Red List habitat classification > RL - Marine habitats > RLMED - Mediterranean > MEDA4.23 Communities of Mediterranean soft circalittoral rock

Communities of Mediterranean soft circalittoral rock

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code MEDA4.23
Threat status
Europe Vulnerable
EU Vulnerable
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)

Summary

This habitat type occurs on moderately wave-exposed, circalittoral soft bedrock subject to moderately strong tidal streams. As this complex is found in highly turbid water conditions, the circalittoral zone may begin at the low water mark, due to poor light penetration. This complex is dominated by the piddock (a marine rock boring bivalve mollusc) Pholas dactylus  Barnea parva and other boring bivalves. Other species typical of this complex include the tube building polychaete Polydora and Bispira volutacornis, the sponges Cliona celata and Suberites ficus, the bryozoan Alcyonium coralloides, and the crabs Necora puber and Cancer pagurus. Foliose red algae may also be present.

Indicators of quality:

Standard biotic and abiotic indicators have been used to describe marine habitat quality. Both biotic and abiotic indicators have been used to describe marine habitat quality. These include the presence of particular species, water quality parameters, levels of exposure to a particular exposure as well as more integrated indices which describe habitat function and structure, such as trophic index, or successful stages of development in habitats that have a natural cycle of change over time. There are no known commonly agreed indicators of quality for this habitat, although particular parameters may be set in certain situations, e.g. protected features with Natura 2000 sites, where reference values may 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

In general, epibenthos from soft rock communities have been severly affected by fisheries, especially by towing fishing gear, such as trawls and dredges. Off-shore zones of this habitat in the northern Adriatic Sea have been flattened and reduced in size by trawling and other destructive forms of fisheries, sometimes to virtual extinction of the original habitat. P. dactulys, as a characteristic species of this habitat was once prevalent across the entire Mediterranean coast of Europe, but it has disappeared from most sites due to human collection for food and bait and as a result of pollution.
The habitat has been assessed as Vulnerable on the basis of expert opinion for both the EU 28 and EU 28+ because of declines in both quantity and quality. Further data collection is needed to gain a better understanding of this habitat type and re-assessment when more information is available.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Vulnerable A1, A2a, C/D1
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Vulnerable A1, A2a, C/D1

Confidence in the assessment

low
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Discharges
  • Biological resource use other than agriculture & forestry
    • Marine and Freshwater Aquaculture
    • Fishing and harvesting aquatic resources
  • Pollution
    • Marine water pollution
    • Soil pollution and solid waste (excluding discharges)

Habitat restoration potential

Depending on a scale of habitat destruction an recovery can take a long time or even to be an irreversible process if the substrate is removed.

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

There are no conservation measures specifically for this habitat although it may occur in some protected areas. The regulation of demersal fisheries, including the establishment of refuge areas where such activity is prohibited, as well as measures to improve water quality will benefit this habitat.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring/Improving water quality
  • Measures related to marine habitats
    • Restoring marine habitats
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Legal protection of habitats and species
  • Measures related to hunting, taking and fishing and species management
    • Regulation/Management of fishery in marine and brackish systems

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 There is insufficient quantitative data to make an accurate estimate of EOO and AOO.
EU28+ Unknown Unknown There is insufficient quantitative data to make an accurate estimate of EOO and AOO.
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 Alcyonium coralloides
Invertebrates Barnea parva
Invertebrates Bispira volutacornis
Invertebrates Cancer pagurus
Invertebrates Cliona celata
Invertebrates Cliona viridis
Invertebrates Necora puber
Invertebrates Pholas dactylus
Invertebrates Polyclinum aurantium
Invertebrates Suberites carnosus
Invertebrates Suberites ficus
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Alcyonium coralloides Invertebrates
Barnea parva Invertebrates
Bispira volutacornis Invertebrates
Cancer pagurus Invertebrates
Cliona celata Invertebrates
Cliona viridis Invertebrates
Necora puber Invertebrates
Pholas dactylus Invertebrates
Polyclinum aurantium Invertebrates
Suberites carnosus Invertebrates
Suberites ficus Invertebrates

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

Not available
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100