Saccorhiza polyschides and other opportunistic kelps on disturbed upper infralittoral rock
|Within Vocab||Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 97.06|
|Definition||The sublittoral fringe, mainly in the south-west and west, may be dominated by the kelp Saccorhiza polyschides. This opportunistic coloniser may replace Laminaria digitata or L. hyperborea as the dominant kelp, following disturbance of the canopy such as through storm losses or sand scour. Being essentially a summer annual (it occasionally lasts into a second year), S. polyschides is particularly common close to rock/sand interfaces which are too scoured during winter months to allow the longer-living kelps to survive. As a result of its transient nature, the composition of this biotope is varied and it may contain several other kelp species, including Laminaria digitata, Laminaria saccharina and Alaria esculenta, at varying abundances. Beneath the kelp, the under-storey seaweeds include Cladostephus spongiosus, Ceramium nodulosum, Dilsea carnosa and coralline algae, all of which are tolerant to sand scour. On some shores (for example in Cornwall and south-west Ireland), Saccorhiza polyschides may compete so effectively with the other laminarians that it forms a well-defined zone between the L. digitata and L. hyperborea zones. In addition, in wave exposed areas, it may also dominate the infralittoral zone (see EIR.LsacSac).|
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