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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

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   Saccharina latissima and filamentous red algae on infralittoral sand

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Sheltered, Very sheltered
Tidal streams Weak (>1 kn), Very weak (negligible)
Substratum Mud or muddy sand with shells, gravel or pebbles
Zone Infralittoral - lower
Depth Band 5-10 m, 10-20 m, 20-30 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.KSwSS.SlatR.Sa <I>Saccharina latissima</I> and filamentous red algae on infralittoral sand

  • 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.


Shallow kelp community found on sand and slightly gravelly sand, in moderately exposed and sheltered conditions, with weak tidal currents. The community is characterised by occasional Saccharina latissima with an undergrowth of red algae. Characteristic red seaweeds, as with SS.SMp.KSwSS.SlatR.Gv, include Plocamium cartilagineum, Polyides rotunda, Polysiphonia elongate and Lomentaria clavellosa. Coralline encrusting algae are much less important in this biotope as a result of a lack of suitable substrate. Brown algal species present, as with other SS.SMp.KSwSS.SlatR biotopes, include Desmarestia spp., Dictyota dichotoma and Chorda filum, all at low abundance. The ubiquitous green seaweed Ulva sp. may also be present. The sandy substrate is home to a variety of typical sand dwelling infauna including polychaetes (Scoloplos armiger, Parexogone hebes, and Aricidea (Aricidea) minuta), amphipods (Ampelisca brevicornis), and bivalves (Lucinoma borealis and Abra alba). Arenicola worm casts and Lanice worm tubes may be visible at the sediment surface.


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 % of core records where taxon was recorded
Ampelisca brevicornis 19 81-100%
Abra alba 10 61-80%
Lucinoma borealis 10 61-80%
Scoloplos armiger 10 61-80%
Saccharina latissima 9 Occasional 81-100%
Echinocardium cordatum 8 61-80%
Pagurus bernhardus 8 Frequent 81-100%
Asterias rubens 7 Occasional 81-100%
Parexogone hebes 7 Frequent 61-80%
Aricidea minuta 6 61-80%
Liocarcinus depurator 5 Occasional 61-80%
Arenicola marina 4 Frequent 41-60%
Cochlodesma praetenue 4 61-80%
Nemertea 4 61-80%
Pariambus typicus 4 61-80%
Spiophanes bombyx 4 61-80%
Thracia villosiuscula 4 61-80%
Urothoe elegans 4 61-80%
Lanice conchilega 3 Occasional 41-60%
Carradoriella elongata 3 Occasional 41-60%
Cerianthus lloydii 2 Occasional 41-60%
Chaetopterus variopedatus 2 Occasional 41-60%
Chorda filum 2 Occasional 41-60%
Desmarestia viridis 2 Occasional 41-60%
Ensis 2 Frequent 21-40%
Gibbula magus 2 Occasional 41-60%
Lomentaria clavellosa 2 Occasional 41-60%
Plocamium cartilagineum 2 Occasional 41-60%
Polyides rotunda 2 Occasional 41-60%
Spirobranchus triqueter 2 Occasional 41-60%
Echinus esculentus 2 Occasional 41-60%
Pomatoschistus minutus 2 Occasional 21-40%
Ulva 2 Occasional 41-60%
Cancer pagurus 1 Rare 41-60%
Ceramium 1 Frequent 21-40%
Desmarestia aculeata 1 Occasional 21-40%
Ensis magnus 1 Common 21-40%
Steromphala cineraria 1 Occasional 21-40%
Pecten maximus 1 Occasional 21-40%
Pterothamnion plumula 1 Frequent 21-40%
Seraphsidae 1 Occasional 21-40%

Similar biotopes or habitat types

Similar in species composition, but differ in sediment characteristics and therefore infaunal species composition.

Similar in species composition, but differ in sediment characteristics and therefore in infaunal species composition.

Classification history of this biotope or habitat type

Classification version Code Habitat name
2015 (15.03) SS.SMp.KSwSS.LsacR.Sa Laminaria latissima and filamentous red algae on infralittoral sand
2004 (04.05) SS.SMp.KSwSS.LsacR.Sa Laminaria latissima and filamentous red algae on infralittoral sand
1997 (97.06) Part of SS.IMX.KSwMx.LsacX Laminaria saccharina, Chorda filum and filamentous red seaweeds on sheltered infralittoral sediment

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