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

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded on the coast of the Shetland Isles and the west coast of Scotland. Also recorded in South Donegal Bay in Ireland. Often a feature of the seabed below fish cages in sheltered locations.

Habitat preferences

Temperature range preferences -

Water clarity preferences - No preference
Data deficient

Limiting Nutrients - Not relevant

Other preferences - High organic content, low oxygen and sulphides

Additional information

Mats of Beggiatoa spp. occur on the surface of organic rich, anoxic sediments, at the hypoxic/anoxic interface, and oxidize sulphides to sulphates. For example Bernhard et al. (2000) reported mats of Beggiatoa spp. on the surface of sediments at a depth of ca 600m, in which the oxygen concentration was < 1µM (ca 0.02 µl/l) in the top 2-3 cm of sediment and sulphide concentrations were >0.1 µM.

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 30/11/2015]. Available from: <>