Red List habitat classification > RL - Marine habitats > RLBAL - Baltic > BAL40 Infaunal communities in Baltic infralittoral muddy sediment not dominated by bivalves

Infaunal communities in Baltic infralittoral muddy sediment not dominated by bivalves

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code BAL40
Threat status
Europe Least Concern
EU Least Concern
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)

Summary

This Baltic Sea benthic habitat occurs in the  photic zone with at least 90% coverage of muddy sediment according to the HELCOM HUB classification. Macrovegetation and epibenthic macrofauna are typically absent and the biomass is dominated (at least 50%) by infaunal polychaetes, crustaceans, echinoderms or insect larvae. The associated biotopes occur over a range of depths, from 1m to over 100m, and  different degrees of energy exposure.

Indicators of quality: 

Both biotic and abiotic indicators have been used to describe marine habitat quality. These include: the presence of characteristic species as well as those which are sensitive to the pressures the habitat may face; water quality parameters; levels of exposure to particular pressure, and more integrated indices which describe habitat structure and function, such as trophic index, or successional stages of development in habitats that have a natural cycle of change overtime. There are no commonly agreed indicators of quality for this habitat, although particular parameters may have been set in certain situations e.g. protected features within Natura 2000 sites, where reference values have been determined and applied on a location-specific basis. Diversity, abundance and biomass of fauna may be used as potential indicators of quality.

Characteristic species
For full habitat description, please download the habitat factsheet.

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

There have been a variety of trends for the different biotopes associated with this habitat. Where the infauna are dominated by various opportunistic polychaetes Marenselleria, and midge larvae the biotopes are either considered to have been stable or increased over the last 50 years, whilst those dominated by the mudshrimp and Monoporeia affinis have shown some decline in both extent and quality (but believed to be less than 25%).
The overall assessment for this EUNIS level 4 habitat has been based on the HELCOM (2013) assessments for the associated HELCOM HUB biotopes. Draft assessmentswere derived using a weighted approach whereby the HELCOM assessment outcomes were assigned a score. This was averaged across the relevant biotopes. The outcomes were reviewed by Baltic experts to reach a final conclusion. HELCOM (2013) assessed all five associated biotopes as Least Concern (A1). With no additional data available the current expert opinion is that this habitat should be assessed as Least Concern for both the EU 28 and EU 28+.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Least Concern -

Confidence in the assessment

low
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • No threats or pressures
    • No threats or pressures

Habitat restoration potential

Unknown

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Unknown Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

No conservation and management measures have been identified specifically for this habitat type at the present time.

List of conservation and management needs

  • No measures
    • No measures needed for the conservation of the habitat/species

Distribution

For each habitat a distribution map was produced from a wide variety of sources indicating known and potential occurrences of the habitat in 10x10 km grids within Europe. Occurrences in grid cells were given in two classes: actual distribution from relatively reliable sources (surveys, expert knowledge), and potential distribution based on models or less reliable indicators. Please download the fact sheet to see the map.

Geographic occurrence and trends

Seas Present or presence uncertain Current area of habitat (Km2) Recent trend in quantity (last 50 years) Recent trend in quality (last 50 years)
Baltic Proper Present Unknown Unknown Stable
Belt Sea
Gulf of Bothnia
Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Riga
The Sound

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 >50,000 Unknown Unknown This habitat is present in all the Baltic sub-basins.
EU28+ Unknown Unknown This habitat is present in all the Baltic sub-basins
AOO = the area occupied by a habitat measured in number of 10x10 km grid cells.
EOO = the area (km2) of the envelope around all occurrences of a habitat (calculated by a minimum convex polygon).

Characteristic species

Not available

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

Not available
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Denmark
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