EUNIS habitat classification 2017 > M - Marine benthic habitats > MB5 - Infralittoral sand > MB52 - Atlantic infralittoral sand > MB522 - Seagrass beds on Atlantic infralittoral sand > MB5223 - Zostera marina/angustifolia beds on Atlantic infralittoral clean or muddy sand

Zostera marina/angustifolia beds on Atlantic infralittoral clean or muddy sand

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code MB5223
Relation to Resolution 4 habitat type (used for designation of Emerald sites)

Description (English)

Expanses of clean or muddy fine sand and sandy mud in shallow water and on the lower shore (typically to about 5 m depth) can have dense stands of Zostera marina/angustifolia Note: the taxonomic status of Z. angustifolia is currently under consideration. In MB5-223 the community composition may be dominated by these Zostera species and therefore characterised by the associated biota. Other biota present can be closely related to that of areas of sediment not containing Zostera marina, for example, Laminaria saccharina, Chorda filum and infaunal species such as Ensis spp. and Echinocardium cordatum (e.g. Bamber 1993). From the available data it would appear that a number of sub-biotopes may be found within this biotope dependant on the nature of the substratum and it should be noted that sparse beds of Zostera marina may be more readily characterised by their infaunal community. For example, coarse marine sands with seagrass have associated communities similar to MB3-233, MB3-237 or MB3-235 whilst muddy sands may have infaunal populations related to MB5-235, MB5-237 and MB5-236. Muddy examples of this biotope may show similarities to MB6-242, MB6-249, MB6-248 or MB6-248. At present the data does not permit a detailed description of these sub-biotopes but it is likely that with further study the relationships between these assemblages will be clarified. Furthermore, whilst the Zostera biotope may be considered an epibiotic overlay of established sedimentary communities it is likely that the presence of Zostera will modify the underlying community to some extent. For example, beds of this biotope in the south-west of Britain may contain conspicuous and distinctive assemblages of Lusitanian fauna such as Laomedea angulata, Hippocampus spp. and Stauromedusae. In addition, it is known that seagrass beds play an important role in the trophic status of marine and estuarine waters, acting as an important conduit or sink for nutrients and consequently some examples of Zostera marina beds have markedly anoxic sediments associated with them.

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Algae Chorda filum
Algae Laminaria saccharina
Flowering Plants Zostera marina
Invertebrates Echinocardium cordatum
Invertebrates Laomedea angulata
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Chorda filum Algae
Laminaria saccharina Algae
Zostera marina Flowering Plants
Echinocardium cordatum Invertebrates
Laomedea angulata Invertebrates

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type Comment
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A5.5331 Zostera marina/angustifolia beds on lower shore or infralittoral clean or muddy sand same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A5.533 Zostera beds in full salinity infralittoral sediments same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 A4.531 Zostera marina/angustifolia beds in sublittoral clean or muddy sand same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 A4.53 Zostera beds in infralittoral sediments same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 A4.531 Zostera beds in lower shore or infralittoral clean or muddy sand same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 A4.531 Zostera beds in lower shore or infralittoral clean or muddy sand same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 A4.53 Zostera beds in infralittoral sediments same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199811 A4.53 Zostera marina and Ruppia beds in sheltered infralittoral fine sand and mud same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199811 A4.531 Zostera beds in lower shore or infralittoral clean or muddy sand same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199712 A4.21 Eelgrass Zostera beds in sheltered infralittoral fine sand and mud same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 199905 11.332 Mediterranean Zostera beds narrower
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1997 11.332 Mediterranean Zostera beds wider
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1996 11.332   narrower
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1993 11.332   narrower
CORINE Biotopes Classification 1991 11.332   narrower
MNCR BioMar 97.06 (Britain & Ireland) IMS.Sgr.Zmar Zostera marina/Zostera angustifolia beds in lower shore or infralittoral clean or muddy sand same
MNCR BioMar 97.06 (Britain & Ireland) IMS.Sgr Seagrass beds (sublittoral/lower shore) same
MNCR BioMar 96.7 (Britain & Ireland) IMS.ZmarBv   same
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