REEHAB - Distribution and ecological status of Sabellaria alveolata (a.k.a Honeycomb worms) reefs in Europe


Can we predict where to find biogenic reefs of the honeycomb worms and their ecological status?

You want to help us? Report the presence of honeycomb worms on your beaches by following this link.


In this project, we aim to understand where this common and widespread worm Sabellaria alveolata (a.k.a honeycomb worm) is distribution along the European coasts. This worm select sand grains and builds a tube to live in. Eventually tubes form bioconstructions called reefs. In the intertidal area, these reefs can span from veneers adhering to rocks on a few square meters up to hummocks developing over several hundreds of hectares. Sabellaria reefs can play important ecological roles, such as pool for sand reservoir or coastline protection, or refuge for many marine invertebrates.



European environmental legislation protects those reefs and we try here to understand which environmental factors (wave force, sea and air temperatures …) best explain reef development. Ultimately, we aim at modeling and predict what will be their distribution over the European coast in 50 or 100 years. To do so, we survey fixed stations where we record every 6 months reef characteristics, but the team also did a tremendous research in scientific literature to gather every single record of Sabellaria reef occurrence. Actually, you can contribute as well on our dedicated internet website ( This work will be used to suggest relevant mean to survey and protect this flagship invertebrate species of our coasts.



Scientific contact: Stanislas Dubois




The picture shows the 3 letters OFB in blue on the right and the OFB logo on the left in green and blue.

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