Biodiversity & Conservation

Zostera marina/angustifolia beds in lower shore or infralittoral clean or muddy sand



Image Keith Hiscock - Current swept bed of Zostera marina. Image width ca 2 m in foreground.
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Distribution map

SS.IMS.Sgr.Zmar recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • Berne
  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

Text page icon Habitat description

Map icon Distribution of biotope in Britain and Ireland Present in enclosed areas (harbours, bays, sounds and inlets) in southwest England, Wales, western Ireland, western and eastern Scotland including Orkney and Shetland Islands
National importance Uncommon

Text page icon Description of biotope

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

Expanses of clean or muddy fine sand in shallow water and on the lower shore (typically to about 5 m depth) can have dense stands of Zostera marina/angustifolia [Note: the taxonomic status of Zostera angustifolia is currently under consideration]. In IMS.Zmar the community composition may be dominated by these Zostera species and therefore characterized by the associated biota. Other biota present can be closely related to that of areas of sediment not containing Zostera marina, for example, Laminaria saccharina, Chorda filum and infaunal species such as Ensis spp. and Echinocardium cordatum (e.g. Bamber 1993) and other bivalves listed below. It should be noted that sparse beds of Zostera marina may be more readily characterized by their infaunal community. Beds of this biotope in the south-west of Britain may contain conspicuous and distinctive assemblages of Lusitanian fauna such as Laomedea angulata, Hippocampus spp. and Stauromedusae. Some examples of Zostera marina beds have markedly anoxic sediments associated with them. (Information taken from the Marine Biotope Classification for Britain and Ireland, Version 97.06: Connor et al., 1997a, b).

Additional information icon Additional information

None entered

This review can be cited as follows:

Tyler-Walters, H. & Wilding, C.M. 2008. Zostera marina/angustifolia beds in lower shore or infralittoral clean or muddy sand. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 26/11/2015]. Available from: <>