Red List habitat classification > RL - Marine habitats > RLMED - Mediterranean > MEDA5.46 Communities of Mediterranean upper circalittoral coastal detritic bottoms

Communities of Mediterranean upper circalittoral coastal detritic bottoms

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code MEDA5.46
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 occurs in big bays and opens seas, on a substratum whose nature varies widely and depends largely on the typology of the nearby coast and of nearby infralittoral rock formations. It occurs on terrigenous and organogenous sediment: gravel with a sandy-muddy filling originating from predominant local rocks, sometimes shell debris from various molluscs, debris from big calcified bryozoans, tests of echinoderms or of some dead melobesies (coralline red algae Melobesiae spp). The interstices between these various components of coarse sands and gravel are partially filled by a greater or lesser proportion of sand and mud. The muddy portion is usually less than 20%, but various more or less muddy types exist.

It develops at depths of between 30 and 100 metres, usually as an extension at depth of the biocenosis of well sorted fine sands. Some facies with epiflora and epifauna may present, depending on certain currents. These may be characterised  by brittlestars, colonial ascidians and by big colonies of arborescent bryozoans, unattached or fixed to small substrata.

Indicators of quality:

Some species are indicators of more particular environmental conditions such as the echinoderms (Echinocyamus pusillus, Spatangus purpureus, Astarte fusca), the bivalves (Cardium minimum, Venus ovata, Dentalium inaequicostatum), the  opisthobranch mollusc Philine aperta, or species with a wide ecological distribution in loose substrata.

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

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

This is a very poorly studied habitat type and only a few reports exist regarding its distribution. The trends in quantity and quality in the past 50 years are unknown, and there is no information on historic or future trends. Moreover, quantitative data on quality or quantity is lacking and the territorial data does not provide information for most Mediterranean countries. It has a large Extent of Occurrence (EOO) and Area of Occupancy (AOO), and therefore it qualifies as Least Concern under Criterion B. However, the habitat is assessed as Data Deficient both at the EU 28 and the EU 28+ levels because of the lack of information on its 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

  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
    • Discharges
  • Pollution
    • Pollution to surface waters by industrial plants
    • Diffuse pollution to surface waters via storm overflows or urban run-off
    • Diffuse pollution to surface waters due to household sewage and waste waters

Habitat restoration potential

The increase of fine terrigenous-origin particles can change the composition of flora and fauna and shift the habitat and the dominant facies, if any, to other types. It is unknown how easily these communities can recover, but a reduction of the impact should allow some recovery to previous conditions.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Unknown Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Stable Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

Basic knowledge on the habitat and the distribution of this habitat in the Mediterranean, as well as on the associated assemblages, and species biology (distribution, abundance, habitat preferences, life-cycles), as well as monitoring data on trends is needed to determine the most useful conservation measures.
In areas where the habitat is affected, it is recommended to reduce anthropogenic waste, particularly domestic and industrial wastewater that is still loaded with fine matter, pollutants and organic matter. The designation of protected areas can provide a local focus for such action as well as for monitoring and investigation programmes relating to 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
    • Other marine-related measures
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites

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 1,052,686 1168 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+ >1168 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 Cryptonemia tunaeformis
Algae Phymatholithon calcareum
Invertebrates Anapagurus laevis
Invertebrates Anseropoda placenta
Invertebrates Astarte fusca
Invertebrates Astropecten irregularis
Invertebrates Bubaris vermiculata
Invertebrates Chlamys flexuosa
Invertebrates Conilera cylindracea
Invertebrates Dentalium inaequicostatum
Invertebrates Ebalia tuberosa
Invertebrates Echinocyamus pusillus
Invertebrates Genocidaris maculata
Invertebrates Luidia ciliaris
Invertebrates Microcosmus vulgaris
Invertebrates Molgula oculata
Invertebrates Ophioconis forbesi
Invertebrates Petta pusilla
Invertebrates Philine aperta
Invertebrates Psammechinus microtuberculatus
Invertebrates Spatangus purpureus
Invertebrates Suberites domuncula
Invertebrates Tellina donacina
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Cryptonemia tunaeformis Algae
Phymatholithon calcareum Algae
Anapagurus laevis Invertebrates
Anseropoda placenta Invertebrates
Astarte fusca Invertebrates
Astropecten irregularis Invertebrates
Bubaris vermiculata Invertebrates
Chlamys flexuosa Invertebrates
Conilera cylindracea Invertebrates
Dentalium inaequicostatum Invertebrates
Ebalia tuberosa Invertebrates
Echinocyamus pusillus Invertebrates
Genocidaris maculata Invertebrates
Luidia ciliaris Invertebrates
Microcosmus vulgaris Invertebrates
Molgula oculata Invertebrates
Ophioconis forbesi Invertebrates
Petta pusilla Invertebrates
Philine aperta Invertebrates
Psammechinus microtuberculatus Invertebrates
Spatangus purpureus Invertebrates
Suberites domuncula Invertebrates
Tellina donacina Invertebrates

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

Not available
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