Biodiversity & Conservation

Ostrea edulis beds on shallow sublittoral muddy sediment



Image Bernard Picton - Ostrea edulis beds on shallow sublittoral muddy sediment. Image width ca 25 cm.
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Distribution map

SS.SMx.IMx.Ost 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 Native, flat oyster beds are sparsely distributed and are recorded from the River Crouch in east England; Dawlish Warren, the Dart estuary and the River Fal in the south west England; Milford Haven in Wales; Loch Ryan in Scotland; Strangford Lough, Lough Foyle, and the west coast of Ireland.
National importance Scarce

Text page icon Description of biotope

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

Dense beds of the oyster Ostrea edulis can occur on muddy fine sand. There may be considerable quantities of dead oyster shell making up a substantial portion of the substratum. The clumps of dead shells and oysters can support large numbers of Ascidiella aspersa and Ascidiella scabra. Several conspicuously large polychaetes may be present, such as Chaetopterus variopedatus and terebellids, as well as additional suspension-feeding polychaetes such as Myxicola infundibulum, Sabella pavonina and Lanice conchilega. A turf of seaweeds such as Plocamium cartilagineum, Nitophyllum punctatum and Spyridia filamentosa may also be present. This biotope description may need expansion to account for oyster beds in England. (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 native, flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) has been extensively studied due to its commercial importance. Therefore, this review is based on past reviews, to which the reader should refer to further detail (e.g. Korringa, 1952; Yonge, 1960).

This review can be cited as follows:

Tyler-Walters, H. 2001. Ostrea edulis beds on shallow sublittoral muddy sediment. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 25/11/2015]. Available from: <>