||Range of conditions
||Moderately strong, Weak
||Bedrock; boulders, cobbles, mixed substrata; mixed sediment
spinulosa reefs or crusts will form on hard substratum but this does not preclude
their formation from other substrata (Hiscock 1991). Rees & Dare (1993) describe
habitat preference as being typically on shell (especially oyster valves), sandy gravel or
rocky substrates with moderate tidal flow. Larsonneur (1994) reported Sabellaria
spinulosa-dominated communities present on rock/pebble bottoms in the Bay of Mont St.
Michael. It is likely that stability of the reefs is to some degree a function of the
stability of the substratum. The more transient crusts probably occur principally on
relatively unstable substrata, while longer-lasting reefs could be limited to more stable
||10-30 m (CSab); 30->50 m (SspiMx)
Dense reefs reported
in the Bristol Channel were found at a depth of 41m (George & Warwick 1985), while
recently discovered reefs off the north Norfolk coast were found at 15-25 m (Foster-Smith et
al., in prep. February 1998).
||Specific information on temperature tolerance for this
species is not available. However, its widespread distribution, from at least north of the
Shetlands to the Mediterranean Sea, together with its predominantly subtidal habitat means
that Sabellaria spinulosa is likely to be much less sensitive to temperature
changes than the intertidal Sabellaria alveolata, which has been shown to be
severely affected by low winter temperatures. Crisp (1964) found that Sabellaria
spinulosa was less affected by the cold winter of 1963 than Sabellaria alveolata,
which experienced many mortalities.
||Sabellaria spinulosa requires suspended sand grains in
order to form its tubes; reef communities therefore only occur in very turbid areas where
sand is placed into suspension by water movement. The relative importance of tidal versus
wave- induced movements is unclear. Studies in relation to sewage and other pollution
suggest this species is not particularly sensitive to changes in water quality. However,
this may not be the case for associated biota.