Littoral mud

English name: Littoral mud

Description (English)

Shores of fine particulate sediment, mostly in the silt and clay fraction (particle size less than 0.063 mm in diameter), though sandy mud may contain up to 40% sand (mostly very fine and fine sand). Littoral mud typically forms extensive mudflats, though dry compacted mud can form steep and even vertical structures, particularly at the top of the shore adjacent to saltmarshes. Little oxygen penetrates these cohesive sediments, and an anoxic layer is often present within millimetres of the sediment surface. Littoral mud can support communities characterised by polychaetes, bivalves and oligochaetes. Most muddy shores are subject to some freshwater influence, as most of them occur along the shores of estuaries. Mudflats on sheltered lower estuarine shores can support a rich infauna, whereas muddy shores at the extreme upper end of estuaries and which are subject to very low salinity often support very little infauna.
Situation: Muddy shores are principally found along the shores of estuaries where there is enough shelter from wave action to allow fine sediment to settle. Muddy shores may also be present in sheltered inlets, straits and embayments which are not part of major estuarine systems.
Temporal variation: Enteromorpha spp. and Ulva lactuca may form mats on the surface of the mud during the summer months, particularly in areas of nutrient enrichment or where there is significant freshwater influence.

Source:
EUNIS habitat classification
Interpretation Manual of the habitats targeted by Resolution No. 4

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code A2.3
Bern Convention Resolution 4 habitat type (used for designation of Emerald sites)
Relation to Annex I habitat types (EU Habitats Directive)

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description


List

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 200112 14.1 Mud flats and sand flats wider
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 200112 11.27 Soft sediment littoral communities wider
CORINE Land Cover 4.2.3. Intertidal flats n/a
Marine Habitat Classification Britain/Ireland 0405 LS.LMu Littoral mud same
Barcelona Convention 199812 II.1. (MEDIOLITTORAL) MUDS, SANDY MUDS AND SANDS wider
Ramsar Wetland Types G Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats wider
Phase 1 habitat classification (UK) 1993 H11 Intertidal: mud/sand wider
Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Habitats (UK) 33 Mudflats wider
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A2.3 Littoral mud same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 A2.3 Littoral mud same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 A2.3 Littoral muds same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 A2.3 Littoral muds same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199811 A2.3 Littoral muds same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199712 A2.3 Littoral muds same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 199905 14.1 Part of Mud flats and sand flats wider
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 199905 11.27 Part of Soft sediment littoral communities wider
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1997 14 Part of Mud flats and sand flats wider
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1997 11.27 Part of Soft sediment littoral communities wider
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1996 11.27   wider
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1996 14   wider
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1993 14   wider
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1993 11.27   wider
CORINE Biotopes Classification 1991 14   wider
CORINE Biotopes Classification 1989 14   wider
MNCR BioMar 97.06 (Britain & Ireland) LMU Littoral muds same
MNCR BioMar 96.7 (Britain & Ireland) LMU   same
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