Quote from MarLIN:
Drift kelp has long been collected as an agricultural fertilizer and soil conditioner. Recently kelps have been harvested for the alginate industry which produces valuable emulsifiers and gelling agents for cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industry. Laminaria hyperborea is harvested commercially in Norway, Brittany, Scotland and Ireland (for reviews see Guiry & Blunden, 1991; Wilkinson, 1995 and Birkett et al., 1998b).
Kelps provide a unique habitat and substratum for many organisms and kelp forests are species rich habitats (Birkett et al., 1998b). Laminaria hyperborea provide three separate habitats, the blade (or frond), the stipe and the holdfast. The blades support Helcion pellucidum, the bryozoan Membranipora membranacea and the hydroid Obelia geniculata (Erwin et al., 1990; Birkett et al., 1998b) as well as endophytes and epiphytes, e.g. Myrionema corunnae (only found on Laminaria blades), and Pogotrichum filiforme and Chilionema sp., which are mainly restricted to kelp blades (Birkett et al., 1998b).
The stipes support a diverse flora and fauna, especially foliose algae, depending on the age of the stipe, density of the kelp plants, and depth (Norton et al., 1977; Birkett et al. 1998b,). Hiscock & Mitchell (1980) list 15 species of algae associated with kelp stipes including, Palmaria palmata, Membranoptera alata, and Phycodrys rubens which are found mainly or solely on kelp stipes in the sublittoral.
Kelp holdfasts support a diverse fauna that represents a sample of the surrounding mobile fauna and crevice dwelling organisms, e.g. cnidaria, polychaetes, nematodes, gastropods, bivalves, cirripedes, amphipods, isopods, copepods (mainly harpacticoids), and small crabs (Hoare & Hiscock, 1974; Jones, 1971; Moore, 1973a & b; Sheppard et al., 1980). Moore (1973a) lists 389 species from holdfasts collected from the north east coast of Britain. A useful account of holdfast fauna is given by Hayward (1988).
Kelp holdfasts form a convenient sampling unit, and holdfast fauna has been used to investigate the effects of pollution (e.g. Moore, 1973a, b; Sheppard et al., 1980) and were recently used (amongst other studies) to examine the effects of the Sea Empress Oil spill (Somerfield & Warwick, 1999). Further information of the community associated with Laminaria hyperborea and its importance is detailed under the biotopeEIR.LhypR. Click here for Importance References