Maerl beds are free-living, non-geniculate coralline algae habitats which form biogenic reefs with high micro-scale complexity supporting a diversity and abundance of rare epifauna and epiflora. These habitats are highly mobile in shallow marine environments where substantial maerl beds co-exist with siliciclastic sediment, exemplified by our study site of Galway Bay. Coupled hydrodynamic-wave sediment transport models have been used to explore the transport patterns of maerl-siliciclastic sediment during calm summer conditions and severe winter storms. The sediment distribution is strongly influenced by storm waves even in water depths greater than 100 m. Maerl is present at the periphery of wave-induced residual current gyres during storm conditions. A combined wave-current Sediment Mobility Index during storm conditions shows correlation with multibeam backscatter and surficial sediment distribution. A combined wave-current Mobilization Frequency Index during storm conditions acts as a physical surrogate for the presence of maerl-siliciclastic mixtures in Galway Bay. Both indices can provide useful integrated oceanographic and sediment information to complement coupled numerical hydrodynamic, sediment transport and erosion-deposition models. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.