|Basic Information||Biotope classification||Ecology||Habitat preferences and distribution||Species composition||Sensitivity||Importance|
Image David George - View across shore showing extensive kelp beds on chalk. Image width ca 4 m.
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IR.MIR.KR.Ldig.Pid recorded () and expected () distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)
To assess the sensitivity of the biotope, the sensitivity of component species is reviewed. Those species that are considered to be particularly indicative of the sensitivity of the biotope, and for which research has been undertaken in detail are shown below (see selection criteria). The biology of other component species of the biotope is also taken into account wherever information is known to the researcher.
|Community Importance||Species name||Common Name|
|Key structural||Laminaria digitata||Oarweed|
|Key structural||Pholas dactylus||Common piddock|
|Key functional||Polydora ciliata||A bristleworm|
|Important characterizing||Palmaria palmata||Dulse|
Laminaria digitata and Pholas dactylus are the key structuring species and also give the name to the biotope. The fronds, stipe and holdfast of the kelp plants create structural complexity within the biotope. The piddock Pholas dactylus is a key structuring species because of the refugia provided by the holes it makes. These have been known to increase species diversity (Pinn et al., in press). The burrowing polychaete Polydora ciliata is functionally important because tube building can modify the substratum and in areas of mud tubes can agglomerate, forming layers of mud that can sometimes be thick enough to eliminate the original fauna and flora, or at least can be considered as a threat to the ecological balance achieved by some biotopes (Daro & Polk, 1973). The understorey of red algae in the biotope is represented by Palmaria palmata which is frequently found both on rocks and sometimes on older Laminaria digitata stipes.
This review can be cited as follows:
Hill, J.M. 2008. Laminaria digitata and piddocks on sublittoral fringe soft rock. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 26/05/2013]. Available from: <http://www.marlin.ac.uk/habitatreproduction.php?habitatid=26&code=1997>