Laminaria setchellii Silva (BC)

This distinctive kelp forms dense stands in the low intertidal (Image A) and extends into the subtidal (Image B), typically at semi-exposed to exposed locations. Individuals have a hapteral holdfast that bears a relatively long and stiff stipe, which is crowned by a typically digitate blade (Image C). Some subtidal individuals, as well as those with eroded blades, can have simple blades, but the stiff stipe and general appearance of the plants assist in their identification (Image B). However, we have one atypical collection from Browning Wall, a relatively sheltered albeit high current and deep location (10 m), which would not be obviously identified as this species (Image D). There are slight differences in rbcL and further study is warranted. As an aside, Jacques Cousteau is reported to have considered Browning Wall one of the best locations to observe cold water marine life. As seaweed were not overly abundant when we collected there, I suspect he intended best cold water location for marine animals.

We have collections extending the range of the BC coast.

Image A. Exposed population in the low intertidal at Gordon Islands (West), Gwaii Haanas, BC (EGWS000188).

Image B. Specimens growing in the subtidal (6 m) at an exposed location (SGang Gwaay, Gwaii Haanas, BC; GWS048217).

Image C. Individuals have a hapteral holdfast, a long and stiff stipe, and are topped by a digitate blade (subtidal (10 m) on rock, Lost Islands, SE wall, Gwaii Haanas, BC; GWS027958).

Image D. Press of an atypical specimen from the subtidal (10 m) at Browning Wall, north of Port Hardy, BC (GWS004735).