Skip to Content

Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

To understand more about what this page is describing, see How to use the classification. See also How to cite.

   Kelp and seaweed communities on sublittoral sediment

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt), Variable (18-35 ppt)
Wave exposure Moderately exposed, Sheltered, Very sheltered, Extremely sheltered
Tidal streams Moderately strong (1-3 kn), Weak (>1 kn), Very weak (negligible)
Substratum Mixed sediment (with stones and shells)
Zone Infralittoral
Depth Band 0-5 m, 5-10 m, 10-20 m
Other Features

Biotope origin

Derived using data from Various
Faunal group Epifauna

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.

Distribution of habitat SS.SMp.KSwSS Kelp and seaweed communities on sublittoral sediment

  • 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.


Shallow sublittoral sediments which support seaweed communities, typically including the kelp Saccharina latissima, the bootlace weed Chorda filum and various red and brown seaweeds, particularly filamentous types. The generally sheltered nature of these habitats enables the seaweeds to grow on shells and small stones which lie on the sediment surface; some communities develop as loose-lying mats on the sediment surface.


No situation data available.

Temporal variation

No temporal data available.

Characterising species

Taxon Typical abundance - SACFOR scale % of core records where taxon was recorded
Arenicola marina Occasional 21-40%
Ascidiella aspersa Occasional 21-40%
Asterias rubens Occasional 41-60%
Balanus crenatus Occasional 21-40%
Bonnemaisonia asparagoides Occasional 21-40%
Bonnemaisonia hamifera Frequent 21-40%
Buccinum undatum Occasional 21-40%
Cancer pagurus Rare 21-40%
Carcinus maenas Occasional 21-40%
Carradoriella elongata Occasional 21-40%
Cerianthus lloydii Occasional 21-40%
Chaetopterus variopedatus Occasional 21-40%
Chorda filum Occasional 41-60%
Corallinaceae Occasional 21-40%
Delesseria sanguinea Occasional 1-20%
Desmarestia aculeata Occasional 21-40%
Desmarestia viridis Occasional 21-40%
Dictyota dichotoma Occasional 21-40%
Echinus esculentus Occasional 21-40%
Gibbula magus Occasional 21-40%
Gracilaria gracilis Frequent 21-40%
Halarachnion ligulatum Occasional 21-40%
Hydractinia echinata Occasional 21-40%
Lanice conchilega Occasional 21-40%
Liocarcinus depurator Occasional 41-60%
Lomentaria clavellosa Occasional 21-40%
Ophiura albida Occasional 1-20%
Pagurus bernhardus Occasional 41-60%
Pecten maximus Occasional 21-40%
Phycodrys rubens Occasional 21-40%
Phyllophora crispa Occasional 21-40%
Plocamium cartilagineum Occasional 21-40%
Polyides rotunda Occasional 1-20%
Pomatoschistus minutus Occasional 21-40%
Pterothamnion plumula Occasional 21-40%
Rhodophyllis divaricata Occasional 21-40%
Saccharina latissima Frequent 61-80%
Seraphsidae Occasional 21-40%
Spirobranchus triqueter Occasional 21-40%
Steromphala cineraria Occasional 21-40%
Ulva Occasional 21-40%
Vertebrata byssoides Occasional 21-40%
Corophium volutator Super abundant 21-40%
Nematoda Frequent 21-40%
Tubificoides benedii Abundant 21-40%
Mediomastus fragilis Common 41-60%
Ampelisca brevicornis 41-60%
Kurtiella bidentata Abundant 21-40%
Capitella capitata Common 21-40%
Baltidrilus costatus Abundant 1-20%
Abra alba 21-40%
Chaetozone setosa Abundant 21-40%
Phyllodoce mucosa 21-40%
Hediste diversicolor 1-20%
Lucinoma borealis 21-40%
Mya arenaria Super abundant 21-40%
Nephtys hombergii 1-20%
Notomastus latericeus 21-40%
Pygospio elegans 21-40%
Scoloplos armiger Super abundant 21-40%
Nemertea Abundant 21-40%
Urothoe elegans 21-40%

Similar biotopes or habitat types

Not applicable or unknown.

Classification history of this biotope or habitat type

Classification version Code Habitat name
2015 (15.03) SS.SMp.KSwSS Kelp and seaweed communities on sublittoral sediment
2004 (04.05) SS.SMp.KSwSS Kelp and seaweed communities on sublittoral sediment
1997 (97.06) SS.IMX.KSwMx Laminaria saccharina (sugar kelp) and filamentous seaweeds (mixed sediment)

Back to top