The intertidal zone is the area that connects the land to the ocean water. It is widely known as the seashore. There is so much to know about the intertidal zone as it is one of the marine environments that holds a great amount of biodiversity.
To get a greater idea of the area, here are 15 Characteristics of Ocean Intertidal Zone that you should know about. These features of the intertidal zone will give you further information about its environment.
1. Changing Structure
The ocean intertidal zone is prone to changes in its structure. This is due to its nature and the moving waves. The strength and the frequency of the waves that come into the intertidal zone will affect its formation. The changes can take place in days, months or years, depending on the exposure to the ocean waves. Weather may also become a contributing factor.
2. Hidden and Exposed by Tides
The tides in the ocean can either reveal or hide away the intertidal zone. During the low tide, the intertidal zone is more observable and approachable. On the other hand, the zone is completely hidden away by water during the high tide.
Read more: Causes of Ocean Tides Rise and Fall
3. Divided into Smaller Areas
There are smaller areas that are located in the intertidal zone. They are the spray zone, the high tide, the middle tide and the low tide. Each of this area has their own unique traits. The environment is different which affects the amount of water that is present in the area. That also means the marine creatures found in each zone vary depending on which area they live in.
See also: Ecological Importance of Marine Organism
4. Harsh Condition
The condition in the intertidal zone can be very harsh. Waves that come in could be violent. Extreme climates play a part too. This harsh condition has the potential to threaten the lives of humans as well as the marine creatures nearby.
5. Tide Pools
Tide pools can form within the intertidal zone. They are usually temporary rather than permanent. In the tide pool, main producers of the marine ecosystem can be found. For instance, it’s the perfect environment for algae to grow which can feed many marine animals. Other than that, the structure of tide pools enable marine creatures to seek shelter.
Read more: Importance of Algae in Ocean
6. Warmest Zone
Apparently, the intertidal zone is the warmest area in the entire ocean. The reason for this is because the area has more chances to be exposed to the sun. As the zone is not extremely deep, sunlight is able to get through the layers of water that is present there.
7. Varying Climate
Intertidal zones around the world do not have a uniform climate. Though it is the warmest area in the ocean, the air around the intertidal zone can be different. Depending on their locations, the climate can be extremely different. It can be cold to the point of freezing or it can be very hot.
See more: Importance of Ocean Temperature
8. Introduce Natural Disasters
Since the intertidal zone is basically where the ocean water meets land, there are quite a number of natural disasters that it can introduce. For example, the most dangerous thing about a hurricane is the water from the ocean. The wave surge can get into land. They may cause loss of lives and homes. Besides the wave surge, the intertidal zone may introduce flash flood and tsunami into the main land.
9. Altering Levels of Salinity
The levels of salinity in the intertidal zone can be different. Some parts may have high salinity due to the large amount of ocean water that it gets. But, other parts may have surprisingly low salinity. Water runoff from land, rivers and water from rainfall contribute to reducing the salinity of the water in the intertidal zone.
See also: Factors Affecting Ocean Salinity
10. Different Types of Soil
The types of soil that are found in the intertidal zones can be widely different. The ocean waves, the changing weather and many other factors cause the soil to have different components. Intertidal zones may have lots of big or small rocks in their soil. Glass may also be found as well. Sandy soil is common in the ocean intertidal zones.
Read more: Types of Soil in the Ocean
11. Mangrove Trees
Mangrove trees are frequently seen in the ocean intertidal zone. These trees are tall and they grow even better if the climate is warm. Mangrove trees bring many benefit to the intertidal zone and the marine creatures around the area. They reduce the amount of sand erosion and break big waves into smaller ones. The trees protect and act as home to many marine creatures.
12. Diverse Marine Creatures
In the intertidal zone, the marine creatures are diverse. Some of the creatures that live in the zone include the hermit crab, barnacles, shrimp, starfish, sea anemones, fish and even birds. These creatures find the most suitable environment in the intertidal zone according to their needs.
13. Large Sized Plants
The plants that grow in the intertidal zones can grow bigger than usual. Adequate amount of sunlight help to provide them with the perfect condition to thrive. Besides that, the salinity is just right. The marine plants are also safer in the intertidal zone as they are less exposed to predators.
See more: Endangered Plants in the Ocean
14. Adaptable Marine Creatures
The marine creatures that live Iive in the intertidal zone must have high ability to adapt. A reason for this is the harsh condition that the zone can be. Other than that is the rise and the fall of the tides. Creatures that find it hard to adapt in the zone will have less chance of survival.
15. Recreational Place
The intertidal zone provides human a place where they can carry out recreational activities. Besides doing fun things in the area, people can also see the biodiversity of the ocean. The intertidal zone is an interesting place where unique marine creatures display their ability to adapt in different parts of the ocean.
These characteristics are the reasons why the intertidal zone is a crucial part of the ocean. A lot happen here and it is one of the most accessible parts of the ocean where humans can interact with its creatures.