Skip to main content
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary National Marine Sanctuaries Home Page National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Home Page
Biological Communities: Shallow Soft Bottom Habitats

Shallow Soft Bottom Habitats
I. Physical Features of Shallow Soft Bottom Communities (i.e. at Scuba depths, to 30-40 meters)

iconMovement of bottom sediments by large waves is a dominant physical process influencing the structure of benthic infaunal communities along the shallow Scuba-accessible continental shelf (Oliver et al. 1980). Wave action produces a coarse, poorly consolidated, well-sorted (i.e. low variation in grain size), and therefore easily moved beach deposit behind the surf zone. Large waves lift these surface sediments into a granular suspension tossed shoreward and then seaward by the passing waves (Bascom 1964, Clifton et al. 1971). Extreme storm waves can remove as much as a meter of surface sediments at water depths greater than 10 meters. The physical stability of the beach deposit increases with increasing water depth as wave-generated bottom currents decrease. As a result, bottom sediments grade from coarse to fine sand with increasing water depth and decreasing wave disturbance (Hodgson and Nybakken 1973, Oliver et al. 1980).


< Previous
Shallow Soft Bottom Habitats TOC
 
URL: http://montereybay.noaa.gov/sitechar/shallow1.html    Reviewed: March 05, 2014
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

Privacy Statement | Site Disclaimer | User Survey
National Marine Sanctuaries | National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | USA.gov