Hediste diversicolor and Streblospio shrubsolii in sandy mud or soft mud shores
|Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 97.06
|Sandy mud and mud shores in sheltered marine inlets and estuaries subject to variable or reduced salinity. The biotope is typically found on the mid and lower shores and is often associated with the presence of sea defences, rocky outcrops, rubble training walls or shallow layers of cobbles and pebbles in the sediment in the upper and mid estuary. In addition, the presence of nearby sewage outfalls or a high organic content probably influences the infaunal community. Tidal streams can be strong, further supporting the possibility that this biotope has a disturbed habitat. The infaunal polychaete community includes species with a limited salinity range tolerance such as Streblospio shrubsolii, Tharyx killariensis and Manayunkia aestuarina. In addition to the mentioned polychaetes, Hediste (Nereis) diversicolor, Nephtys hombergii, Pygospio elegans, the burrowing amphipod Corophium volutator, the mud snail Hydrobia ulvae and the bivalves Macoma balthica and Abra tenuis are characterising species. In the absence of the more frequently encountered characterising species, the presence of the isopod Cyathura carinata or polychaetes Polydora spp., Heteromastus filiformis or Ampharete grubei are also indicative of this biotope. The sediment is anoxic and black close to the surface and remains water saturated throughout the tidal cycle. The frequency and abundance of oligochaetes, particularly Tubificoides benedii and Tubificoides pseudogaster, is greater than in LMU.HedMac, whilst the closely related LMU.HedMac.Pyg rarely has Streblospio shrubsolii or Manayunkia aestuarina and has a greater frequency and abundance of Cerastoderma edule and Eteone longa. LMU.HedScr is similar to this biotope, but is slightly less muddy, has a higher frequency and abundance of bivalve species and a less diverse range of polychaete species, reflecting the more stable habitat of LMU.HedScr. The polychaete species richness is greater than in LMU.HedOl. The number of species that may be present in this biotope and the number of transition areas along salinity, wave-exposure and sediment particle size continua make this biotope potentially very variable in species content.
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