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Tide pool

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Title: Tide pool  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Benthos, Gumboot chiton, Ipojuca, Anchialine pool, Coastal geography
Collection: Bodies of Water, Coastal and Oceanic Landforms, Coastal Geography, Marine Biology, Natural Pools, Tides
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Tide pool

The side of a tide pool in Santa Cruz, California showing sea stars (Dermasterias), sea anemones (Anthopleura) and sea sponges.
A tide pool in Porto Covo, west coast of Portugal

Tide pools, or rock pools, are rocky pools on the sea shore which are filled with seawater. Many of these pools exist as separate pools only at low tide.

Many tide pools are habitats of especially adaptable animals that have engaged the attention of naturalists and marine biologists, as well as philosophical essayists: John Steinbeck wrote in The Log from the Sea of Cortez, "It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again."[1]


  • Zones from shallow to deep 1
    • High tide zone 1.1
    • Low tide zone 1.2
  • Life in the tide pool 2
    • Fauna 2.1
    • Flora 2.2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Zones from shallow to deep

Tide pools in Santa Cruz, California from spray/splash zone to low tide zone

Tidal pools exist in the Lichens and barnacles live in this region.[1] In this zone, different barnacle species live at very tightly constrained elevations. Tidal conditions precisely determine the exact height of an assemblage relative to sea level.

The intertidal zone is periodically exposed to sun and wind, which desiccate barnacles, which need to be well adapted to water loss. Their calcite shells are impermeable, and they possess two plates which they slide across their mouth opening when not feeding. These plates also protect against predation.

High tide zone

The high tide zone is flooded during each high tide. Organisms must survive wave action, currents, and exposure to the sun. This zone is predominantly inhabited by seaweed and invertebrates, such as sea anemones, starfish, chitons, crabs, green algae, and mussels. Marine algae provide shelter for nudibranches and hermit crabs. The same waves and currents that make life in the high tide zone difficult bring food to filter feeders and other intertidal organisms.

Photo of dozens of palm-tree shaped seaweed plants exposed to the air
Low tide zone in a tide pool

Low tide zone

Also called the Lower Littoral Zone. This area is usually under water - it is only exposed when the tide is unusually low. This sub region is mostly submerged, but it is exposed only during low tide often it teems with life and has much more marine vegetation, especially seaweeds. There is also greater biodiversity. Organisms in this zone do not have to be as well adapted to drying out and temperature extremes. Low tide zone organisms include abalone, anemones, brown seaweed, chitons, crabs, green algae, hydroids, isopods, limpets, and mussels. These creatures can grow to larger sizes because there is more available energy and better water coverage: the water is shallow enough to allow more sunlight for photosynthetic activity, and the salinity is at almost normal levels. This area is also relatively protected from large predators because of the wave action and shallow water.

Life in the tide pool

Tide pools provide a home for hardy organisms such as starfish, mussels and clams. Inhabitants must be able to deal with a frequently changing environment — fluctuations in water temperature, salinity, and oxygen content. Hazards include waves, strong currents, exposure to midday sun and predators.

Waves can dislodge ocean, drying up in the sun, or getting eaten, they depend on the tide pool's constant changes for food.[1]


The sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima reproduces clones of itself through a process called longitudinal fission, in which the animal splits into two parts along its length.[3] The sea anemone Anthopleura sola often engages in territorial fights. The white tentacles (acrorhagi), which contain stinging cells, are for fighting. The sea anemones sting each other repeatedly until one moves.[4]

Some species of starfish can

  • Tidal swimming pools in Britain

External links

  1. ^ a b c "NPCA Tide pools". September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  2. ^ "Botanical Beach Tide Pools". September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  3. ^ "Sea Anemones". September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  4. ^ "Snakelocks Anemone". British Marine Life Study Society. September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  5. ^ "Biology:Regeneration". Dana Krempels, Ph.D. September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  6. ^ Blanchette, Carol Anne (1995). "Postelsia palmaeformis"Seasonal patterns of disturbance influence recruitment of the sea palm, . Department of Zoology, Oregon State University. Retrieved 13 July 2007. 
  7. ^ Paine, R.T. (1998). "Habitat Suitability and Local Population Persistence of the Sea Palm Postelsia palmaeformis". Ecology 69 (6): 1787–1794.  


See also

Recent studies have shown that Postelsia grows in greater numbers when such competition exists — a control group with no competition produced fewer offspring than an experimental group with mussels; from this it is thought that the mussels provide protection for the developing gametophytes.[6] Alternatively, the mussels may prevent the growth of competing algae such as Corallina or Halosaccion, allowing Postelsia to grow freely after wave action removes the mussels.[7]

Mytilus californianus.



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