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Ecology, Intertidal Zones, and Estuaries

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Presentation on theme: "Ecology, Intertidal Zones, and Estuaries"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ecology, Intertidal Zones, and Estuaries

2 Ecology Ecology – how organisms interact with each other and their environment Ecosystem – all living and nonliving factors in a given area

3 Factors in an Ecosystem
Abiotic Biotic Population size Population density Community types

4 Competition Living together: Symbiosis – close relationships; 3 types
Commensalism +/0 Parasitism +/– Mutualism (cleaner fish) +/+

5 Flow of Energy in an Ecosystem
Autotrophs – producers Heterotrophs – consumers Food chains & Food webs

6 The Intertidal Zone Intertidal zone (littoral zone) – area between the high and low tides Subtidal zone – region from the end of the continental shelf to the low tide marker; never is exposed to air

7 Rocky Intertidal Zone

8 Typical Rocky Shore

9 Soft Bottom Shore


11 Substrate Substrate Hard, rocky - (Rocky Shore Intertidal Communities)
Sandy – (Soft-Bottom Intertidal Communities) Muddy –

12 Vertical Zonation on a Rocky Shoreline
Vertical Zonation (4 zones): Spray Highest reach of spray & storm waves to high tides Infrequently wetted Organisms: lichens, encrusting algae, sea hair, limpets Upper From upper region of high tides to sea level Organisms: acorn barnacle, shore crab, limpets, rockweed, snails


14 Vertical Zonation (cont.)
Middle Covered & uncovered 2 times per day Semidiurnal tides Organisms: surf grass, sea anemones, mussels, sea stars, barnacles Lower Usually submerged except for a few hours each month Organisms: kelp, sea stars, sea urchins, chitons


16 Stressors in the Intertidal Zone
Water loss (desiccation) Temperature changes Salinity changes Wave shock

17 Solutions to Dealing with the Stressors
Desiccation 3 strategies for dealing with H2O loss “run-and-hide” – (crevices/tide pools) “clam-up” “dry-out” – (seaweeds) Temperature Just Be Tough (like me) Radiating structures colors

18 Some animals allow themselves to just dry out
A chiton has the ability to loose 70 percent of its water and still survive

19 Light color reflects light
Ridges allow heat to escape

20 Solutions to Dealing with the Stressors
Salinity Tough Burrow / “clam-up” Wave shock Holdfasts (seaweeds) Byssal threads (mussels) Muscular foot of snails Low profile Hiding

21 Estuaries Estuaries – enclosed areas where freshwater & saltwater meet & mix (ex. bays, lagoons, deltas)




25 Physical Characteristics of Estuaries
Salinity – 0% - 35% Extreme salinity changes Salt wedge – salinity changes at different depths due to density differences.


27 Substrate – deposition of fine particles
Commonly soft mud Low 02 due to high organic matter & decomposing bacteria Results: odor (egg smell; sulfur); black Fluctuating temperatures

28 Types of Estuary Communities
Open H2O Fauna: Anchovies, mullets, anadromous & catadromous fishes (Shad, Eels, Striped Bass) Mud flats Very few plants Fauna: fiddler crabs, clams, mussels, oysters, ghost shrimp, pipe fish, silver sides, polychaetes, Predators: birds & fishes


30 Type of Estuary Communities (cont.)
Salt marshes Plants: cord grasses Bacteria Ex. Cape May, New Jersey Mangrove forests [R]: propugules; H2O [B/W]: inland; pneumatophores Fx: habitat / protect shorelines

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