorder Snapshot. Predicted habitat extent is from UKSeaMap.


Tide-swept circalittoral coarse sands, gravel and shingle generally in depths of over 15-20 m. This habitat may be found in tidal channels of marine inlets, along exposed coasts and offshore. This habitat, as with shallower coarse sediments, may be characterised by robust infaunal polychaetes, mobile crustacea and bivalves. Certain species of sea cucumber (e.g. Neopentadactyla) may also be prevalent in these areas along with the lancelet Branchiostoma lanceolatum.


No situation data available.

Temporal variation

No temporal data available.

Characterising species

Taxon Relative importance of taxon for defining this community (%) Typical abundance - SACFOR scale % of core records where taxon was recorded
Neopentadactyla mixta 29 Frequent 41-60%
Protodorvillea kefersteini 12 61-80%
Nemertea 11 Common 61-80%
Asterias rubens 10 Occasional 41-60%
Spirobranchus triqueter 10 Frequent 21-40%
Glycera lapidum 9 Frequent 41-60%
Lanice conchilega 6 Occasional 21-40%
Ampelisca spinipes 5 Frequent 41-60%
Chaetozone zetlandica 5 21-40%
Ophiura albida 5 Frequent 21-40%
Mediomastus fragilis 4 41-60%
Prionospio cirrifera 4 21-40%
Pagurus bernhardus 4 Occasional 21-40%
Pecten maximus 4 Occasional 21-40%
Nematoda 3 21-40%
Echinocyamus pusillus 3 Common 21-40%
Pholoe inornata 3 21-40%
Echinus esculentus 3 Occasional 21-40%
Cerianthus lloydii 2 Occasional 21-40%
Chaetopterus variopedatus 2 Occasional 21-40%
Hilbigneris gracilis 2 Common 21-40%
Nemertesia antennina 2 Occasional 21-40%
Eunereis longissima 2 21-40%
Sabellaria spinulosa 2 21-40%
Scoloplos armiger 2 21-40%
Spiophanes bombyx 2 Frequent 21-40%
Abra alba 1 Frequent 21-40%
Hesionura elongata 1 21-40%
Lanice conchilega 1 21-40%
Notomastus latericeus 1 21-40%
Owenia fusiformis 1 21-40%
Seraphsidae 1 21-40%

Similar biotopes or habitat types

Not applicable or unknown.

Classification history of this biotope or habitat type

Classification version Code Habitat name
2015 (15.03) SS.SCS.CCS Circalittoral coarse sediment
2004 (04.05) SS.SCS.CCS Circalittoral coarse sediment
1997 (97.06) Part of SS.CGS Circalittoral gravels and sands

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