Biodiversity & Conservation

Himanthalia elongata and red seaweeds on exposed lower eulittoral rock



Image Keith Hiscock - Himanthalia elongata and Laminaria digitata on lower shore bedrock. Image width ca XX cm.
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Distribution map

LR.HLR.FR.Him recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats

Marine natural heritage importance

Listed under EC Habitats Directive
National importance Common
Habitat Directive feature (Annex 1) Reefs
Large shallow inlets and bays

Biotope importance

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  • Himanthalia elongata is eaten as a food in Ireland and France. It is sold dried and pickled or may be eaten fresh in a salad. The species is harvested commercially on the west coast of Ireland on a small scale (Stengel et al., 1999).
  • Chondrus crispus is harvested commercially in Ireland, Spain, France, Portugal and North America for the extraction of carrageenan (Guiry & Blunden, 1991). The gelling and thickening properties of carrageenan are used widely in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries (see review by Guiry & Blunden, 1991).
  • In North America and Europe (Brittany, Ireland and Iceland) the fronds of Palmaria palmata are eaten raw as a vegetable substitute or dried and eaten as a condiment (Guiry & Blunden, 1991). The species is also used as fodder for a variety of animals in many countries.
  • Corallina officinalis is collected for medical purposes; the fronds are dried and converted to hydroxyapatite and used as bone forming material (Ewers et al. 1987). It is also sold as a powder for use in the cosmetic industry.

Additional information icon Additional information

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This review can be cited as follows:

Budd, G.C. 2002. Himanthalia elongata and red seaweeds on exposed lower eulittoral rock. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 25/11/2015]. Available from: <>