information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Laminaria hyperborea on tide-swept, infralittoral rock



UK and Ireland classification

UK and Ireland classification


Wave exposed to moderately wave exposed, tide-swept bedrock and boulders with Laminaria hyperborea, characterized by a rich under-storey and stipe flora of foliose seaweeds including the brown seaweed Dictyota dichotoma. The kelp stipes support epiphytes such as Cryptopleura ramosa and Phycodrys rubens. At some sites, instead of being covered by red seaweeds, the kelp stipes are heavily encrusted by the ascidian Botryllus schlosseri. Epilithic seaweeds Delesseria sanguinea, Plocamium cartilagineum Heterosiphonia plumosa, Hypoglossum hypoglossoides, Callophyllis laciniata, Kallymenia reniformis, Brongniartella byssoides and crustose seaweeds commonly occur beneath the kelp. The kelp fronds are often covered with growth of the hydroid Obelia geniculata or the bryozoan Membranipora membranacea. On the rock surface, a rich fauna comprising the bryozoan Electra pilosa, the sponge Pachymatisma johnstonia, anthozoans such as Alcyonium digitatum, Sagartia elegans and Urticina felina, colonial ascidians such as Clavelina lepadiformis, the calcareous tubeworm Spirobranchus triqueter and the barnacle Balanus crenatus occur. More mobile species include the gastropod Calliostoma zizyphinum, the crab Cancer pagurus and the echinoderms Asterias rubens and Echinus esculentus. Two variants have been described: Tide-swept kelp forest (LhypT.Ft) and tide-swept kelp park (LhypT.Pk).

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This review can be cited as:

Stamp, T.E., 2015. [Laminaria hyperborea] on tide-swept, infralittoral rock. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 19-06-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 20/10/2015