Estuarine Subtidal Sand: Open, Shallow

Shallow subtidal sandy habitats usually have similar flora and fauna as low intertidal communities, and grade gradually into different assemblages in deeper water. These are high-current areas with little debris and some gravel. A variety of different dominant species can be seen.

Common Species

Abundant organisms may include sand dollars (Dendraster excentricus), Zostera marina, sea pens, or phoronids (Phoronopsis harmeri).  Other common species include the bivalves Psephidia lordi, Protothaca staminea, Mysella tumida, and Macoma secta; the gastropod Nassarius mendicus, the polychaetes Platynereis bicanaliculata and Owenia fusiformis, the seastar Evasterias troschelii, and Cancer magister and C. gracilis.

Sites Surveyed

Windy Point (Kitsap Peninsula), Hood Canal, Shilshole Bay.


Shimek, 1977 and unpubl. data; Phillips and Fleenor, 1970; Harman et al., 1977.