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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.


Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt), Variable (18-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Exposed, Moderately exposed, Sheltered, Very sheltered
Tidal streams Very strong (>6 kn), Strong (3-6 kn), Moderately strong (1-3 kn)
Substratum Shingle; sand
Depth Band Mid shore, Strandline, Upper 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.LSa.St Strandline

  • 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.


The strandline is the shifting line of decomposing seaweed and debris which is typically left behind on sediment (and some rocky shores) at the upper extreme of the intertidal at each high tide. These ephemeral bands of seaweed often shelter communities of sandhoppers.A fauna of dense juvenile mussels may be found in sheltered firths, attached to algae on shores of pebbles, gravel, sand, mud and shell debris with a strandline of fucoid algae.


Strandlines may occur in bands along the upper extreme of any sediment shore and some rocky shores.

Temporal variation

Strandlines tend to be mobile, as they consist of driftlines of decomposing seaweed and other debris, which will decompose, and be shifted by the tide. The amount of debris washed up on strandlines, and hence the extent of the strandline, may vary significantly depending on factors such as recent storms or high tides.

Characterising species

Taxon Relative importance of taxon for defining this community (%) Typical abundance - SACFOR scale % of core records where taxon was recorded
Talitrus saltator 87 Common 81-100%
Talitrus saltator 27 61-80%
Talitridae 26 21-40%
Deshayesorchestia deshayesii 26 41-60%
Oligochaeta 11 Common 41-60%
Enchytraeidae 2 1-20%

Similar biotopes or habitat types

Not applicable or unknown.

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