Red List habitat classification > RL - Marine habitats > RLMED - Mediterranean > MEDA2.12 Communities of Mediterranean mediolittoral coarse sediment estuarine

Communities of Mediterranean mediolittoral coarse sediment estuarine

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code MEDA2.12
Threat status
Europe Data Deficient
EU Data Deficient
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)

Summary

This habitat comprises shores of coarse sediments (shingle, gravels and coarse sand) in the upper reaches of estuaries and other inlets which are subject to variable and reduced salinity conditions. The outflow of riverine freshwater at the heads of the inlets results in the washing out of fine particulate matter, leaving coarse sediments. This habitat is typically covers small areas and exhibit a great variability of physical and chemical parameters. It is a species-poor habitat and the fauna characterised by oligochaete worms.

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 over time.

Indices developed to assess the ecological status of coastal waters, including estuaries, according to the Water Framework Directive, include physical indicators, water quality indicators and measures of benthic diversity, species richness and abundance. The latter group, which is particularly relevant to benthic habitats, includes a Benthic Quality Index, an Infaunal Trophic Index, a Marine Biotic index based on ecological groups, and the Benthic Opportunistic Polychaetes/Amphipods index.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

This habitat is present in all the Mediterranean sub-basins therefore the EOO exceeds the threshold for threatened status. It is believed to have declined in quality and extent over the last 50 years because of the pressures of urbanisation and pollution in the estuarine environments of the Mediterranean. The widespread distribution suggests this habitat could be assessed as Least Concern under criterion B however, because there is insufficient information to quantify any trends, it has been assessed as Data Deficient for both the EU 28 and EU 28+.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Data Deficient -
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Data Deficient -

Confidence in the assessment

low
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Agriculture
    • Use of biocides, hormones and chemicals
    • Fertilisation
  • Transportation and service corridors
    • Roads, paths and railroads
    • Shipping lanes, ports, marine constructions
  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
    • Industrial or commercial areas
    • Discharges
  • Pollution
    • Pollution to surface waters (limnic, terrestrial, marine & brackish)
    • Nutrient enrichment (N, P, organic matter)
    • Marine water pollution
    • Soil pollution and solid waste (excluding discharges)

Habitat restoration potential

The capacity to recover of this habitat is unknown.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Decreasing Decreasing
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Decreasing Decreasing
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

Some legal provisions regarding estuaries in general exist, but management measures aimed at this particular habitat conservation are not in place. Beneficial measures include improving water quality and both direct and indirect effects of coastal development. Direct engagement of scientists and conservationists in the planning of the management process, analysis of social and economic costs and benefits of different management options,and involvement of diverse stakeholders will be essential to the successful implementation of conservation actions.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring/Improving water quality
  • Measures related to marine habitats
    • Other marine-related measures
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Legal protection of habitats and species
    • Manage landscape features
  • Measures related to urban areas, industry, energy and transport
    • Urban and industrial waste management
    • Specific management of traffic and energy transport systems
    • Managing marine traffic

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)
Adriatic Sea Present Unknown Decreasing Decreasing
Aegian-Levantine Sea
Ionian Sea and the Central Mediterranean Sea
Western Mediterranean Sea

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 Mediterranean sub-basins.
EU28+ Unknown Unknown This habitat is present in all the Mediterranean 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

The full list of characteristic species and genus are available above from the Summary. The species available in the EUNIS database are shown here.
Invertebrates Littorina littorea
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Littorina littorea Invertebrates

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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