This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The intertidal or littoral zone is the shallowest part of the continental shelf, right where the land meets the sea. This is the area that is exposed to the air at low tide and covered by water at high tide. 1. Why is the intertidal zone unique among marine environments? The intertidal zone is unique among marine environments because it is the only environment that is regularly exposed to air. 2. What is the difference between emersion and immersion? Emersion is being out of water and exposed to air. Immersion is being submerged in the water. 3. What is the substrate? Why is it important in the intertidal zone? The substrate is the material on or in which a bottom-dwelling (or benthic) organism lives. The effects of the tide in the intertidal zone and therefore the nature of the community that lives in the intertidal zone depend greatly on the type of substrate that is present. 4. What are the two types of substrate that are most common in intertidal zones? The two types of substrate that are most common in intertidal zones are rocky bottoms and soft bottoms covered with sand or mud. 5. Where do rocky shores usually occur? Rocky shores usually occur on recently uplifted or geologically young coasts or on coasts where erosion actively removes sediments and soft rocks. In North America, rocky shores are common on the West Coast and on the East Coast north of Cape Cod. Hawaii (and other active volcanic islands) also predominantly has rocky shores. 6. What is epifauna? What is its significance on rocky shores? Epifauna are organisms that live on the surface of the substrate. Most of the animals in the rocky intertidal zone are epifauna. Most epifauna are sessile (don't move) and attached to rocks in the intertidal zone. 7. What are four challenges that organisms in the intertidal face as a result of exposure at low tide? Four challenges that organisms in the intertidal face as a result of exposure to air at low tide are water loss, temperature variations, salinity variations, and restriction of feeding time. 8. What are two strategies that intertidal organisms use to deal with water loss? There are more than two strategies that intertidal organisms use to deal with water loss or desiccation at low tide, and some organisms use more than one strategy. Mobile marine organisms, such as snails and hermit crabs, often use the “run-and-hide” strategy. Hiding places include tide pools and moist and shady cracks and crevices. Sessile organisms, such as sea weeds or barnacles or mussels, can’t run and hide. Some sessile organisms, such as some seaweeds and chitons, just allow themselves to dry out and then regain the lost water when the tide comes back in. Other sessile organisms “clam up”—that is they use some sort of protective covering to conserve water. Barnacles and mussels close up their shells, and limpets and other organisms clamp tightly down against the rocks. 9. What are two strategies that intertidal organisms use to deal with temperature variability? There are more than two strategies that intertidal organisms use to deal with temperature variability in the intertidal zone, and some organisms use more than one strategy. Most intertidal organisms are much more tolerant of variations in temperature than are their relatives that live below the intertidal zone. However, even those that can tolerate low or
15. and some organisms use more than one strategy. Restriction of feeding time may cause intertidal organisms to grow slowly or it may limit where in the intertidal they are able to successfully live. many snails use their muscular feet to clamp down on the rocks. and mussels attach using byssal threads.high temperatures will employ other strategies to avoid these conditions. In order to do this. and some organisms use more than one strategy. Others. like sea weeds and sea anemones. Most intertidal organisms are much more tolerant of variations in salinity than are their relatives that live below the intertidal zone. For example. 14. even those that can tolerate low or high salinity will employ other strategies to avoid these conditions. Mobile organisms may cling strongly to the rocks. which insulates the organism from the outside salinity variations. What are the three zones of the rocky intertidal? . Some intertidal organisms. They also have low profiles that keep them close to the rocks. 13. such as certain species of snails. However. the organisms must have effective means of dispersal—that is. One strategy is the familiar “run-and-hide” strategy—tide pools and crevices are somewhat insulated from the changes in air temperature. One strategy is the familiar “run-and-hide” strategy—tide pools and crevices are somewhat insulated from the changes in salinity. either they or their offspring must be good at finding and moving to new. Some intertidal organisms are adept at overgrowing. What are two strategies that intertidal organisms use to deal with salinity variations? There are more than two strategies that intertidal organisms use to deal with salinity variability in the intertidal zone. which reflects the presence of particular organisms. Some organisms simply cannot tolerate the wave shock and find sheltered areas in which to hide. and some organisms use more than one strategy. What is vertical zonation? Vertical zonation is the division of rocky intertidal community into distinct bands or zones. One strategy is to be the first to get to open spaces. or smothering their neighbors! The most important strategy is to be really good at holding on to the space that you already occupy. sea weeds attach using their holdfasts. What are three strategies for successfully competing for space in the rocky intertidal? There are more than three strategies that intertidal organisms use to compete for space in the rocky intertidal. Another strategy is to take over spaces that are already occupied. There are more than two strategies that intertidal organisms use to deal with wave shock in the intertidal zone. What are three strategies used by intertidal organisms to cope with wave shock? Wave shock is the intensity of the impact of breaking waves against the shoreline. empty spaces. may have either dark or light shells to help keep them either warmer or cooler depending on their environment. undercutting. 12. 10. Another strategy is the familiar “clam up” strategy. For example. are flexible and bend with the waves. 11. How does restriction of feeding time influence rocky intertidal organisms? Most rocky intertidal organisms only feed when the tide is high and they are covered by water. Many intertidal organisms that live in areas with high wave shock have thicker shells than their counterparts in calmer areas. Sessile organisms may have mechanisms for anchoring themselves firmly to the rocks.
