Red List habitat classification > RL - Marine habitats > RLMED - Mediterranean > MEDA5.25 Communities of Mediterranean circalittoral well-sorted fine sands

Communities of Mediterranean circalittoral well-sorted fine sands

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code MEDA5.25
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)


Clean fine sands with less than 5% silt/clay in water deeper than 30-35 m, either on the open coast or near, depending on geographical area. Circalittoral well-sorted fine sands are usually an extension at depth of the infralittoral and circalittoral very shallow fine sands. The sediment is of homogeneous granulometry and of mixed origin: terrigenous and organogenous. Existence of bottom currents is quite common. Bivalves and polychaetes are part of the infaunal communities. 

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. Presence and abundance of  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

The whole circalittoral zone is under heavy fishing impact that can cause severe changes on soft sediment habitats. There can be increases in one area and decreases in others however the overall trend in quantity and extent is unknown at present. There have been declines in the quality of this habitat as a result of the fishing and aquaculture industry, suspension of sediment enriched in organic matter and localised pollution. 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 and the fact that its overall distribution 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
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
    • 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

The capacity for 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

The broad distribution of this habitat makes it likely to occur in protected areas, however detailed information is missing. A wide survey to assess the distribution of this habitat is needed in order to better evaluate its conservation and management. The designation of reference sites for long monitoring trends will assist to examine the trends in this habitat. Moreover, improving spatial and strategic planning of human activities, in particular aquaculture, sand mining, and demersal fisheries as well as regulation discharges to the marine environment would benefit this habitat.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring/Improving water quality
    • Restoring coastal areas
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Other marine-related measures
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Legal protection of habitats and species
  • Measures related to urban areas, industry, energy and transport
    • Urban and industrial waste management
    • Managing marine traffic


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 >50,000 >50 Unknown This habitat is present in all the Mediterranean sub-basins.
EU28+ >50 Unknown This habitat is present in all the Mediterranean sub-basins.
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