Biodiversity & Conservation

Laminaria digitata on moderately exposed sublittoral fringe rock



Image Keith Hiscock - Kelp forest exposed at low tide with rocky shore in background. Image width ca 3 m (foreground).
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Distribution map

IR.MIR.KR.Ldig.Ldig recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats

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.

Species found especially in this biotope

  • Umbonula littoralis
Community Importance Species name Common Name
Key structural Laminaria digitata Oarweed
Key structural Lithophyllum incrustans Encrusting coralline alga
Important characterizing Palmaria palmata Dulse
Important functional Patella vulgata Common limpet


Laminaria digitata is the key structuring species, giving the name to the biotope. The understorey of red algae in the biotope is represented by Palmaria palmata which is frequently found both on rocks and on older Laminaria digitata stipes. Lithophyllum incrustans is a major space occupier within the biotope covering the rocky substratum and is often grazed by the limpet Patella vulgata or by other species of Patella with a similar biology.

Additional information

This review can be cited as follows:

Hill, J.M. 2000. Laminaria digitata on moderately exposed sublittoral fringe rock. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 01/12/2015]. Available from: <>