Description of biotope or habitat type
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Laminaria hyperborea forest with dense foliose red seaweeds on exposed upper infralittoral rock
Physical habitat description
|Salinity||Full (30-35 ppt)|
|Wave exposure||Extremely exposed, Very exposed, Exposed|
|Tidal streams||Moderately strong (1-3 kn), Weak (>1 kn)|
|Substratum||Bedrock; large boulders|
|Zone||Infralittoral - upper|
|Depth Band||0-5 m, 5-10 m, 10-20 m|
Download comparative physical and biological data. The comparative tables enable a rapid comparison of the species composition and principal physical characteristics between a given set of biotopes.
- Records used to define the biotope (core records)
- Other records assigned to this biotope, marked as 'certain'
- Other records assigned to this biotope, marked as 'uncertain'
- Predicted extent of the level 3 (for sublittoral rock & deep sea) or 4 (for sublittoral sediment) habitat
Point data based on records in the UK Marine Recorder Snapshot. Predicted habitat extent is from UKSeaMap.
Very exposed to exposed upper infralittoral bedrock or large boulders characterised by a dense forest of the kelp Laminaria hyperborea. On the rock surface beneath the kelp canopy is a dense turf of red foliose seaweeds including Cryptopleura ramosa, Plocamium cartilagineum, Phycodrys rubens and Metacallophyllis laciniata as well as encrusting coralline algae and the foliose brown seaweed Dictyota dichotoma. The red algal turf can be virtually mono-specific, dominated by stands of P. cartilagineum, C. ramosa or Heterosiphonia plumosa, Kallymenia reniformis or in the north, Odonthalia dentata. Other sites may contain a dense mixed turf of these and other species. The dense turf is due, in part, to the relatively low grazing pressure from the urchin Echinus esculentus in such shallow exposed conditions. The shallowest kelp plants are often short or stunted, while deeper plants are taller and the stipes are heavily epiphytised by red seaweeds such as Delesseria sanguinea and Membranoptera alata. The bryozoan Electra pilosa can form colonies on the foliose red seaweeds, while the bryozoan Membranipora membranacea more often can be found on the L. hyperborea fronds along with the ascidian Botryllus schlosseri and the hydroid Obelia geniculata. The gastropods Steromphala cineraria and Calliostoma zizyphinum are found grazing among the kelp holdfasts, while a few individuals of the barnacle Balanus crenatus can present along with the white calcareous tubes of the polychaete Spirobranchus triqueter, where substratum is available. The starfish Asterias rubens can be found predating on polychaetes, mussels and small crustaceans. The soft coral Alcyonium digitatum can be present covering the rock surface as well as the anthozoan Urticina felina.
This kelp forest biotope most commonly occurs beneath a zone of Alaria esculenta/Mytilus edulis (Ala.Myt) and above a L. hyperborea park (LhypR.Pk). At very exposed sites, such as some areas of Shetland and St Kilda, the lower infralittoral zone is often characterised by a park of Saccharina latissima and/or Saccorhiza polyschides (LsacSac). This zone presumably develops due to the mobility of nearby cobbles, boulders and sediment during winter storms, removing the slower growing L. hyperborea. Occasionally, a band of dense foliose seaweeds, with no kelp, occurs below the kelp forest (FoR or FoR.Dic).
|Taxon||Relative importance of taxon for defining this community (%)||Typical abundance - SACFOR scale||% of core records where taxon was recorded|
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