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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Phragmites australis swamp and reed beds

Physical habitat description

Salinity Low (<18ppt)
Wave exposure Extremely sheltered
Tidal streams Very weak (negligible)
Substratum Mud; peat; sand
Zone Infralittoral - upper
Depth Band 0-5 m
Other Features

Biotope origin

Derived using data from Various
Faunal group Epifauna

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.SMp.Ang.NVC S4 <I>Phragmites australis</I> swamp and reed beds

  • 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.


Permanently low salinity muds or peaty muddy sands with some gravel which supports Phragmites australis reed beds. These reed beds are often found in enclosed water bodies influenced by freshwater inflow and may have notable quantities of decaying reed material. The substratum may be mixtures of mud, peaty mud, sand and some gravel. Filamentous green algae and charophytes such as Lamprothamnium papulosum and Chara aspera may also be found in association with this biotope as well as a the freshwater quillwort Myriophyllum spp. The infaunal component of this biotope is poorly known. This biotope is further described as NVC type S4 (Rodwell 1995).


No situation data available.

Temporal variation

No temporal data available.

Characterising species

Taxon Typical abundance - SACFOR scale % of core records where taxon was recorded
Chara aspera Common
Lamprothamnium papulosum Common
Myriophyllum Occasional
Phragmites Super abundant 81-100%

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.SMp.Ang.NVC S4 Phragmites australis swamp and reed beds
2004 (04.05) SS.SMp.Ang.NVC S4 Phragmites australis swamp and reed beds
1997 (97.06) SS.IMU.Ang.NVC S4 Phragmites australis swamp and reed beds
1996 (6.95) IMU.Phr Phragmites australis swamp and reed beds

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