Biodiversity & Conservation

Fucoids and kelps in deep eulittoral rockpools



Image Jon Davies - Fucoids and kelps in deep eulittoral rockpools. Image width ca XX m.
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Distribution map

LR.FLR.Rkp.FK recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

For a list of 2004 characterising species please see the JNCC website.

Species indicative of sensitivity

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
Important characterizing Laminaria digitata Oarweed
Important characterizing Saccharina latissima Sugar kelp
Important characterizing Fucus serratus Toothed wrack
Important characterizing Halidrys siliquosa Sea oak
Important Structural Palmaria palmata Dulse
Important Structural Chondrus crispus Carrageen
Important Structural Ceramium virgatum A red seaweed
Important Structural Corallina officinalis Coral weed
Important functional Littorina littorea Common periwinkle
Important functional Patella vulgata Common limpet
Important functional Amphipoda Amphipods


Laminaria digitata, Saccharina latissima, Fucus serratus and Halidrys siliquosa have been selected as important characterizing species since they are faithful fucoids and kelps within the biotope (see Connor et al., 1997b). However, loss of any one of these species would not in itself result in loss of a recognizable biotope. Therefore, for the sake of sensitivity assessment the fucoids and kelps have been treated as a functional group.

Palmaria palmata and Ceramium virgatum have been chosen to represent the sensitivity of characteristic foliose and filamentous red algae, and Corallina officinalis to represent corallines. Littorinids, limpets and amphipods have been shown to be important grazers in rockpool environments (see 'ecological relationships') that affect community structure and development. Their sensitivities are represented by Littorina littorea and Patella vulgata. The sensitivity of amphipods is treated as a functional group, although reference has been made to relevant species reviews e.g. Hyale prevostii.

Additional information

The MNCR database lists 667 species in 213 records of this biotope (JNCC, 1999), although not all species occur in all records of the biotope. Lewis (1964) noted that deep pools in the lower shore, especially in the southwest, are rich areas for collecting the rarer species of algae.

This review can be cited as follows:

Tyler-Walters, H. 2005. Fucoids and kelps in deep eulittoral rockpools. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 27/11/2015]. Available from: <>