Biodiversity & Conservation

Beggiatoa spp. on anoxic sublittoral mud



Image Keith Hiscock - A mat of the filamentous bacterium Beggiatoa spp. Image width ca 10 cm.
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Distribution map

SS.CMU._.Beg recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats

Marine natural heritage importance

Listed under EC Habitats Directive
National importance Not available
Habitat Directive feature (Annex 1) Large shallow inlets and bays

Biotope importance

Hypoxic conditions and the resultant death or morbidity of macrofauna may benefit scavenging species such as Asterias rubens and Carcinus maenas. However, as oxygen levels drop, they too are excluded. Remineralisation of organic matter in the sediment, and of sulphur by Beggiatoa sp. are probably important processes in nutrient cycling with isolated habitats. In habitats in which the sediment is isolated from surface waters by reduced water flow or mixing (e.g. due to a thermocline), restoration of water mixing probably releases inorganic nutrients to the wider ecosystem.


There are no species of commercial interest in this biotope and so would not be subject to exploitation.

Additional information icon Additional information

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This review can be cited as follows:

Hill, J.M. 2002. Beggiatoa spp. on anoxic sublittoral mud. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 28/11/2015]. Available from: <>