Biodiversity & Conservation

Fucoids and kelps in deep eulittoral rockpools



Image Jon Davies - Fucoids and kelps in deep eulittoral rockpools. Image width ca XX m.
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Distribution map

LR.FLR.Rkp.FK recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

Text page icon Habitat description

Map icon Distribution of biotope in Britain and Ireland Recorded from suitable locations around the coast of Britain and Ireland.
National importance Common

Text page icon Description of biotope

For a full description of this biotope including characterizing species, distribution, survey information and references visit JNCC

Deep rockpools in the mid to lower eulittoral zone often contain a community characterized by Fucus serratus and Laminaria digitata. Other large brown algae, including Laminaria saccharina, Himanthalia elongata and Halidrys siliquosa, may also occur. The rock surface is usually covered by encrusting coralline algae. A wide variety of filamentous and foliose algae, which are typical of lower shore and shallow sublittoral zones (e.g. Palmaria palmata, Chondrus crispus, Ceramium spp., Membranoptera alata and Gastroclonium ovatum) occur beneath the brown algal canopy. Algal-free vertical and overhanging faces often support the sponge Halichondria panicea and anemones Actinia equina. The abundance of grazing molluscs varies considerably. In some, large numbers of littorinids and limpets are probably responsible for the limited variety of red seaweeds present. In other pools, fewer grazers may result in an abundance of these algae. Where boulders occur in these pools they provide a greater variety of micro-habitats which support a variety of fauna. Mobile crustaceans (Pagurus bernhardus and Carcinus maenas), brittlestars (Ophiothrix fragilis and Amphipholis squamata), encrusting bryozoans and ascidians are typically found beneath and between boulders. (Information taken from the Marine Biotope Classification for Britain and Ireland, Version 97.06: Connor et al., 1997a, b).

Additional information icon Additional information

Factors such as pool depth, surface area, volume, orientation to sunlight, shading, internal topography, sediment content and type, together with wave exposure, shore height, and hence flushing rate, and the presence of absence of freshwater runoff, results in large spatial variation in community structure, even between adjacent pools at the same shore height (Ganning, 1971; Metaxas & Scheibling, 1993). Individual rockpools and the communities that occupy them are highly variable.

This review can be cited as follows:

Tyler-Walters, H. 2005. Fucoids and kelps in deep eulittoral rockpools. 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: <>