Red List habitat classification > RL - Marine habitats > RLMED - Mediterranean > MEDA5.15 Communities of Mediterranean lower circalittoral coarse sediments

Communities of Mediterranean lower circalittoral coarse sediments

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code MEDA5.15
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)


This habitat comprises offshore and deep (up to 200 m) circalittoral habitats with coarse sands and gravel or shell. According to some estimations such habitat may cover large areas of the offshore continental shelf. Lower circalittoral coarse habitats are quite diverse compared to its shallower versions and generally characterised by robust infaunal polychaete and bivalve species. Animal communities in this habitat are closely related to offshore mixed sediments. Bottom currents speed can vary from moderately strong (1-3 kn) to very weak (negligible).

Indicators of quality:

There are no commonly agreed indicators of quality for this habitat, thus both standard biotic and abiotic indicators have been used to describe marine habitat quality. Habitat is in the most geographical areas under impact of strong fisheries activities, particularly trawling and dredging, thus the presence of characteristic commercially exploited species may indicate a quality of the habitat. Hence, presence and abundance of indicated characteristic species can also be used as an indicator of habitat quality.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

This habitat has a large EOO and therefore qualifies as Least Concern under criterion B1. However the habitat is assessed as Data Deficient both at the EU 28 and EU 28+ levels because of the lack of information on its trends in quantity and quality and the fact that its overall distribution and AOO is unknown.
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Data Deficient -
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Data Deficient -

Confidence in the assessment

Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Mining, extraction of materials and energy production
    • Sand and gravel extraction
  • 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

Habitat restoration potential

The capacity of this habitat to recover once severely damaged is unknown.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Unknown Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Decreasing Decreasing
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

Although this habitat can be impacted by different coastal human activities such us dumping of solid wastes or other pollutions, no specific managment measures are in place to protect it. Hence, trawling and dredging as fishing activites causing highest negative effects are impacting a whole zone without an existance of serious regulations aimed for conservation of this habitat.
Beneficial measures include strengthening fisheries restrictions especially bottom trawling in a network of MPAs; decreasing the sources of eutrophication which would prevent further degradation of the habitat; and monitoring trends.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring/Improving water quality
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Other marine-related measures
    • 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


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 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 >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

Not available

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

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