Polychaete/amphipod-dominated Atlantic littoral fine sand
|Red List habitat type||code NEAA2.23|
|Source||European Red List habitat factsheet|
|European Red List of habitats reports|
|European Red List of habitats (Excel table)|
This intertidal habitat is associated with shores of clean, medium to fine and very fine sand, with no coarse sand, gravel or mud present. Shells and stones may occasionally be present on the surface. The sand may be duned or rippled as a result of wave action or tidal currents. The degree of drying between tides is limited, and the sediment usually remains damp throughout the tidal cycle. Typically, no anoxic layer is present. Fine sand communities may be present throughout the intertidal zone on moderately exposed beaches, or they may be present on the lower parts of the shore with mobile sand communities present along the upper shore. They support a range of species including amphipods and polychaetes. A strandline of talitrid amphipods typically develops at the top of the shore where decaying seaweed accumulates.
Littoral sediment features are generally dynamic, and their extent will vary on diurnal, lunar and seasonal cycles, driven by tidal regime, prevailing weather conditions, coastal and geomorphological processes. The associated habitats can therefore exhibit considerable natural variation. Fine sand shores may show seasonal changes, with sediment accretion during calm summer periods and beach erosion during more stormy winter months. There may be a change in sediment particle size structure, with finer sediment grains washed out during winter months, leaving behind coarser sediments.
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.
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.
Synthesis of Red List assessment
This habitat has a large EOO and AOO, and therefore qualifies as Least Concern under criterion B. However the habitat is assessed as Data Deficient both at the EU 28 and EU 28+ levels given the lack of information on its trends in quantity and quality.
|Red List Category||Red List Criteria|
|Red List Category||Red List Criteria|
Confidence in the assessment
Pressures and threats
- Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
- Biological resource use other than agriculture & forestry
- Fishing and harvesting aquatic resources
- Professional active fishing
- Benthic or demersal trawling
- Pollution to surface waters (limnic, terrestrial, marine & brackish)
- Nutrient enrichment (N, P, organic matter)
- Natural System modifications
- Human induced changes in hydraulic conditions
- Modification of hydrographic functioning, general
- Climate change
- Changes in abiotic conditions
- Changes in biotic conditions
Habitat restoration potential
As a consequence of this, the biological communities are highly resilient and are able to replenish and restore themselves after a major disturbance event over very short periods of time.
Trends in extent
Average current trend in quantity
Trends in quality
Average current trend in quality
Conservation and management needs
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 urban areas, industry, energy and transport
- Urban and industrial waste management
- Measures related to special resouce use
- Regulating/Managing exploitation of natural resources on sea
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)|
|Bay of Biscay and the Iberian Coast||Present||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown|
|Greater North 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||455,215||182||Unknown||EOO and AOO have been calculated on the available data. Although this data set is known to be incomplete the figures exceed the thresholds for threatened status.|
|EU28+||>182||Unknown||EOO and AOO have been calculated on the available data. Although this data set is known to be incomplete the figures exceed the thresholds for threatened status.|
EOO = the area (km2) of the envelope around all occurrences of a habitat (calculated by a minimum convex polygon).
|Species scientific name||English common name||Species group|