Red List habitat classification > RL - Marine habitats > RLMED - Mediterranean > MEDA4.2x Circalittoral biogenic habitats in the Mediterranean - worm reefs

Circalittoral biogenic habitats in the Mediterranean - worm reefs

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code MEDA4.2x
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

Worm reefs (formations) in the circalittoral zone in Mediterranean are formed by several species depending the bottom composition. The most common are the Sabellaria spinulosa, Sabella pavonina and to a lesser extent the Filograna spp./Salmacina spp. complex and Sabella spallanzanii. Worms grow in both soft/mud and hard substrates. Sabellaria spinulosa constructs unbranched dwelling tubes using mucus to bind together sand grains and broken shell to form a dense carpet on the bottom. Filograna/Salmacina build carbonate tubes and can occur in high densities attached to rock surfaces or algae like Cystoseira spp. and/or Sargassum spp. Sabella pavonina and Sabella spallanzani can form dense populations in areas of soft sediment not overgrown by algae.

Indicators of 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

The circalittoral biogenic habitats in the Mediterranean including worm reeefs are poorly studied with little known about their spatial extent, biotic/abiotic characteristics and associated biodiversity. What is know is only the existence of the keystone species that form these beds. This habitat has therefore been assessed as Data Deficient for the EU 28 and the 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

  • Biological resource use other than agriculture & forestry
    • Fishing and harvesting aquatic resources
    • Professional passive fishing
    • Professional active fishing
    • Benthic or demersal trawling
  • Pollution
    • Marine water pollution
  • Invasive, other problematic species and genes
    • Invasive non-native species
  • Climate change
    • Changes in abiotic conditions
    • Temperature changes (e.g. rise of temperature & extremes)
    • Sea-level changes
    • Decline or extinction of species

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

Spatial protection of areas where this habitat occurs, for example through the designation of MPAs can be beneficial along with the regulation and prohibition of activities which impact the sea bed such as the use of demersal fishing gears.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Establishing wilderness areas/allowing succession
    • 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
    • Specific single species or species group management 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

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 Unknown Unknown
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 Unknown 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 Astroides calycularis
Invertebrates Dendrophyllia ramea
Invertebrates Myriapora truncata
Invertebrates Parazoanthus axinellae
Invertebrates Sabella pavonina
Invertebrates Sabella spallanzanii
Invertebrates Sabellaria spinulosa
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Astroides calycularis Invertebrates
Dendrophyllia ramea Invertebrates
Myriapora truncata Invertebrates
Parazoanthus axinellae Invertebrates
Sabella pavonina Invertebrates
Sabella spallanzanii Invertebrates
Sabellaria spinulosa Invertebrates

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

Not available
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