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

Text page icon Habitat description

Map icon Distribution of biotope in Britain and Ireland Recorded from chalk and other soft rock cliffs on the Calf of Eday, Orkney; St. Andrews Bay, Fife; Flamborough Head; the Thanet and east Kent coasts; the Isle of Wight; Isle of Purbeck, south Dorset coast and Lyme Bay.
National importance Rare

Text page icon Description of biotope

For a full description of this biotope including characterizing species, distribution, survey information and references visit JNCC

Chrysophyceae communities form orange, brownish or blackish gelatinous bands at high tide and supralittoral levels on open cliff faces and in caves and tunnels of soft rock. Open cliff-faces and entrances to chalk caves and tunnels at lower supralittoral levels bear a dark brown band comprising an assemblage dominated by Apistonema carterae. During summer this gelatinous growth dries and often peels off. The filamentous green alga Epicladia perforans is often associated with Apistonema, forming a green layer beneath the upper layer of Apistonema. Entodesmus maritima and Thallochrysis litoralis are commonly associated with Apistonema. Associated with this splash zone algal community is an assemblage of animals of terrestrial origin, with red mites, insects and centipedes commonly found. These species descend into the community as the tide falls and retreat as the tide rises. The most common truly marine species is the small winkle Melarhaphe neritoides. (Information taken from the Marine Biotope Classification for Britain and Ireland, Version 97.06: Connor et al., 1997a, b).

Additional information icon Additional information

This review is primarily based on detailed studies of the supralittoral algal flora by Anand, (1937a,b, &c) and Tittley & Shaw (1980), to which the reader should refer for further information. This review is used to represent the Ulothrix flacca and Urospora sp. biotope LR.UloUro. The Ulva sp. and Blidingia sp. belt is discussed under MLR.Ent and other littoral caves biotopes under LR.Ov.

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 28/11/2015]. Available from: <>