Aquascope Facts
Cliff and rocky beach ecology

The sea to land gradient

Gradient on cliff

For organisms living in the sea, the underwater environment is usually quite favourable and relatively constant. Further up the beach, organisms are exposed to increasing periods where they surrounded by air which results in increased stress and hardshhip for those creatures that have chosen to live there.
Temperature, humidity and salinity can vary greatly. During one year, sea water temperatures can vary from just below 0 °C to about 20 °C, while air temperatures close to a cliff can vary from about -30 °C to about +30 °C. Naturally, humidity does not vary in the sea, but on sunny days it can be so low that unprotected organisms can quickly became dehydrated. Even salinity can vary greatly along the Swedish coastline, from 0 to about 3,5 % in the water and between 0 and
100 % on the cliffs.

Sand hopper in salt

This rock pool has dried out and for the poor little sand hopper the beach became too warm, dry and salty.

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Cliffs and rocks are fantastic!
Zoning and flecked occurrence
Animals that are attached
Modular construction
Variation and change
Variations in water level
Wave exposure
Both cliffs and rocks
Freshwater and saltwater
Geography, climate and history
Organisms life cycles
Organisms effect on each other
Energy and the flow of material

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© Aquascope 2000   Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory, Strömstad, Sweden
Bo Johannesson | Martin Larsvik | Lars-Ove Loo | Helena Samuelsson