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LS.LSa.MoSa
Barren or amphipod-dominated mobile sand shores

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Habitat (physical) description

Distribution

 Salinity: Full (30-35 ppt), Variable (18-35 ppt) 
 Wave exposure: Exposed, Moderately exposed 
 Tidal streams:  
 Substratum: Sand 
 Zone:  
 Depth Band: Lower shore, Mid shore, Upper shore 
 Other Features:  

Download comparative physical and biological data. The comparative tables enable a rapid comparison of the species composition and principal physical characteristics between a given set of biotopes.
Distribution of habitat LS.LSa.MoSa  Barren or amphipod-dominated mobile sand shores
Distribution of habitat LS.LSa.MoSa Barren or amphipod-dominated mobile sand shores, based on records on the UK Marine Recorder database and EUSeaMap. Red dots represent records on which the biotope is based. Blue dots show other certain records, black dots show records tentatively assigned to this biotope. Yellow areas show level 2 and 3 sublittoral and deep-sea habitats prediced by EUSeaMap within UK waters.

Biotope description

Shores consisting of clean mobile sands (coarse, medium and some fine-grained), with little very fine sand, and no mud present. Shells and stones may occasionally be present on the surface. The sand may be duned or rippled as a result of wave action or tidal currents. The sands are non-cohesive, with low water retention, and thus subject to drying out between tides, especially on the upper shore and where the shore profile is steep. Most of these shores support a limited range of species, ranging from barren, highly mobile sands to more stable clean sands supporting communities of isopods, amphipods and a limited range of polychaetes. Species which can characterise mobile sand communities include Scolelepis squamata, Pontocrates arenarius, Bathyporeia pelagica, B. pilosa, Haustorius arenarius and Eurydice pulchra.

Situation

Mobile sand shores are typically situated along open stretches of coastline, with a relatively high degree of wave exposure. Bands of gravel and shingle may be present on the upper shore of exposed beaches. Where the wave exposure is less, and the shore profile more shallow, mobile sand communities may also be present on the upper part of the shore, with more stable fine sand communities present lower down. A strandline of talitrid amphipods (Tal) typically develops at the top of the shore where decaying seaweed accumulates.

Temporal variation

Mobile sand shores may show significant seasonal changes, with sediment accretion during calm summer periods and beach erosion during more stormy winter months. There may be a change in sediment particle size structure, with finer sediment grains washed out during winter months, leaving behind coarser sediments.

Similar biotopes

Not applicable or unknown.

Characterising Species

Taxa Frequency Typical Abundance % Contribution to similarity Abundance (no.2)
Scolelepis squamata C 16 68
Pontocrates arenarius C 18 55
Bathyporeia pelagica C 6 54
Bathyporeia pilosa F 8 114
Haustorius arenarius F 6 23
Eurydice pulchra F 32 67

Example photographs of biotope

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Version 15.03 of the classification adds a deep-sea section to version 04.05; therefore superseding version 04.05, 97.06 and 03.02.

This online classification should be cited as:

JNCC (2015) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 15.03 [Online]. [Date accessed]. Available from: jncc.defra.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification

Information from the shallower section (up to sublittoral sediment, taken from Version 04.05) be cited as the report accompanying Version 04.05, as follows:

CONNOR, D.W., J.H. ALLEN, N.GOLDING, K.L.HOWELL, L.M. LIEBERKNECHT, K.O. NORTHEN AND J.B. REKER (2004) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 04.05. In: JNCC (2015) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 15.03 [Online]. [Date accessed].
Available from: jncc.defra.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification
ISBN 1 861 07561 8


Information from the deep-sea section (added in March 2015) should be cited as the report accompanying the deep-sea section, as follows:

PARRY, M.E.V., K.L. HOWELL, B.E. NARAYANASWAMY, B.J. BETT, D.O.B. JONES, D.J. HUGHES, N. PIECHAUD, T.D. NICKELL, H. ELLWOOD, N. ASKEW, C. JENKINS and E. MANCA (2015) A Deep-sea Section for the Marine Habitat Classification of Britain and Ireland. JNCC report 530. In: JNCC (2015) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 15.03 [Online]. [Date accessed].
Available from: jncc.defra.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification
ISSN 0963 8901