What is an intertidal zone?

1 Answer
Jun 15, 2014

The intertidal zone, also known as the foreshore and seashore and sometimes referred to as the littoral zone, is the area that is above water at low tide and under water at high tide.

The region contains a high diversity of species, and the zonation created by the tides causes species ranges to be compressed into very narrow bands. This is something not normally seen in other ecosystems.

Organisms living in this environment must have adaptions for both wet and dry conditions. Hazards include being smashed or carried away by rough waves, exposure to dangerously high temperatures, and drying out. The organisms change rapidly over time rather than very slowly as seen in other ecosystems.

Typical inhabitants of the intertidal areas include urchins, isopods, mussels, sea anemones, barnacles, crabs, sea stars, and many other marine mollusks.