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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.

   Sublittoral sand in variable salinity (estuaries)

Physical habitat description

Salinity Variable (18-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Moderately exposed, Sheltered, Very sheltered
Tidal streams Strong (3-6 kn), Moderately strong (1-3 kn), Weak (>1 kn)
Substratum Medium to very fine sand
Zone Infralittoral
Depth Band 0-5 m, 5-10 m, 10-20 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.SSa.SSaVS Sublittoral sand in variable salinity (estuaries)

  • 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.


Clean sands that occur in the upper reaches of marine inlets, especially estuaries, where water movement is moderately strong, allowing the sedimentation of sand but not the finer silt fraction. The habitat typically lacks a significant seaweed component and is characterised by brackish-water tolerant fauna, particularly amphipods, polychaetes and mysid shrimps.


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 Typical abundance - (count per m2) % of core records where taxon was recorded
Eurydice pulchra 27 4 21-40%
Nephtys cirrosa 17 Common 9 21-40%
Neomysis integer 13 Frequent 6 21-40%
Capitella capitata 13 Frequent 8 21-40%
Gammarus salinus 5 3 1-20%

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.SSa.SSaVS Sublittoral sand in variable salinity (estuaries)
2004 (04.05) SS.SSa.SSaVS Sublittoral sand in variable salinity (estuaries)
1997 (97.06) SS.IGS.EstGS Estuarine sublittoral gravels and sands

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