Polychaetes and Cerastoderma edule in fine sand and muddy sand shores
|Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 97.06
|Fine sand on extensive moderately wave-exposed and sheltered shores, where the sediment is sufficiently stable to accommodate populations of Cerastoderma edule (at least occasional) and other bivalves. The community is found mainly on the mid and lower shore where the sediment is water-saturated most of the time. Slightly muddy conditions at some sites are reflected in a reduced amphipod population and a wider range of polychaetes compared to Amphipod-polychaete biotopes (LGS.AP). The community consists of polychaetes Nephtys hombergii, Scoloplos armiger, Pygospio elegans, Spio filicornis and Capitella capitata, oligochaetes, the amphipod Bathyporeia sarsi, and the bivalves Cerastoderma edule and Macoma balthica. This biotope carries commercially viable stocks of cockles Cerastoderma edule. It is therefore possible to find areas of this habitat where the infauna may have been changed through recent cockle dredging. Higher on the shore, adjacent to this biotope, LMS.BatCor is found with fewer polychaete and bivalve species due to the drier sediment found on the upper shore. LMS.PCer has broad transition areas with LMS.MacAre, LMU.HedMac.Pyg and LMU.HedMac.Are. LMS.MacAre and LMU.HedMac.Are are indicated by the presence of Arenicola marina, the latter also having Hediste (Nereis) diversicolor, oligochaetes and other species that indicate a more sheltered, muddy sand biotope. LMU.HedMac.Pyg has a greater proportion of the polychaetes Hediste diversicolor, Pygospio elegans and Eteone longa, oligochaetes and the amphipod Corophium volutator. The species richness of LMS.PCer, particularly for polychaetes and bivalves, is greater than the more wave-exposed biotopes LGS.AP.
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