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

Mixed Laminaria hyperborea and Saccharina latissima on sheltered infralittoral rock



UK and Ireland classification

UK and Ireland classification


Mixed Laminaria hyperborea and Saccharina latissima on bedrock and boulders in sheltered infralittoral habitats. Typically subject to weak tidal streams and rather silty conditions. Beneath the kelp is an associated under-storey flora of foliose red seaweeds including Plocamium cartilagineum, Cryptopleura ramosa and Callophyllis laciniata as well as the brown seaweeds Dictyota dichotoma, Cutleria multifida and Desmarestia aculeata. The stipes of Laminaria hyperborea may be densely covered with red seaweeds such as Phycodrys rubens and Delesseria sanguinea as well as the solitary ascidian Clavelina lepadiformis and the featherstar Antedon bifida. The fronds are often epiphytised by the hydroid Obelia geniculata and the bryozoan Membranipora membranacea. Beneath the kelp canopy, the faunal component is generally less diverse than the more exposed kelp forests, dominated by the echinoderms Echinus esculentus and Asterias rubens, but the tops shells Gibbula cineraria and Calliostoma zizyphinum can be common as well. The crab Necora puber and the brittlestar Ophiothrix fragilis can be found in cracks and crevices, while the tube-building polychaete Spirobranchus triqueter and coralline crusts are present on the rock surface. Although there is a reduced number of species by comparison to the more exposed Laminaria hyperborea forests (Lhyp.Ft), there are considerably more algae species than occur in the more sheltered Saccharina latissima forests (Slat.Ft). This biotope is predominately found in the shelter of fjordic sealochs in Scotland. Where it does occur in south-west Britain the mixed kelp forest may also include the southern kelp Laminaria ochroleuca. Three variants has been described: The kelp forest in the upper infralittoral (LhypSlat.Ft), grading to a kelp park with increasing depth (LhypSlat.Pk) as well as a grazed variant (LhypSlat.Gz). (Information from Connor et al., 2004).

Depth range

0-5 m, 5-10 m, 10-20 m

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Sensitivity reviewHow is sensitivity assessed?



Species indicative of sensitivity


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No sensitivity data available

Chemical Pressures

No sensitivity data available

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No sensitivity data available

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This review can be cited as:

Stamp, T.E., 2015. Mixed [Laminaria hyperborea] and [Saccharina latissima] on sheltered 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 18-06-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 31/08/2015

Tags: Sugar kelp oarweed kelp