Aquascope Facts
Cliff and rocky beach ecology Fragmentation does not have to occurr because of injury, but can also be a process where a colony clones itself to produce new colonies. This means that size is not directly related to age as it is with solitary organisms.
    Size is important as it improves a colony´s chances of survival when competing for food or from attack by predators.A quick and effective way of increasing in size is to unite with other colonies and for this to be accomplished, colonies must conform both genetically and immunologically, i.e. defence. It also happens that colonies fight each other. Colonies that do not recognize each other as being closely related can attack other in different ways and one of them can be to grow over the other.

Variation and change

For organisms, living conditions can vary from place to place and with time. Attached organisms such as microscopic diatoms are often found directly on sand bottoms, but can, given the right conditions show up in large numbers on cliffs and rocks. In spite of their small size they can be easily seen during the spring and early summer when they bloom and lay like a glittering golden veil over other algae.
    In the picture, strong sunlight shimmers around a brown alga known as japweed (Sargassum muticum). This veil contains diatoms and other small particles that have been caught in a sticky and finely meshed network of microalgae.
Sargassum muticum with diatoms

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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