Red List habitat classification > RL - Marine habitats > RLNEA - Atlantic > NEAA2.82 Vegetated (ephemeral) Atlantic littoral mixed sediment

Vegetated (ephemeral) Atlantic littoral mixed sediment

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code NEAA2.82
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 littoral mixed substrata (pebbles and cobbles overlying sand or mud) that are subject to variations in salinity and/or siltation, characterised by dense blankets of ephemeral green and red seaweeds. This habitat is found primarily on enclosed stony shores sheltered from wave action with weak to moderate tidal streams and often subject to variable levels of salinity. It is found predominately in the mid shore zone above, or at the same level as, the biotope dominated by the barnacles S. balanoides and/or E. modestus and Littorina spp. If it is found in the upper shore region it can be backed by saltmarsh species such as Salicornia sp. and Spartina sp. Below are biotopes dominated by the wracks Fucus serratus or Fucus vesiculosus or by M. edulis or by the polychaete Hediste diversicolor and the tellin Macoma balthica depending on the substratum.

Eulittoral pebble and boulder beaches in the Macaronesian archipelagos are mainly located at the mouth of steep brook valleys (Barrancos). At depths where wave action is only slight, stable ecosystems can develop with species-rich plant covers, lodging many different animals. In the eulittoral the biota is reduced to a few  small turf green and red seaweeds (usually Ulva species and Gelidium pusillum), but in the infralittoral, several species of red seaweeds occur, such as Ellisondia officinalis, Halophytis incurva and members of the family Liagoraceae, also brown seaweeds, like Stypocaulon scoparium and Sargassum spp. Among the faunal components, limpets (Patella spp.), periwinkles (Osilinus spp.) and crabs (Pecnon gibbessi) are common species. 

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.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

Survey information confirms that this habitat has a widespread distribution in the North East Atlantic however there is insufficient information to determine whether there have been any historical, recent and possible future trends in quantity or quality.
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 area and any trends in quantity and quality.
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

  • Pollution
    • Marine water pollution
    • Oil spills in the sea
    • Toxic chemical discharge from material dumped at sea
  • Natural System modifications
    • Human induced changes in hydraulic conditions
    • Modification of hydrographic functioning, general
    • Dykes, embankments, artificial beaches, general
    • Sea defense or coast protection works, tidal barrages

Habitat restoration potential

Unknown

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Unknown Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Unknown Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

This habitat is afforded some protection within Marine Protected Areas. Additional beneficial management measures finclude the regulation of coastal developments and the construction of hard coastal defence structures, as well as water quality improvement programmes to reduce the risk of toxic contamination and of nutrient inputs leading to eutrophication.

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
    • Other marine-related measures

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)
Bay of Biscay and the Iberian Coast Present Unknown Unknown Unknown
Celtic Seas
Kattegat
Greater North Sea
Macaronesia

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 319,639 121 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+ >121 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.
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.
Algae Enteromorpha intestinalis
Algae Fucus serratus
Algae Fucus vesiculosus
Algae Gelidium pusillum
Algae Stypocaulon scoparium
Algae Ulva lactuca
Invertebrates Arenicola marina
Invertebrates Carcinus maenas
Invertebrates Cerastoderma edule
Invertebrates Elminius modestus
Invertebrates Lanice conchilega
Invertebrates Littorina littorea
Invertebrates Macoma balthica
Invertebrates Mytilus edulis
Invertebrates Semibalanus balanoides
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Enteromorpha intestinalis Algae
Fucus serratus Algae
Fucus vesiculosus Algae
Gelidium pusillum Algae
Stypocaulon scoparium Algae
Ulva lactuca Algae
Arenicola marina Invertebrates
Carcinus maenas Invertebrates
Cerastoderma edule Invertebrates
Elminius modestus Invertebrates
Lanice conchilega Invertebrates
Littorina littorea Invertebrates
Macoma balthica Invertebrates
Mytilus edulis Invertebrates
Semibalanus balanoides Invertebrates

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

Not available
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