Gullmarsfjorden, Sweden 27/6-2016
Soft bottoms are the ocean’s largest benthic* habitat. Their habitats include environments where the seabed consists of fine grain sediments, mud and sand.
One might wonder, what there is to see on muddy bottoms...
.Soft bottoms are filled with life. Inhabited by burrowing animals such as worms, snails and clams. There are also various, colourful anemones in different shapes, as well as fish, shrimps and crabs. A jungle of fascinating life for an observant eye...
These pictures are from our recent dive in Gullmarsfjorden, at the Swedish west coast.
Those spectacular marine creatures might look like flowers, but they are not. Like all other anemones and corals, both the Sea Pen (above) and the Fireworks anemone (below) are animals :-)
.The major threat to the fragile life on soft bottoms is commercial fishing with heavy bottom trawls.
These trawls disturb the sediments, and damage or kill many non-target animals, as they are dragged along to catch fish that live on or near the bottom. It takes years before soft bottom habitats recover once a trawl has passed by.
Therefore these fascinating habitats need a much better protection then they have today...
*The benthic zone is the lowest level of a body of water.