EUNIS habitat classification 2017 > M - Marine benthic habitats > MB1 - Infralittoral rock > MB12 - Atlantic infralittoral rock > MB121 - Kelp and seaweed communities on Atlantic infralittoral rock > MB1215 - Laminaria hyperborea with dense foliose red seaweeds on exposed Atlantic infralittoral rock > MB12151 - Laminaria hyperborea forest with dense foliose red seaweeds on exposed Atlantic upper infralittoral rock

Laminaria hyperborea forest with dense foliose red seaweeds on exposed Atlantic upper infralittoral rock

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code MB12151
Relation to Resolution 4 habitat type (used for designation of Emerald sites)

Description (English)

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 Callophyllis 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 Gibbula 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 Pomatoceros 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.
Situation: This kelp forest biotope most commonly occurs beneath a zone of Alaria esculenta/Mytilus edulis (unit MB1-2111) and above a L. hyperborea park (unit MB1-2152). At very exposed sites, such as some areas of Shetland and St Kilda, the lower infralittoral zone is often characterised by a park of Laminaria saccharina and/or Saccorhiza polyschides (MB1-232). 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 (units MB1-221 or MB1-2211).

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Algae Alaria esculenta
Algae Callophyllis laciniata
Algae Cryptopleura ramosa
Algae Delesseria sanguinea
Algae Dictyota dichotoma
Algae Heterosiphonia plumosa
Algae Kallymenia reniformis
Algae Laminaria hyperborea
Algae Laminaria saccharina
Algae Membranoptera alata
Algae Odonthalia dentata
Algae Phycodrys rubens
Algae Plocamium cartilagineum
Algae Saccorhiza polyschides
Invertebrates Alcyonium digitatum
Invertebrates Asterias rubens
Invertebrates Balanus crenatus
Invertebrates Botryllus schlosseri
Invertebrates Calliostoma zizyphinum
Invertebrates Echinus esculentus
Invertebrates Electra pilosa
Invertebrates Gibbula cineraria
Invertebrates Membranipora membranacea
Invertebrates Mytilus edulis
Invertebrates Obelia geniculata
Invertebrates Pomatoceros triqueter
Invertebrates Urticina felina
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Alaria esculenta Algae
Callophyllis laciniata Algae
Cryptopleura ramosa Algae
Delesseria sanguinea Algae
Dictyota dichotoma Algae
Heterosiphonia plumosa Algae
Kallymenia reniformis Algae
Laminaria hyperborea Algae
Laminaria saccharina Algae
Membranoptera alata Algae
Odonthalia dentata Algae
Phycodrys rubens Algae
Plocamium cartilagineum Algae
Saccorhiza polyschides Algae
Alcyonium digitatum Invertebrates
Asterias rubens Invertebrates
Balanus crenatus Invertebrates
Botryllus schlosseri Invertebrates
Calliostoma zizyphinum Invertebrates
Echinus esculentus Invertebrates
Electra pilosa Invertebrates
Gibbula cineraria Invertebrates
Membranipora membranacea Invertebrates
Mytilus edulis Invertebrates
Obelia geniculata Invertebrates
Pomatoceros triqueter Invertebrates
Urticina felina Invertebrates

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 2007 (revised descriptions 2012) A3.1151 Laminaria hyperborea forest with dense foliose red seaweeds on exposed upper infralittoral rock same
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type Comment
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A3.1151 Laminaria hyperborea forest with dense foliose red seaweeds on exposed upper infralittoral rock same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 A3.1151 Laminaria hyperborea forest with dense foliose red seaweeds on exposed upper infralittoral rock same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 A3.1151 Laminaria hyperborea forest with dense foliose red seaweeds on exposed upper infralittoral rock same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 A3.1151 Laminaria hyperborea forest with dense foliose red seaweeds on exposed upper infralittoral rock same
MNCR BioMar 97.06 (Britain & Ireland) EIR.KFaR.LhypR.Ft Laminaria hyperborea forest with dense foliose red seaweeds on exposed upper infralittoral rock same
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