the Mudflats

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What lays hidden beneath the mudflats? I wondered about it so I took some photos and did some research. I would like to share what I discovered. Thank you for reading.

When the tides pull back from the bays of Swansea beach, left on the shore are Intertidal mudflats and sandflats are submerged at high tide and exposed at low tide.

They form 1,130 Estuaries and 1,160 Large shallow inlets and bays in the UK, extensively along the open coast of Wales and in its lagoon inlets.

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It is the structure of the intertidal flats ranges from rock and coarse-sand beaches on wave-exposed coasts to stable, that produces fine-sediment mudflats in these estuaries and other marine inlets, sustaining homes and food for plant, mammals, fish and avian life.

This habitat type can be divided into three broad categories (clean sands, muddy sands and muds), although in practice there is a continuous gradation between them.

Within this range the plant and animal communities present vary according to the type of sediment, its stability and the salinity.

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The sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time and Estuaries on the south coast of Wales includes the sandbank of Helwick Bank, a linear shallow subtidal sandbank that is unusual in being highly exposed to wave and tidal action.

There are animal communities found the reflect these Bay; including bivalves, amphipods and worms, many of which spend most of their time wholly or partly buried in the sediment.

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The Estuaries provide a home to large estuarine site on the south coast of Wales, encompassing the estuaries of the Rivers Loughor, Tâf and the Tywi.

These estuaries of this site support a range of subtidal and intertidal sediments that grade from sand at the mouth to mudflats in the upper estuary.

The fauna of the sediments varies, but includes communities with polychaete and oligochaete worms and areas with extensive cockle beds and other bivalve molluscs.

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This site has a range of beautiful undisturbed transitions of coastal habitats. In these areas are fine sand cockles Cerastoderma edule are abundant, along with other bivalves, amphipods and worms.

In muddier sediments the sand-gaper Mya arenaria, peppery furrow-shell Scrobicularia plana and mud-snail Hydrobia ulvae are also found in large here.

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References:
http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/protectedsites/sacselection/sac.asp?EUcode=UK0020020

http://www.penllynarsarnau.co.uk/conservation_features.aspx?lang=pages&id=7

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/south_west/7448876.stm

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