Biodiversity & Conservation

Grazed Laminaria hyperborea with coralline crusts on infralittoral rock



Image Keith Hiscock - Grazed Laminaria hyperborea forest with coralline crusts on upper infralittoral rock (MIR.LhypGz.Ft). Image width ca 2 m.
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Distribution map

IR.MIR.GzK.LhypGz.Ft 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

  • Laminaria hyperborea
  • Echinus esculentus
Community Importance Species name Common Name
Key structural Laminaria hyperborea Tangle or cuvie
Key functional Echinus esculentus Edible sea urchin
Important characterizing Delesseria sanguinea Sea beech
Important characterizing Lithophyllum incrustans Encrusting coralline algae
Important other Urticina felina Dahlia anemone
Important other Alcyonium digitatum Dead man's fingers
Important other Antedon bifida Rosy featherstar


A very large number of species are recorded from this biotope and its sub-biotopes reflecting the large number of examples surveyed but also the richness of the biotope. The kelp Laminaria hyperborea provides the major biological structure to the biotope whilst the sea urchin Echinus esculentus is of key functional importance through grazing. Other species used to represent sensitivity include encrusting Corallinacea, represented by Lithophyllum incrustans, that are visually dominant on the rock. Delesseria sanguinea, is representative of the red foliose algae that survive in the biotope. A few of the species in the biotope may be long-lived and slow to recruit and the dahlia anemone, Urticina felina, is representative of that grouping.

Additional information

The MNCR recorded 227 species within this biotope, although not all species occurred in all records of the biotope (JNCC, 1999).

This review can be cited as follows:

Hiscock, K. 2002. Grazed Laminaria hyperborea with coralline crusts on infralittoral 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: <>