Biodiversity & Conservation

Yellow and grey lichens on supralittoral rock



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

  • #
  • #
  • #
Distribution map

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

  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

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

  • Armeria maritima
  • Caloplaca marina
  • Tephromela atra
  • Ochrolechia parella
  • Ramalina siliquosa
  • Verrucaria maura
  • Xanthoria parietina
  • Ligia oceanica
Community Importance Species name Common Name
Important characterizing Caloplaca marina A lichen
Important characterizing Ochrolechia parella A lichen
Important characterizing Tephromela atra Black shields
Important characterizing Ramalina siliquosa Sea ivory
Important characterizing Xanthoria parietina A lichen


The lichen flora provide some primary productivity but more importantly provide shelter and niches for the invertebrate fauna. A few species of acarid mites and tardigrades are closely associated with and possibly dependant on a few species of supralittoral lichen. Therefore, the sensitivity of the biotope is probably represented by the lichens alone.

Additional information

Fletcher (1980) reported that almost 450 species of lichen occurred on mid-littoral and supralittoral rocky shores around Britain and represented about one third of the British lichen flora. Fewer species are likely to occur on a single shore, for example Fletcher (1980) suggested that a shore in Wales would typically support 150 lichen species while a Northumberland shore may only support 40-60 species. Pugh & King (1988) reported 77 species of acarid mites from the supralittoral, the majority from lichens and tidal debris, although the diversity of species varies with location. Morgan & Lampard (1986) reported 7 species of tardigrade from only 4 species of supralittoral lichen on the Great Cumbrae. The lichen flora probably also supports a variety of spring tails (Collumbola), maritime insects, pseudoscorpions and spiders that are not generally recorded in surveys, so that species richness is likely to be underestimated.

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 27/11/2015]. Available from: <>