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

Fucus vesiculosus on moderately exposed to sheltered mid eulittoral rock



UK and Ireland classification

UK and Ireland classification


Moderately exposed to sheltered mid eulittoral rock characterized by a dense canopy of large Fucus vesiculosus plants (typically abundant to superabundant). Beneath the algal canopy the rock surface has a sparse covering of barnacles (typically rare-frequent) and limpets, with mussels confined to pits and crevices. Littorina littorea and Nucella lapillus are also found beneath the algae, whilst Littorina obtusata and Littorina mariae graze on the fucoid fronds. The fronds may be epiphytised by the filamentous brown alga Elachista fucicola and the small calcareous tubeworm Spirorbis spirorbis. In areas of localised shelter, Ascophyllum nodosum may also occur, though never at high abundance (typically rare to occasional) - (compare with Asc). Damp cracks and crevices often contain patches of the red seaweeds Osmundea (Laurencia) pinnatifida, Mastocarpus stellatus and encrusting coralline algae. This biotope usually occurs between the Fucus spiralis (Fspi) and the Fucus serratus (Fser) zones; both of these fucoids may be present in this biotope, though never at high abundance (typically less than frequent). In some sheltered areas Fucus vesiculosus forms a narrow zone above the Ascophyllum nodosum zone (Asc). Where freshwater runoff occurs on more gradually sloping shores Fucus vesiculosus may be replaced by Fucus ceranoides (Fcer) (taken from Connor et al., 2004).

Depth range

Mid shore

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Species indicative of sensitivity


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This review can be cited as:

Perry, F., & d'Avack, E. 2015. [Fucus vesiculosus] on moderately exposed to sheltered mid eulittoral 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: 07/10/2015