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Marine Habitat Classification


4 results for 'SS.SCS.ICS.MoeVen'

   SS.SCS.ICS.MoeVen  Moerella spp. with venerid bivalves in infralittoral gravelly sand

Infralittoral medium to coarse sand and gravelly sand which is subject to moderately strong water movement from tidal streams may be characterised by Moerella spp. with the polychaete Glycera lapidum (agg.) and venerid bivalves. Typical species include Asbjornsenia pygmaea or M. donacina with other robust bivalves such as Dosinia lupinus, Timoclea ovata, Goodallia triangularis and Chamelea gallina. Other infauna include nephtyid and spionid polychaetes and amphipod crustacea. Another important component of this biotope in some areas is the bivalve Spisula solida (see Kuehne & Rachnor 1996) which may be common or abundant. In conjunction with SS.SSa.IMuSa.FfabMag this biotope may form part of the 'Shallow Venus Community', the 'Boreal Off-shore Sand Association' and the 'Goniadella-Spisula association' of previous workers (see Petersen 1918; Jones 1951; Thorson 1957; Salzwedel, Rachor & Gerdes 1985). Epifaunal communities may be reduced in this biotope when compared to SS.SSa.IMuSa.FfabMag; both types may have surface sand waves which may be indicative of the presence of venerid bivalves (Warwick & Davies 1977). This hypothesis, however, requires testing. Remote grab sampling is likely to under-estimate venerid bivalves and other deep-burrowing and more dispersed species such as Paphia, Ensis and Spatangus. In southern areas of the UK and the North Sea, in slightly siltier sand and shelly sand, SS.SCS.ICS.MoeVen may give way to the other Spisula biotope SS.SSa.IMuSa.SsubNhom. Together these two biotopes replace the old biotope IGS.FaG.Sell. A variation of the biotope may include the presence of maerl, which may support diverse epifaunal communties and act as a transition between biotopes.

   SS.SCS.CCS.Blan  Branchiostoma lanceolatum in circalittoral coarse sand with shell gravel

Gravel and coarse sand with shell gravel often contains communities of robust venerid bivalves (SS.SCS.CCS.MedLumVen). Shallower examples, such as the biotope presented here, may support a significant population of Branchiostoma lanceolatum. Other conspicuous infauna may include Echinocyamus pusillus, Glycera lapidum, Polygordius, Pisione remota, and Arcopagia crassa (in the south of the UK). Sessile epifauna are typically a minor component of this community. This biotope has been described from a limited number of records and as such may need revising when further data become available. Variants to this biotope may occur in deeper, circalittoral waters, with slightly muddy or gravelly sediments. These transitional forms of the biotope to muddier, or more gravelly sediments may be characterised by polychaetes such as Notomastus latericeus, and the amphipod Urothoe marina. This biotope is related to the 'Boreal Offshore Gravel Association' and 'Deep Venus Community' described by other workers (Ford 1923; Jones 1951), and may also be closely associated with the 'Venus fasciata' community of Cabioch (Glemarec 1973). This biotope may be an epibiotic overlay of the biotope SS.SCS.ICS.MoeVen or SS.SCS.CCS.MedLumVen.

   SS.SMp.SSgr.Zmar  Zostera marina/angustifolia beds on lower shore or infralittoral clean or muddy sand

Expanses of clean or muddy fine sand and sandy mud in shallow water and on the lower shore (typically to about 5 m depth) can have dense stands of Zostera marina/angustifolia [Note: the taxonomic status of Z. angustifolia is currently under consideration]. In SS.Smp.SSgr.Zmar the community composition may be dominated by these Zostera species and therefore characterised by the associated biota. Other biota present can be closely related to that of areas of sediment not containing Zostera marina, for example, Saccharina latissima, Chorda filum and infaunal species such as Ensis spp. and Echinocardium cordatum (e.g. Bamber 1993). From the available data it would appear that a number of sub-biotopes may be found within this biotope dependant on the nature of the substratum and it should be noted that sparse beds of Zostera marina may be more readily characterised by their infaunal community. For example, coarse marine sands with seagrass have associated communities similar to SS.SCS.ICS.MoeVen, SS.SCS.ICS.SLan or SS.SCS.ICS.Glap whilst muddy sands may have infaunal populations related to SS.SSa.IMuSa.EcorEns, SS.SMu.IMuSa.AreISa and SS.SSa.IMuSa.FfabMag. Muddy examples of this biotope may show similarities to SS.SMu.ISaMu.CundAasp, SS.SMu.IFiMu.PhiVir, SS.SMu.IFiMu.Are or SS.SMu.CSaMu.AfilKurAnit. At present the data does not permit a detailed description of these sub-biotopes but it is likely that with further study the relationships between these assemblages will be clarified. Furthermore, whilst the Zostera biotope may be considered an epibiotic overlay of established sedimentary communities it is likely that the presence of Zostera will modify the underlying community to some extent. For example, beds of this biotope in the south-west of Britain may contain conspicuous and distinctive assemblages of Lusitanian fauna such as Laomedea angulata, Hippocampus spp. and Stauromedusae. In addition, it is known that seagrass beds play an important role in the trophic status of marine and estuarine waters, acting as an important conduit or sink for nutrients and consequently some examples of Zostera marina beds have markedly anoxic sediments associated with them.

   SS.SSa.IMuSa.FfabMag  Fabulina fabula and Magelona mirabilis with venerid bivalves and amphipods in infralittoral compacted fine muddy sand

In stable, fine, compacted sands and slightly muddy sands in the infralittoral and littoral fringe, communities dominated by venerid bivalves such as Chamelea gallina occur. This biotope may be characterised by a prevalence of Fabulina fabula and Magelona mirabilis or other species of Magelona (e.g. M. filiformis). Other taxa, including the amphipod Bathyporeia spp. and polychaetes such as Chaetozone setosa, Spiophanes bombyx and Nephtys spp. are also commonly recorded. In some areas the bivalve Spisula elliptica may also occur in this biotope in low numbers. The community is relatively stable in its species composition, however, numbers of Magelona and F. fabulina tend to fluctuate. Around the Scilly Isles numbers of F. fabulina in this biotope are uncommonly low whilst these taxa are often found in higher abundances in muddier communities (presumably due to the higher organic content). In deeper, offshore variants of this biotope, although still present, there is a reduction in the component species F. fabula, whilst Magelona filiformis, Bathyporeia spp., annelid and nemertean worms, and Amphiuridae may be more common. Consequently, it may be better to revise this biotope on the basis of less ubiquitous taxa such as key amphipod species (E.I.S. Rees pers. comm. 2002) although more data is required to test this. SS.SSa.IMuSa.FfabMag and SS.SCS.ICS.MoeVen are collectively considered to be the 'shallow Venus community' or 'boreal off-shore sand association' of previous workers (see Petersen 1918; Jones 1950; Thorson 1957). These communities have been shown to correlate well with particular levels of current induced 'bed-stress' (Warwick & Uncles 1980). The 'Arctic Venus Community' and 'Mediterranean Venus Community' described to the north and south of the UK (Thorson 1957) probably occur in the same habitat and appears to be the same biotope described as the Ophelia borealis community in northern France and the central North Sea (K?nitzer et al. 1992). Sites with this biotope may undergo transitions in community composition. The epibiotic biotopes SS.SSa.IMUSa.EcorEns and SS.SSa.IMuSa.AreISa may also overlay this biotope in some areas.
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