Foramaniferans and Thyasira sp. in deep circalittoral soft mud
|Within Vocab||Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 97.06|
|Definition||In deep water and soft muds of Boreal and Arctic areas, a community dominated by foraminiferans and the bivalve Thyasira sp. may occur (Thorson 1957; Künitzer et al. 1992). This community typically occurs in water deeper than 100 m in the northern North Sea (Künitzer et al. 1992) and have been referred to as 'Foraminifera communities' by other workers (e.g. Stephen 1923; Thorson 1957; McIntyre 1961). Foraminiferans such as Saccammina, Psammosphaera, Crithionina and Astorhiza are important components of this community with dead tests numbering thousands per m2 (see Stephen 1923; McIntyre 1961) and sometimes visible from benthic photography (Mackie, Oliver & Rees 1995). It is likely that a community dominated by Astorhiza in the Irish Sea is another distinct biotope (E.I.S. Rees pers. comm. 1997). Polychaetes, e.g. Paraonis gracilis, Myriochee heeri, Spiophanes kroyeri, Tharyx sp., Lumbrineris tetraura, are also important components of this biotope. These communities appear to have no equivalent on the continental plateau further south (Glémarec 1973) but are known from the edge of the Celtic Deep in the Irish Sea (Mackie, Oliver & Rees 1995). The benthos in these offshore areas has been shown to be principally Formanifera and similar, rich communities may exist in Scottish sealochs (McIntyre 1961). Shallower water may give rise to a Brissopsis-dominated communities (CMU.BriAchi). Communities from yet deeper (northern) waters at the extremes of the North Sea may be reminiscent, although dissimilar to COS.ForThy (see Pearson et al. 1996) reflecting a higher proportion of silt/clay. A fully Arctic version of this biotope has also been described (Thorson 1934, 1957) although it should be noted that Jones (1950) considered this Boreal foraminiferan community to be part of a 'Boreal Deep Mud Association'.|
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