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Marine Habitat Classification


3 results for 'SS.SMu.CFiMu.BlyrAchi'

   SS.SMu.CFiMu.BlyrAchi  Brissopsis lyrifera and Amphiura chiajei in circalittoral mud

Mud in deep offshore, or shallower stable nearshore, waters can be characterised by the urchin Brissopsis lyrifera and the brittle star Amphiura chiajei. Where intense benthic dredge fishing activity occurs, populations of the indicator species, Brissopsis lyrifera may be depressed, although broken tests may remain (E.I.S. Rees pers. comm. 1997; M. Costello pers. comm. 1997). Low numbers of the seapen Virgularia mirabilis may be found in many examples of this biotope. In addition, in certain areas of the UK such as the northern Irish Sea, this community may also contain Nephrops norvegicus and can consequently be the focus for fishing activity (Mackie, Oliver & Rees 1995). Infaunal species in this community are similar to those found in SS.SMu.CFiMu.SpnMeg and include the polychaetes Nephtys hystricis, Pectinaria belgica, Glycera spp. and Lagis koreni and the bivalves Myrtea spinifera and Nucula sulcata. This community is the 'Boreal Offshore Mud Association' and 'Brissopsis - Chiajei' communities described by other workers (Petersen 1918; Jones 1950).

   SS.SMu.OMu.AfalPpin  Ampharete falcata turf with Parvicardium pinnulatum on cohesive muddy sediment near margins of deep stratified seas

Dense stands of Ampharete falcata tubes which protrude from muddy sediments, appearing as a turf or meadow in localised areas. These areas seem to occur on a crucial point on a depositional gradient between areas of tide-swept mobile sands and quiescent stratifying muds. Dense populations of the small bivalve Parvicardium pinnulatum occur in the superficial sediment. Other infauna in this diverse biotope include Lumbrineris scopa, Levinsenia sp., Prionospio steenstrupi, Diplocirrus glaucus and Praxillella affinis, although a wide variety of other infaunal species may also be found. Both the brittlestars Amphiura filiformis and Amphiura chiajei may be present together with Nephrops norvegicus in higher abundance than the SS.SMu.CFiMu.BlyrAchi or SS.SMu.CSaMu.AfilKurAnit biotopes. Substantial populations of mobile epifauna such as Pandalus montagui and smaller fish also occur, together with those that can cling to the tubes, such as Macropodia spp. A similar turf of worm tubes formed by the maldanid polychaete Melinna cristata has been recorded from Northumberland (Buchanan 1963). Nephrops trawling may severely damage this biotope and it is possible that such activity has destroyed examples of this biotope in the Irish Sea (E.I.S. Rees pers. comm. 2002).

   SS.SMu.CFiMu.SpnMeg  Seapens and burrowing megafauna in circalittoral fine mud

Plains of fine mud at depths greater than about 15 m may be heavily bioturbated by burrowing megafauna; burrows and mounds may form a prominent feature of the sediment surface with conspicuous populations of seapens, typically Virgularia mirabilis and Pennatula phosphorea. The burrowing crustacea present typically include Nephrops norvegicus, which is frequently recorded from surface observations although grab sampling may fail to sample this species. Indeed, some forms of sampling may also fail to indicate seapens as characterising species. This biotope also seems to occur in deep offshore waters in the North Sea and the Irish Sea. The burrowing anemone Cerianthus lloydii and the ubiquitous epibenthic scavengers Asterias rubens, Pagurus bernhardus and Liocarcinus depurator are present in low numbers in this biotope whilst the brittlestars Ophiura albida and Ophiura ophiura are sometimes present, but are much more common in slightly coarser sediments. Low numbers of the anemone Pachycerianthus multiplicatus may also be found, and this species, which is scarce in the UK, appears to be restricted to this habitat (Plaza & Sanderson 1997). The infauna may contain significant populations of the polychaetes Pholoe spp., Glycera spp., Nephtys spp., spionids, Pectinaria belgica and Terebellides stroemii, the bivalves Nucula sulcata, Varicorbula gibba and Thyasira flexuosa, and the echinoderm Brissopsis lyrifera. The biotope may include a range of the component fauna, potentially including burrowing megafauna and seapens, burrowing megafauna without seapens or seapens without burrowing megafauna depending on local environmental conditions. This biotope is closely related to the biotope SS.SMu.CFiMu.MegMax and SS.SMu.CFiMu.SpnMeg.Fun and may be have infaunal communities similar to the biotopes SS.SMu.CFiMu.BlyrAchi or SS.SMu.IFiMu.PhiVir, depending on environmental factors.
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