Laminaria digitata on moderately exposed sublittoral fringe rock
|Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 97.06
|Moderately exposed to sheltered sublittoral fringe bedrock or boulders dominated by a dense canopy of Laminaria digitata often with a wide range of filamentous and foliose red seaweeds beneath. The rocky substratum is usually covered by encrusting coralline algae, on which occasional limpets Patella vulgata and topshells Gibbula spp. graze. A wide variety of fauna occurs, including the sponge Halichondria panicea, barnacles (Balanus crenatus and Semibalanus balanoides) and occasional small mussels Mytilus edulis. Kelp holdfasts provide a refuge for a varied assemblage of species including sponges (e.g. Leucosolenia spp.), anemones (Urticina felina), limpets (Helcion pellucidum), crustaceans, encrusting bryozoans and colonial ascidians. This biotope is usually found beneath the Fucus serratus zone (MLR.Fser) and above the truly sublittoral Laminaria hyperborea zone (MIR.Lhyp). Other canopy-forming kelps such as Alaria esculenta and Laminaria saccharina, may occur although never at high abundance (compare with EIR.Ala.Ldig and SIR.Lsac.Ldig respectively). In areas where tidal water movement is increased, a richer L. digitata-dominated biotope (MIR.Ldig.T) generally replaces the sheltered shore Laminaria saccharina (SIR.Lsac) biotope.
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