Intertidal Zones: Outline

This topic submitted by Chelsea Nagy ( at 5:57 PM on 3/29/05.

A class picture at Poas Volcano in Costa Rica, 1997.

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Intertidal Zones

The intertidal zone is an extremely unique region incorporating many niches in a relatively small area. The physical conditions of the intertidal zone are determined by such influential variables as temperature, light, salinity, wave action, and submersion. All of these factors combine to create the different niches for organisms. Both flora and fauna are known to exhibit vertical zonation in response to the physical conditions associated with the intertidal zone. A variety of organisms and their lifestyles will be examined including snails, crabs, kelp, and algae. Lastly, larger-scale implications will be explored including the impact of global climate change on intertidal zones.


I. Physical Setting
A. Geology- rocky vs sandy
B. Ocean meets land- transitional zone

II. Variables- their implications on organisms
A. Light
B. Temperature
C. Wave Action
D. Salinity
E. Submersion
F. Resulting niches

III. Fauna
A. Motile vs. sessile
B. Case Studies
1. snails
2. crabs

IV. Flora
A. Case Studies
1. kelp
2. algae

V. Implications/ Applications
A. Global Climate Change
B. Coastal Development


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