Biodiversity & Conservation

Yellow and grey lichens on supralittoral rock



Image Roger Covey - Yellow and grey lichens on supralittoral rock. Image width ca XX m.
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Distribution map

LR.FLR.Lic.YG recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

Marine natural heritage importance

Listed under EC Habitats Directive
UK Biodiversity Action Plan
National importance Widespread
Habitat Directive feature (Annex 1) Reefs
Large shallow inlets and bays

Biotope importance

Lichen communities probably represent an important source of primary productivity and refuge in the otherwise harsh and barren environment of supralittoral rock. Fletcher (1980) considered rocky shores to be one of the most important habitats for lichens in Britain since almost 450 species of lichen inhabit the littoral and supralittoral rocks around Britain, representing about one third of the lichen flora of Britain, Lichen communities harbour a diverse invertebrate fauna that could potentially provide food for insectivorous birds (e.g. rock pipit). However, little other information was found.


Lichens have been collected in the past for the manufacture of dyes, e.g. Ochrolechia parella. Collection of lichens to prepare lichen-dyed tweed has largely stopped (Richardson & Young, 1977), Lichens have also been used as food or for the manufacture of dyes, perfumes and medicines in various parts of the world in the past (Richardson & Young, 1977; Gilbert 2000).

Lichens have proved to be important indicators of air quality, although primarily in terrestrial ecosystems (James & Syratt, 1987; Richardson, 1992; NHM, 2002).

Additional information icon Additional information

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This review can be cited as follows:

Tyler-Walters, H. 2002. Yellow and grey lichens on supralittoral rock. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 01/12/2015]. Available from: <>