Biodiversity & Conservation

Chrysophyceae on vertical upper littoral fringe soft rock



Image Tim Hill - Base of vertical chalk cliff showing green cover of Chrysophyceae. Image width ca XX cm.
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Distribution map

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

  • EC_Habitats

For a list of 2004 characterising species please see the JNCC website.

Species indicative of sensitivity

To assess the sensitivity of the biotope, the sensitivity of component species is reviewed. Those species that are considered to be particularly indicative of the sensitivity of the biotope, and for which research has been undertaken in detail are shown below (see selection criteria). The biology of other component species of the biotope is also taken into account wherever information is known to the researcher.

Species found especially in this biotope

  • Pringsheimiella scutata
  • Entodesmis maritima
  • Thallochrysis litoralis
  • Ulvella lens
  • Pleurocladia lacustris
  • Praisnocladus lubricus
  • Pseudendoclonium submarinum
  • Chrysotila lamellosa
  • Trebouxia humicola
  • Kuetzingiella holmesii
  • Ectocarpus sp.
  • Petalonia filiformis
  • Entocladia viridis
  • Apistonema carterae
  • Chrysotila stipitata
  • Gleochrysis maritima
  • Entodesmis litoralis


This biotope is characterized by the presence of the mucilaginous mat of Chrysophyceae and Haptophyceae, dominated by Apistonema carterae, growing in association with Pseudendoclonium submarinum (previously described by Anand as Endoderma perforans). The composition of the 'Chrysophyceae' communities varies with season, moisture and in caves or tunnels. The arthropod community (red mites, insects, centipedes and spiders) are mobile species that are found within the supralittoral and are not dependant on this biotope. Therefore, the 'Chrysophyceae' communities as a whole have been used to indicate the sensitivity of the biotope and no indicative species were chosen. However, in undertaking this assessment of sensitivity, account was taken of knowledge of the biology of all characterizing species in the biotope.

Additional information

The composition of the 'Chrysophyceae' communities and associated species were described in detail by Anand (1937a,b,&c) and in subsequent surveys by Tittley & Shaw (1980) and Tittley (1985; 1988). Anand (1937b) described two main Chrysophyceae communities and three associated Cyanobacteria communities in addition to the Pseudendoclonium submarinum community. In addition, Anand (1937a) recorded two species new to the British Isles and several rare species (see Fowler & Tittley, 1993).

This review can be cited as follows:

Tyler-Walters, H. 2001. Chrysophyceae on vertical upper littoral fringe soft rock. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 30/11/2015]. Available from: <>