EUNIS habitat classification 2012 amended 2019 > A - Marine habitats > A5 - Sublittoral sediment > A5.6 - Sublittoral biogenic reefs > A5.61 - Sublittoral polychaete worm reefs on sediment > A5.611 - Sabellaria spinulosa on stable circalittoral mixed sediment

Sabellaria spinulosa on stable circalittoral mixed sediment

English name: Sabellaria spinulosa on stable circalittoral mixed sediment

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code A5.611
Bern Convention Included in a Resolution 4 habitat type at a higher level (A5)

Description (English)

The tube-building polychaete Sabellaria spinulosa at high abundances on mixed sediment. These species typically forms loose agglomerations of tubes forming a low lying matrix of sand, gravel, mud and tubes on the seabed. The infauna comprises typical sublittoral polychaete species such as Protodorvillea kefersteini, Pholoe synophthalmica, Harmothoe spp, Scoloplos armiger, Mediomastus fragilis, Lanice conchilega and cirratulids, together with the bivalve Abra alba, and tube building amphipods such as Ampelisca spp. The epifauna comprise a variety of bryozoans including Flustra foliacea, Alcyonidium diaphanum and Cellepora pumicosa, in addition to calcareous tubeworms, pycnogonids, hermit crabs and amphipods. The reefs formed by Sabellaria consolidate the sediment and allow the settlement of other species not found in adjacent habitats leading to a diverse community of epifaunal and infauna species. The development of such reefs is assisted by the settlement behaviour of larval Sabellaria which are known to selectively settle in areas of suitable sediment and particularly on existing Sabellaria tubes (Tait and Dipper, 1997; Wilson 1929). These reefs are particularly affected by dredging or trawling and in heavily dredged or disturbed areas an impoverished community may be left (e.g. A5.143) particularly if the activity or disturbance is prolonged. However, it is likely that reefs of S. spinulosa can recover quite quickly from short term or intermediate levels of disturbance as found by Vorberg (2000) in the case of disturbance from shrimp fisheries and recovery will be accelerated if some of the reef is left intact following disturbance as this will assist larval settlement of the species.
Situation: S. spinulosa reefs are often found in areas with quite high levels of natural sediment disturbance.
Temporal variation: In some areas the reefs are periodically destroyed by storm events leading to a cyclical shift in biotopes from A5.611 to other biotopes e.g. A5.143 or A5.261 with re-establishment of the Sabellaria colonies in the following year.

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Invertebrates Abra alba
Invertebrates Alcyonidium diaphanum
Invertebrates Cellepora pumicosa
Invertebrates Flustra foliacea
Invertebrates Lanice conchilega
Invertebrates Mediomastus fragilis
Invertebrates Pholoe synophthalmica
Invertebrates Protodorvillea kefersteini
Invertebrates Sabellaria spinulosa
Invertebrates Scoloplos armiger
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Abra alba Invertebrates
Alcyonidium diaphanum Invertebrates
Cellepora pumicosa Invertebrates
Flustra foliacea Invertebrates
Lanice conchilega Invertebrates
Mediomastus fragilis Invertebrates
Pholoe synophthalmica Invertebrates
Protodorvillea kefersteini Invertebrates
Sabellaria spinulosa Invertebrates
Scoloplos armiger Invertebrates

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
Marine Habitat Classification Britain/Ireland 0405 SS.SBR.PoR.SspiMx <I>Sabellaria spinulosa</I> on stable circalittoral mixed sediment source
CORINE Land Cover 5.2.3. Sea and ocean n/a
Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Habitats (UK) 36 Sabellaria spinulosa reefs wider
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A5.611 Sabellaria spinulosa on stable circalittoral mixed sediment same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 A4.441 Sabellaria spinulosa and Polydora spp. on stable circalittoral mixed sediment same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 A4.491 Sabellaria spinulosa and Polydora spp. on stable circalittoral mixed sediment same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199811 A4.91 Sabellaria spinulosa and Polydora spp. on stable circalittoral mixed sediment same
MNCR BioMar 97.06 (Britain & Ireland) CMX.SspiMx Sabellaria spinulosa and Polydora spp. on stable circalittoral mixed sediment same
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