Alaria esculenta and Laminaria digitata on exposed sublittoral fringe bedrock
|Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 97.06
|Exposed sublittoral fringe bedrock characterised by a mixture of Laminaria digitata and Alaria esculenta with anemones, mussels Mytilus edulis and barnacles growing over a coralline algal crust. The bryozoan crust Umbonula littoralis is typical of this zone on the shore and the barnacle Verruca stroemia may be present. This biotope also occurs on less exposed steep and vertical shores where a localised increase in wave action restricts the growth of L. digitata. As a result of this increased wave action the L. digitata plants are usually small and often show signs of damage. EIR.Ala.Ldig represents an intermediate on the wave exposure gradient, with pure stands of Alaria esculenta (EIR.Ala.Myt) being found on more exposed shores and pure Laminaria digitata (MIR.Ldig) on more sheltered shores. This biotope has a greater abundance of Mytilus edulis, limpets and coralline algae compared with MIR.Ldig. In contrast with the more exposed EIR.Ala.Myt, this biotope has a greater diversity of foliose red algae, including Cryptopleura ramosa, Osmundea (Laurencia) pinnatifida and Lomentaria articulata. This biotope usually occurs immediately above a sublittoral Laminaria hyperborea forest (EIR.LhypR or MIR.Lhyp), although a narrow band of L. digitata (MIR.Ldig) may occur between these two zones. On exposed shores in the north, Alaria alone tends to occupy the sublittoral fringe. A number of different biotopes may be found above EIR.Ala.Ldig; most commonly these are Himanthalia elongata (ELR.Him), a red algal turf (MLR.R) or a Fucus serratus-red algal mosaic (MLR.Fser.R).
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