Wood, C.L.; Hawkins, S.J.; Godbold, J.A.; Solan, M.

Coastal Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (CBESS) macrofaunal abundance in mudflat and saltmarsh habitats

The dataset details macrofaunal abundance across 6 intertidal sites in the winter and summer of 2013. The data provide a quantitative measure of the invertebrate species present within the top 10cm of sediment. Three sites were located in Essex, South East England and the other 3 in Morecambe Bay, North West England. Each site consisted of a saltmarsh habitat and adjacent mudflat habitat. 22 sampling quadrats were placed in each habitat covering 4 spatial scales. 3 replicate cores of sediment were collected at each quadrat. They were sieved on a 0.5mm mesh and the macrofauna was removed, identified to species (or appropriate taxon) and individuals counted. Values for macrofaunal abundance are expressed as number of individuals per square metre of sediment.

Abundance data for mudflat habitats across Essex and Morecambe are complete, however, saltmarsh data is only available for one full Essex site (Tillingham Marsh), in one season (winter) and across all sites, but only at the 1m scale.

This data was collected as part of Coastal Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (CBESS): NE/J015644/1. The project was funded with support from the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) programme. BESS is a six-year programme (2011-2017) funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) as part of the UK's Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) programme.

Publication date: 2015-12-31

Access and use conditions

This resource is embargoed and will be made available by 31 March 2018 at the latest  

This resource will be available under the terms of the Open Government Licence

You must cite: Wood, C.L.; Hawkins, S.J.; Godbold, J.A.; Solan, M. (2015). Coastal Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (CBESS) macrofaunal abundance in mudflat and saltmarsh habitats. NERC Environmental Information Data Centre. https://doi.org/10.5285/d5317679-449f-4829-9caf-39973fe27c07


© University of Southampton


Study area
Temporal extent
2013-01-01    to    2013-08-01


The location of the sample sites was determined by randomly allocated quadrats. Twenty two 1 x 1 m quadrats were randomly allocated to each mudflat and saltmarsh site using R (R Development Core Team, 2014) to specify four different spatial scales (A = 1 quadrat only, B = 3 quadrats at 1 m to 10 m apart, C = 6 quadrats at 10 m to 100 m apart, D = 12 quadrats at 100 m to 1000 m or site maximum).

3 cylindrical cores of sediment (10cm depth and diameter) were taken at each quadrat and fixed in 4 percent buffered formalin in seawater. The cores were then sieved on a 0.5mm mesh and the residue retained and preserved in 70 percent Industrial Methylated Spirit (IMS). Using a stereo microscope, all the animals were picked out of the residue, identified to species level (or appropriate taxon) and stored in vials containing 70 percent IMS. The individual numbers of each taxa were counted to give abundance data. This was determined by the presence of a head in cases where specimens had been damaged (any badly damaged specimens or parts of specimens where no head was present were separated into major group debris (annelid, mollusc and crustacea) pots and their presence noted as YES/NO for abundance). The data were then multiplied by 127.323955 and rounded to the nearest whole individual to give results in metre squared.


Wood, C.L.
University of Southampton
Hawkins, S.J.
University of Southampton
Godbold, J.A.
University of Southampton
Solan, M.
University of Southampton

Other contacts

Point Of Contact
Solan, M.
University of Southampton
NERC Environmental Information Data Centre


Spatial representation type
Tabular (text)
Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid


Topic categories
Other keywords
salt marsh
spatial scale
Hediste diversicolor
Corophium volutator
Corophium arenarium
Peringia ulvae
Macona balthica
Abra tenuis
Pygospio elegans
Eteone longa
Habitats and Biotopes
Place keywords
Morecambe Bay
Theme keywords

Dataset identifiers



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Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Last updated