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Marine Habitat Classification


Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Hediste diversicolor and Streblospio shrubsolii in littoral sandy mud


Habitat (physical) description

Salinity Variable (18-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Sheltered, Very sheltered, Extremely sheltered
Tidal streams
Substratum Mud; sandy mud
Zone
Depth Band Lower shore, Mid shore
Other Features

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 LS.LMu.UEst.Hed.Str <I>Hediste diversicolor</I> and <I>Streblospio shrubsolii</I> in littoral sandy mud

  • 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'

Point data based on records in the UK Marine Recorder Snapshot.

Description

Mud and sandy mud shores in sheltered marine inlets and estuaries subject to variable or reduced salinity. The biotope is typically found on the mid and lower shores and is often associated with shallow layers of cobbles and pebbles in the sediment in the upper and mid estuary. The sediment is anoxic close to the surface and remains water saturated during low tide. The infaunal polychaete community is dominated by dense Hediste diversicolor, as well as species with a limited salinity range tolerance such as Streblospio shrubsolii and Manayunkia aestuarina. Oligochaetes, including Heterochaeta costata and Tubificoides benedii are often abundant, and the amphipod Corophium volutator is often common.

Situation

Hed.Str may occur on the same shores as HedMacScr, HedMac, NhomAph or Hed.Cvol. Higher up on the shore, and/or further towards the head of the estuary, Hed.Ol may occur, changing to Tben at the upper extreme of the estuary.

Temporal variation

Enteromorpha spp. or Ulva lactuca may form mats on the surface of the sediment during the summer months, particularly in areas of freshwater influence and/or where there is nutrient enrichment.

Characterising Species

Taxon Relative importance of taxon for defining this community (%) Typical abundance - SACFOR scale Typical abundance - (count per m2) % of core records where taxon was recorded
Hediste diversicolor 20 Super abundant 2020 81-100 %
Streblospio shrubsolii 23 Abundant 3033 61-80 %
Manayunkia aestuarina 7 Common 4526 61-80 %
Oligochaeta 11 Abundant 6592 21-40 %
Heterochaeta costata 5 Abundant 2386 21-40 %
Tubificoides benedii 18 Abundant 4557 41-60 %
Corophium volutator 6 Common 2897 41-60 %

Similar biotopes

LS.LMu.UEst.Hed.Ol
Occurs under more reduced salinity conditions. The infauna is a lot less diverse, dominated by H. diversicolor and oligochaetes. S. shrubsolii is absent.

LS.LMu.UEst.NhomStr
Occurs on slightly more marine, exposed shores, with a higher diversity of polychaete species, but hardly any other infauna.

LS.LMu.MEst.HedMacScr
Occurs at a greater range of shore heights on slightly more marine, exposed shores. The infauna is more diverse, most notably a range of bivalve species occur, including Scrobicularia plana.

LS.LMu.UEst.Hed.Cvol
Occurs under similar physical environments, sometimes higher on the shore. The infauna is less diverse, with lower numbers of oligochaete and polychaete species. S. shrubsolii is absent.

Biotope history

Classification Habitat code
97.06 LMU.Mu.HedStr (part)

Photos

LS.LMU.UEST.Hed.Str Hediste diversicolor and Streblospio shrubsolii in littoral sandy mud, N shore of Skippers Island, Hamford Water. Colin McLeod © JNCC
LS.LMU.UEST.Hed.Str Hediste diversicolor and Streblospio shrubsolii in littoral sandy mud, N shore of Skippers Island, Hamford Water. Colin McLeod © JNCC
LS.LMU.UEST.Hed.Str Hediste diversicolor and Streblospio shrubsolii in littoral sandy mud, W of Manningtree railway bridge, River Stour. Matthew Frost © JNCC
LS.LMU.UEST.Hed.Str Hediste diversicolor and Streblospio shrubsolii in littoral sandy mud, W of Manningtree railway bridge, River Stour. Matthew Frost © JNCC
LS.LMU.UEST.Hed.Str Hediste diversicolor and Streblospio shrubsolii in littoral sandy mud, N shore of Skippers Island, Hamford Water. Colin McLeod © JNCC
LS.LMU.UEST.Hed.Str Hediste diversicolor and Streblospio shrubsolii in littoral sandy mud, N shore of Skippers Island, Hamford Water. Colin McLeod © JNCC

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