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Marine Habitat Classification

Description of biotope or habitat type

To understand more about what this page is describing, see How to use the classification. See also How to cite.

   Features of littoral rock

Physical habitat description

Salinity Full (30-35 ppt), Reduced (18-30ppt), Variable (18-35 ppt), Low (<18ppt)
Wave exposure Extremely exposed, Very exposed, Exposed, Moderately exposed, Sheltered, Very sheltered, Extremely sheltered
Tidal streams
Substratum Bedrock, boulders, cobbles and pebbles
Zone Eulittoral, Littoral fringe, Supralittoral
Depth Band Lower shore, Mid shore, Strandline, Upper shore
Other Features

Download comparative physical and biological data. The comparative tables enable a rapid comparison of the species composition and principal physical characteristics between a given set of biotopes.

Distribution of habitat LR.FLR Features of littoral rock

  • Records used to define the biotope (core records)
  • Other records assigned to this biotope, marked as 'certain'
  • Other records assigned to this biotope, marked as 'uncertain'

Point data based on records in the UK Marine Recorder Snapshot.


Littoral rock features includes lichens and algae crusts (LIC) in the supralittoral zone and rockpools (Rkp), ephemeral algae (Eph) and caves (CvOv) in the intertidal zone (the area of the shore between high and low tides). These features are present throughout the littoral rock zone from the upper limit at the top of of the lichen zone and the lower limit by the top of the laminarian kelp zone. These features can be found on most rocky shores regardless of wave exposure. Lichens can be found in the supralittoral zone on shores with suitable substratum. The lichen band is wider and more distinct on more exposed shores. Rockpools occur where the topography of the shore allows seawater to be retained within depressions in the bedrock producing 'pools' on the retreat of the tide. As these rockpool communities are permanently submerged they are not directly affected by height on the shore and normal rocky shore zonation patterns do not apply allowing species from the sublittoral to survive. Ephemeral seaweeds occur on disturbed littoral rock in the lower to upper shore. The shaded nature of caves and overhangs diminishes the amount of desiccation suffered by biota during periods of low tides which allows certain species to proliferate. In addition, the amount of scour, wave surge, sea spray and penetrating light determines the unique community assemblages found in upper, mid and lower shore caves, and on overhangs on the lower shore.


No situation data available.

Temporal variation

No temporal variation data available.

Characterising species

Characterising species data not applicable.

Similar biotopes or habitat types

Not applicable or unknown.

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