Biodiversity & Conservation

Barren coarse sand shores


Barren coarse sand shores
Distribution map

LS.LGS.S.BarSnd recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats

Text page icon Habitat description

Map icon Distribution of biotope in Britain and Ireland LGS.BarSnd is a common biotope that occurs on coasts of Britain and Ireland, where the hydrodynamic regime and underlying topography and geology allow accumulation of sandy substrata that is subject to redistribution by tide and currents. The biotope is found particularly at the entrance of the coastal inlets of the south west and is notably absent in the south east of England.
National importance Common

Text page icon Description of biotope

For a full description of this biotope including characterizing species, distribution, survey information and references visit JNCC

Freely-draining coarse sandy beaches, particularly on the upper shore, which lack a macrofaunal community due to their continual mobility. Trial excavations are unlikely to reveal any macrofauna in these typically steep beaches on exposed coasts. Burrowing amphipods Bathyporeia spp. or Pontocrates spp. and the isopod Eurydice pulchra may be found in extremely low abundances, but if present in any quantity should be classed as LGS.AEur. Other species that may be found in low abundance may be left behind by the ebbing tide. (Information taken from the Marine Biotope Classification for Britain and Ireland, Version 97.06: Connor et al., 1997a, b).

Additional information icon Additional information

The barren shingle/gravel shore biotope (LGS.BarSh) is also represented by this review. In Britain and Ireland the status of the LGS.BarSh biotope is listed as 'uncommon' (Connor et al., 1997b ) and it is differentiated from the LGS.BarSnd biotope solely on the basis of particle size (typically from 4 - 256 mm). LGS.BarSh shores have little associated fine sediment and owing to the mobility of the substratum the biotope does not support macrofauna. Furthermore, trial excavations are unlikely to reveal macroscopic infauna. Any species that are found, such as the occasional amphipod or small polychaete have probably been left stranded by the ebbing tide.

This review can be cited as follows:

Budd, G.C. 2004. Barren coarse sand shores. 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: <>