.

Flora and Fauna

Killifish

Yellow Spongefish

Blenny

Sand Shrimp

Kelp

Plankton

Dulse

Eel grass

Sargassum

Surf grass

Irish moss

Rockweed

Blue-Green Algae

Lichen

Sea lettuce

Characteristics/Adaptations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Fauna

 

 

LOW-LEVEL

 MID-LEVEL

 HIGH-LEVEL

SPLASH ZONE

Chordates

 backbone

 bilaterally symmetrical

sculpins

killifish

 

 

blenny

yellow spongefish

 

 

Echinoderms

 spiny skin

 tube feet

 live on ocean floor

 radially symmetrical

sea star

sea star

 

 

sea cucumber

 

 

 

sea urchin

 

 

 

Arthropods

 jointed appendages

 often clawed

 hard exterior skeleton

 bilaterally symmetrical

 

sand shrimp

 

 

lobster *

 

 

 

crab

hermit crabs

green-lined shore crab

 

barnacles

barnacles

barnacles

barnacles

Mollusks

 shell

 tentacles with suckers

 bilaterally symmetrical

octopus *

 

 

 

nudibranch

 

 

 

chiton

chiton

 

 

mussel

mussel

mussel

 

scallop *

 

 

 

abalone *

limpet

limpet

limpet

snail

snail

snail

snail

 Cnidarians

 tentacles with stinging cells

 shaped like a jellyfish

 radially symmetrical

sea anemone

sea anemone

 

 

 Others: Birds, Crabs, Octopuses

Flora

 

  LOW-LEVEL

 MID-LEVEL

  HIGH-LEVEL

Kelp

Irish moss

Kelp

Plankton

Plankton

Blue-green algae

Dulse

Rock weed

Lichen

Eel grass

 

Sea lettuce

Sargassum

 

 

Surf grass

 

 

Rocky shores are amongst the most fascinating of all ecosystems and a huge variety of marine life can be seen there. The animals and plants on the shore have to be able to live both under water and in air, and the length of time they have to survive out of water increases the higher up the shore they are. The species at higher levels are thus few in number and are specially adapted to the hot, dry conditions there. These adaptations include protective shells and an ability to tolerate loss of much of their body water. Lower in the shore, and in rock pools, conditions are easier, so more delicate species and many more types of plants and animals can be found.

Mobile animals are very active and either move up and down with the tides or retreat into gulleys and under rocks when conditions become stressful. They include the crabs, small fishes, sea lice, star fishes and many of the sea snails. Mobile animals are often well camouflaged which helps them escape predation, or to surprise prey. Others, like the sea slugs, are brightly coloured to advertise that they are poisonous and so warn off hungry predators.

Fixed or sedentary animals such as barnacles or mussels survive best in a narrow range of conditions to which they are adapted. Some are thus confined to the high shore, while others are found only at low tide level. They spend their lives firmly attached to the rocks so that they cannot be washed away by the waves.

 

They are usually protected by shells which can be sealed during the dry period to reduce water loss. As they cannot move in search of food, they rely on small particles of food that they filter from the water that washes over them at high tide.

Mussels pump water through their shells and filter food from it, barnacles use their feathery limbs to comb particles from the water, and many tube worms have tentacles to collect food particles. The beautiful sea anemones capture small creatures that stray within range of their tentacles. Sedentary animals are easy prey for birds, fish, crabs and octopuses and this is why they have developed various methods of defense such as thick, protective shells.