BIOTIC Species Information for Zostera noltii
Researched byDr Harvey Tyler-Walters Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr Leigh Jones
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandFound in estuaries and bays around Britain with extensive populations in the Moray and Cromarty Firths, the Wash, Essex and Thames estuaries, Argyll and Clyde areas. It is also reported from Strangford Lough, Dungarvan Harbour and Dublin Bay in Ireland.
Global distributionFound along the Atlantic coasts of Europe, around the British Isles, from southern Norway to Mauritania. Restricted to brackish conditions e.g. lagoons, river mouths in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. It is the only seagrass in the Caspian and Aral Sea.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth rangeIntertidal
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationIn non-tidal brackish waters the leaves may be wider than intertidal specimens. In Britain, mixed beds of Zostera noltii and Zostera angustifolia (see Zostera marina review) often occur on the shore. However, the two species occupy different niches, Zostera noltii occurs on hummocks of free draining sediment while Zostera angustifolia is found in hollows that retain standing water at low tide.

The distribution of Zostera noltii in the intertidal may be affected by infaunal deposit feeders. For example, Philliparts (1994a) noted an abrupt cut off between a Zostera noltii bed and an area dominated by Arenicola marina. Zostera noltii was excluded from sediment dominated by Arenicola marina, while the lug worm itself was excluded from the Zostera noltii bed by the presence of a clay layer (Philippart, 1994a). Similar separation has been noted between areas dominated by Zostera noltii or Hediste diversicolor (Hughes et l., 2000).

Substratum preferencesSandy mud
Muddy sand
Physiographic preferencesStrait / sound
Ria / Voe
Isolated saline water (Lagoon)
Enclosed coast / Embayment
Biological zoneUpper Eulittoral
Mid Eulittoral
Lower Eulittoral
Sublittoral Fringe
Wave exposureSheltered
Very Sheltered
Extremely Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowModerately Strong (1-3 kn)
Weak (<1 kn)
Very Weak (negligible)
SalinityFull (30-40 psu)
Low (<18 psu)
Variable (18-40 psu)
Reduced (18-30 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Madden et al., 1993, Brazier et al., 1999, Phillips & Menez, 1988, Davison & Hughes, 1998, Hartog den, 1970, Philippart, 1994(a), Hughes et al., 2000, Holt et al., 1997, Rasmussen, 1977, Tubbs & Tubbs, 1983, Anonymous, 1999(p), NBN, 2002,
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