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Horse Mussel Project

Horse Mussel (Modiolus modiolus) beds are a Priority Marine Feature, a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) habitat, and an OSPAR threatened and declining habitat. Horse Mussel beds provide:


  • a solid foundation for soft corals, tubeworms, barnacles, sea firs, sea mats and seaweeds

  • shelter for brittlestars, crustaceans, worms, molluscs and many other small animals

  • a habitat for commercially important shellfish such as scallops and whelks

On the southeast coast of Scotland, they are also protected as part of the Berwickshire and North Northumberland SAC. As part of flora and faunal surveys and opportunistic sightings, horse mussels have been recorded sporadically in the BMR since at least 1979 by various organisations

We have partnered with St Abbs Marine Station and Blue Marine Foundation to undertake a baseline mapping and site condition assessment of Horse Mussel beds to assess the full extent of their presence within the BMR. Only by knowing the locations and numbers of horse mussels in the BMR can appropriate measures be considered for their protection or restoration.

This project is supported by the Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund (SMEEF)

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