Many channels intersect the rocky area creating good tidepool habitat

What is a Tide Pool

What is a tidepool? What makes a good tidepool? Tidepools are rocky areas that trap seawater in small pools, cracks and channels as the water rises and lowers based on the tides. As the sea level lowers, a pool of water is trapped for a period of time. When the seawater rises, the areas are flooded again and the cycle continues. These pools of water created by the tides are aptly named “tide pools” as they are pools of water created by the tide.

Tidepools may also be considered as any part of the intertidal zone where there are rocks and other substrate for plants and animals to attach too. The intertidal zone is the area between the upper limit of the tide and the lower limit of the tide. Sandy beaches are not considered as tide pools as there is no hard surface for plants and animals to attach on too.

Life in a tidepool environment can be very hard and hazardous. Plants and Animals are continuously exposed to very harsh conditions. Marine life that lives in this environment is subjected to very harsh physical conditions. These conditions include huge waves that continually pound the plants and animals, constantly being submerged in sea water and then exposed to air, rapidly changing temperatures both in the water and air and quickly changing saltiness or salinity of the water. These are called abiotic factors or non-biological factors.

Plants and animals living in tidepool areas are also subjected to a variety of biological related pressure. These include predation from other animals, competition for living space, competition for food and human impacts. These are referred to as biological or biotic factors.

When exploring the tidepool environment visitors will begin to notice certain patters. These patterns include the distribution of animals in certain locations, similarities between adaptations of the animals and even the absence of marine life in certain locations. After spending some time observing this amazing environment, these patterns become more apparent.

At first glance, these patterns may appear random. These patterns and why these patterns form are anything but random and most have very interesting explanations and reasons why they form. We learned that there are two groups of challenges marine life must overcome when living in a tidepool. They are physical and biological factors. But why would any plant or animal want to live in this environment in the first place.

To understand this question and the answers, we must acknowledge two basic driving forces about these plants and animals. The first driving force is they will try to eat as much food as possible. The second driving force is they will want to prevent themselves from being eaten or killed. The goal for all marine life is to perpetuate their species by having offspring. The reason why animals live in tide pools in the first place and why the patterns in tidepool ecology exist is the result of the interaction between these two driving forces and the physical and biological factors described earlier.

As visitors explore the tidepool area keep in mind the challenges marine life faces in this environment and try to think about the adaptations these plants and animals have that allow them to overcome the physical and biological factors and ultimately survive.
Posted in Animals.

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