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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Sparse fauna on highly mobile sublittoral shingle (cobbles and pebbles)

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Extremely exposed, Exposed
Tidal streams Moderately strong (1-3 kn), Weak (>1 kn)
Substratum Shingle and/or pebbles
Zone Infralittoral
Depth Band 5-10 m, 10-20 m, 20-30 m, 30-50 m
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 SS.SCS.ICS.SSh Sparse fauna on highly mobile sublittoral shingle (cobbles and pebbles)

  • 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.


Sublittoral clean shingle and pebble habitats with a lack of conspicuous fauna. Unstable, rounded pebbles and stones (as opposed to sub-angular cobbles, which are often found lying on or embedded in other sediment) that are strongly affected by tidal steams and/or wave action can support few animals and are consequently faunally impoverished. The species composition of this biotope may be highly variable seasonally and is likely to comprise of low numbers of robust polychaetes or bivalves with occasional epibiota including echinoderms and crustacea such as Liocarcinus spp. and Pagurus spp. In more settled periods there may be colonisation by anemones such as Urticina felina and small populations of hydroids and Bryozoa.


This biotope is found in marine inlets with very strong tidal currents as well as in very wave exposed open coast environments.

Temporal variation

The faunal composition of this biotope is likely to be highly variable as a result of seasonal changes in wave and tidal energy.

Characterising species

Taxon Relative importance of taxon for defining this community (%) Typical abundance - SACFOR scale % of core records where taxon was recorded
Chaetopterus variopedatus 100 Rare 81-100 %
Spisula elliptica 100 81-100 %

Similar biotopes or habitat types

Not applicable or unknown.

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