The Intertidal Zone

The Intertidal Zone

Sandy Beach and Surf Zones

Marine Science

The sandy beach and surf zones are two environments, which are usually found along the edges of the sea. The sandy shore environment is made up of sand and grains of rock and crushed shells while the surf zone environment is made up mainly of water. Although the sandy beach zone is said to be one of the most common environments along the shore, it is considered a very harsh and dynamic environment.

Sandy beach shores usually have very harsh physical conditions. The constant sand movement presents a problem for living organisms. These organisms have nothing to hold on to, and have to either swim or burrow rapidly or else they will be swept away by the water and the sand. They also cannot live on the surface or live in permanent burrow. This is why sandy beaches are hardly populated when compared to other shores. In the sandy beach zone there are approximately 6 to 7 different species. However, although there is little diversity each of these species may be millions in numbers.

The Upper inter-tidal zone consists mainly of dunes trees and crustaceans. This zone has the widest range of heat and cold. Because of this it also presents problems of heat in the summer and problems with freezing for organisms in the winter.

The Mid-zone has similar problems with temperature as the upper inter-tidal zone. This zone has more waves and therefore has rapid sand removal during storms. Organisms such as the Pismo clam and spiny mole crab live in this zone. The swash zone is where wave breaking occurs. This zone has the highest water movement but does not have the extreme temperatures, which the other zones have. The organisms that live in the swash zone include the sand crab among others. Despite the harsh conditions, which characterize this environment, sandy beach shores, gives different number of habitats for organisms. Each habitat or zone contains a...

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