BIOTIC Species Information for Laminaria hyperborea
Researched byDr Harvey Tyler-Walters Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr Joanna Jones
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandFound on most coasts of Britain and Ireland. Scarce along the south east coast of Britain due to a lack of suitable substrata.
Global distributionRestricted to the north east Atlantic from the northern coast of Iceland, north to the Russian coast near Murmansk and south to Cape Mondego, mid-Portugal including Norway, Faroes, northern France and northern Spain but absent from the Bay of Biscay.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth rangeExtreme low water to 47m although usually to ca 30m
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationLaminaria hyperborea is not found in areas influenced by sediment (e.g. sand) scour. Laminaria hyperborea is absent is areas of extreme wave action or currents (e.g. surge gullies) since the stiff stipe is likely to snap or holdfasts tear off. It is also absent from sheltered areas. The upper limit of its distribution may be depressed by wave action, e.g. in St Kilda its upper limit is several metres below MLWS (Birkett et al., 1998b). High irradiances (comparable to direct sunlight) reduce photosynthesis in Laminaria hyperborea, which may explain its absence from intertidal rock pools, where it is replaced by %Laminaria digitata% (Kain et al., 1975). The lower limit of Laminaria hyperborea is determined by light penetration except in the presence of grazing e.g. by Echinus in the Isle of Man (Jones & Kain, 1967; Kain et al. 1974). The lower limit for Laminarians is generally considered to be about 1 percent of surface irradiance (Luning, 1990; Birkett et al., 1998b).

Substratum preferencesBedrock
Large to very large boulders
Artificial (e.g. metal/wood/concrete)
Physiographic preferencesOpen coast
Strait / sound
Ria / Voe
Enclosed coast / Embayment
Biological zoneUpper Infralittoral
Lower Infralittoral
Wave exposureVery Exposed
Moderately Exposed
Tidal stream strength/Water flowModerately Strong (1-3 kn)
Weak (<1 kn)
SalinityFull (30-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Lüning, 1990, Norton, 1985, Birkett et al., 1998b, JNCC, 1999, Picton & Costello, 1998, Jones & Kain, 1967, Kain et al., 1975, Erwin et al., 1990, Hardy & Guiry, 2003,
About MarLIN | Contact, Enquiries & Feedback | Terms & Conditions | Funding | Glossary | Accessibility | Privacy | Sponsorship

Creative Commons License BIOTIC (Biological Traits Information Catalogue) by MarLIN (Marine Life Information Network) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license are available at Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own terms and conditions and they may or may not be available for reuse. Based on a work at