EUNIS habitat classification 2012 amended 2019 > A - Marine habitats > A3 - Infralittoral rock and other hard substrata > A3.1 - Atlantic and Mediterranean high energy infralittoral rock > A3.11 - Kelp with cushion fauna and/or foliose red seaweeds > A3.113 - Laminaria hyperborea forest with a faunal cushion (sponges and polyclinids) and foliose red seaweeds on very exposed infralittoral rock

Laminaria hyperborea forest with a faunal cushion (sponges and polyclinids) and foliose red seaweeds on very exposed infralittoral rock

English name: Laminaria hyperborea forest with a faunal cushion (sponges and polyclinids) and foliose red seaweeds on very exposed infralittoral rock

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code A3.113
Bern Convention Included in a Resolution 4 habitat type at a higher level (A3)

Description (English)

Very exposed and exposed, but wave-surged, upper infralittoral bedrock and massive boulders characterised by a dense forest of the kelp Laminaria hyperborea with a high diversity of seaweeds and invertebrates. The shallowest kelp plants are often short or stunted, while deeper plants are taller with heavily epiphytised stipes with foliose red seaweeds such as Delesseria sanguinea, Cryptopleura ramosa or Plocamium cartilagineum or even the brown seaweed Dictyota dichotoma. Also found on the stipes or on the rock below the canopy are red seaweeds including Phycodrys rubens, Kallymenia reniformis, Callophyllis laciniata, Caryophyllia smithii, and Corallina officinalis, while encrusting coralline algae can cover any bare patches of rock. At some sites the red seaweeds can be virtually mono-specific, while at other sites show considerable variation containing a dense mixed turf of a large variety of species. The red seaweed Odonthalia dentata can be present in the north. The faunal and floral under-storey is generally rich in species due, in part, to the relatively low urchin-grazing pressure in such shallow exposed conditions. The faunal composition of this biotope varies markedly between sites, but commonly occurring are the soft coral Alcyonium digitatum and the anthozoans Sagartia elegans and Corynactis viridis. Sponges form a prominent part of the community with variable amounts of the sponges Halichondria panicea and Pachymatisma johnstonia and several other species. The crab Cancer pagurus and the starfish Asterias rubens are normally present in small numbers foraging beneath the canopy, while the sea urchins Echinus esculentus and Urticina felina graze on the seaweeds. The hydroid Obelia geniculata, the ascidian Botryllus schlosseri and the bryozoan Membranipora membranacea compete for space on the kelp, whereas the bryozoan Electra pilosa also can be found on foliose red seaweeds.
Situation: This kelp forest most commonly occurs beneath a zone of Alaria esculenta and Mytilus edulis (unit A3.1111) and may contain small patches of A. esculenta. As the force of the wave-surge diminishes with increased depth, density of the faunal turf reduces and the kelp forest or park changes to one characterised by kelp and dense red seaweeds (units A3.1151 or A3.1152). In some areas of Shetland and St Kilda the lower infralittoral zone is characterised by a park of the kelp Laminaria saccharina and/or Saccorhiza polyschides (A3.122). Where the L. hyperborea forest continues to depths of 15 m or greater it may give way to a zone of dense foliose red algae (A3.116 or A3.1161).

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Invertebrates Alcyonium digitatum
Invertebrates Asterias rubens
Invertebrates Botryllus schlosseri
Algae Callophyllis laciniata
Invertebrates Cancer pagurus
Invertebrates Caryophyllia smithii
Algae Corallina officinalis
Invertebrates Corynactis viridis
Algae Cryptopleura ramosa
Algae Delesseria sanguinea
Algae Dictyota dichotoma
Invertebrates Echinus esculentus
Invertebrates Electra pilosa
Invertebrates Halichondria panicea
Algae Kallymenia reniformis
Algae Laminaria hyperborea
Algae Laminaria saccharina
Invertebrates Membranipora membranacea
Invertebrates Obelia geniculata
Algae Odonthalia dentata
Invertebrates Pachymatisma johnstonia
Algae Phycodrys rubens
Algae Plocamium cartilagineum
Algae Saccorhiza polyschides
Invertebrates Sagartia elegans
Invertebrates Urticina felina
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Alcyonium digitatum Invertebrates
Asterias rubens Invertebrates
Botryllus schlosseri Invertebrates
Callophyllis laciniata Algae
Cancer pagurus Invertebrates
Caryophyllia smithii Invertebrates
Corallina officinalis Algae
Corynactis viridis Invertebrates
Cryptopleura ramosa Algae
Delesseria sanguinea Algae
Dictyota dichotoma Algae
Echinus esculentus Invertebrates
Electra pilosa Invertebrates
Halichondria panicea Invertebrates
Kallymenia reniformis Algae
Laminaria hyperborea Algae
Laminaria saccharina Algae
Membranipora membranacea Invertebrates
Obelia geniculata Invertebrates
Odonthalia dentata Algae
Pachymatisma johnstonia Invertebrates
Phycodrys rubens Algae
Plocamium cartilagineum Algae
Saccorhiza polyschides Algae
Sagartia elegans Invertebrates
Urticina felina Invertebrates

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
Marine Habitat Classification Britain/Ireland 0405 IR.HIR.KFaR.LhypFa <I>Laminaria hyperborea</I> forest with a faunal cushion (sponges and polyclinids) and foliose red seaweeds on very exposed upper infralittoral rock source
CORINE Land Cover 5.2.3. Sea and ocean n/a
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A3.113 Laminaria hyperborea forest with a faunal cushion (sponges and polyclinids) and foliose red seaweeds on very exposed infralittoral rock same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 A3.113 Laminaria hyperborea forest with a faunal cushion (sponges and polyclinids) and foliose red seaweeds on very exposed infralittoral rock same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 A3.113 Laminaria hyperborea forest with a faunal cushion (sponges and polyclinids) and foliose red seaweeds on very exposed infralittoral rock same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 A3.113 Laminaria hyperborea forest with a faunal cushion (sponges and polyclinids) and foliose red seaweeds on very exposed infralittoral rock same
MNCR BioMar 97.06 (Britain & Ireland) EIR.KFaR.LhypFa Laminaria hyperborea forest with a faunal cushion (sponges and polyclinids) and foliose red seaweeds on very exposed infralittoral rock same
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