The distribution of mussels is determined by tolerance to desiccation and filter feeding time at the upper part and predation by sea starts in the lower part of the zone. The upper intertidal zone experiences frequent and prolonged exposure to air. and lower intertidal zones. middle intertidal. mussels would dominate this zone and exclude all other organisms. The distribution of these barnacles is determined by tolerance of immersion at the upper part and competition at the lower part of the zone. Biological interactions are important . are keystone predators in the middle intertidal zone because their presence or absence determines the community’s composition. periwinkle snails. distinct vertical zones. mussels are superb competitors for space in the middle intertidal zone. and shore birds. encrusting algae. What are the typical steps of ecological succession in the middle intertidal zone of a rocky shoreline? The typical steps of ecological succession in the rocky middle intertidal zone are. especially predation and competition. The middle intertidal zone is submerged and uncovered by the tides on a regular basis. 17. Starfish. Typical organisms include lichens. Without starfish to keep their population levels in check. 19. A keystone predator is a predatory species whose effects on its community are proportionately much greater than its abundance. a bacterial and algal film develops. Why typically limits the lower distribution (farthest from land) of rocky intertidal organisms? The lower limit at which a species occurs is usually determined mainly by biological factors. The lower intertidal zone is immersed most of the time. 16. What typically limits the upper distribution (closest to land) of rocky intertidal organisms? The upper limit at which a species occurs is usually determined mainly by physical factors. 20. Describe the middle intertidal zone with respect to physical conditions and typical types of organisms. It often has several. Describe the lower intertidal zone with respect to physical conditions and typical types of organisms. 21. including mussels. Describe the upper intertidal zone with respect to physical conditions and typical types of organisms. then. 22. Below the barnacle zone. then seaweeds and barnacles dominate. Few marine predators can reach the upper intertidal zone. first. 18. What is a keystone predator? Give an example. such as the ability to withstand desiccation. and sea stars. Describe predators in the upper intertidal zone. much of the upper intertidal zone may lie above the high tide mark and may be wetted by wave splash. Keystone predators typically determine community composition.The three zones of the rocky intertidal are the upper intertidal. Those that do include crabs and snails. there may be a variety of organisms. More frequently. For example. until finally a climax mussel community develops. predators include land animals. The upper boundary of the middle intertidal zone is marked by a band of barnacles. and sometimes limpet. In fact. brown seaweeds. all of which have strategies to avoid desiccation. such as raccoons and rats. 16.
Heart urchins and sand dollars plough their way through the sediment. Some organisms. have little detritus and therefore not as great a problem with decomposers limiting oxygen availability. 29. 24. What are three challenges to organisms that live in soft-bottomed intertidal areas? Oxygen availability. Coarse-grained sediments. They may pump oxygen-rich water into their burrows or shells. Anaerobic respiration is the breakdown of organic matter by organisms in the absence of oxygen. A few have symbiotic bacteria in their bodies that help them live in low-oxygen sediments. Define the term “infauna”? Infauna refers to organisms that burrow in the substrate. such as sands. What is the distinguishing characteristic of soft-bottomed intertidal communities? Soft-bottomed intertidal communities are those that have bottoms in which organisms are able to burrow easily. 25. What is a consequence for organisms of a constantly shifting bottom? Soft-bottom organisms do not have solid places for attachment. and feeding are all challenges faced by organisms in soft-bottomed intertidal areas. Hydrogen sulfide gas smells like rotten eggs. there are few barnacles and mussels because their predators (snails) can eat them more easily.in determining what types of organisms are (or are not) present. What is the term used to describe sediments with absolutely no oxygen. 26. which serves as a food source for the infauna. 33. 27. How does the amount of detritus influence oxygen availability in soft sediments? Muddy sediments are often rich in detritus. 23. What factors influence oxygen availability in soft sediments? The amount of detritus and the grain size of the sediment both influence oxygen availability in soft sediments. For example. Decay bacteria (decomposers) use up oxygen in the sediments as they break down the detritus. 31. 34. 32. Many crustaceans use their jointed . getting around (locomotion). How do infauna cope with low oxygen levels in muddy bottom areas? Infauna have several strategies for dealing with low-oxygen conditions inthe sediment. Describe how organisms move through soft-bottomed sediments. 30. Sediments with no oxygen are anoxic. use a muscular foot to help bury themselves. and grazers are common. Seaweeds or all types are very common in the lower intertidal zone. Some have special hemoglobins in their blood that very efficiently extract oxygen from the water. so that the problem of desiccation is not as critical as it is in the rocky intertidal. What is an advantage of living in muddy bottoms? Muddy bottoms (silt and clay) stay wet after the tide is out. therefore burrowing organisms dominate. 28. Interstitial is the space between grains of sediment. Describe anaerobic respiration. Define the term “interstitial”. This limits oxygen in muddy sediments. such as clams. Certain bacteria (anaerobic bacteria) perform anaerobic respiration in anoxic sediments and release hydrogen sulfide gas as a by-product.
use their tube feet to selectively pick up pieces of organic matter from the sediment. patches is higher than in the control patches. Describe how organisms feed in soft-bottomed sediments. . are predators.appendages to dig their way into the soft sediment. such as moon snails. Deposit feeding is very common. Some organisms. Deposit feeders usually solve two problems at once: they eat their way through the sediment! The meiofauna live in the interstitial water between grains of sediment. Detritus is the main source of food in soft-bottomed communities. 35. such as sand dollars. Clams and other organisms extend siphons up to the water and filter feed from the water they pump. Echinoderms.