information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Rhodochorton purpureum and Pleurocladia lacustris crusts on upper and mid-shore cave walls and ceilings



UK and Ireland classification

UK and Ireland classification


Golden brown velvety growths of the brown algae Pleurocladia lacustris (syn. Pilinia maritima) occurring in mats with the red alga Rhodochorton purpureum (syn. Audouinella purpurea) forming on cave walls and upper littoral levels of cliffs. Fauna is sparse and limited to occasional individuals of the winkle Littorina saxatilis and spirorbid polychaetes. This assemblage is thought to be is widespread throughout Britain, although there are currently few records available. More information are needed to validate this description, which is based on information from the Thanet intertidal survey.  This biotope is found at the entrances and the inner reaches of caves between a band of RhoCla and the GCv zone above. (Information taken from Connor et al., 2004). Please note that Rhodochorton purpureum is the accepted name for Audouinella purpurea and Pleurocladia lacustris is the accepted name for Pilinia maritima.

Depth range

Upper shore

Additional information

Both of the Rhodochorton purpureum (syn. Audouinella purpurea) biotopes LR.FLR.CvOv.RhoCla and CvOV.RhoPle are very similar cave habitats and both are dominated by Rhodochorton purpurea. While other macroalgae or algal films may also occur, Rhodochorton purpureum is the dominant species. Therefore, the following sensitivity review represents both biotopes. Where relevant, differences in the sensitivity of Cladophora rupestris or Pleurocladia lacustris (syn. Pilinia maritima) are highlighted. 

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Species indicative of sensitivity


Physical Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Chemical Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Biological Pressures

No sensitivity data available

Additional information



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This review can be cited as:

Tyler-Walters, H., 2016. [Rhodochorton purpureum] and [Pleurocladia lacustris] crusts on upper and mid-shore cave walls and ceilings. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 19-06-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 27/03/2016