Aquascope Facts
Cliff and rocky beach ecology

Both cliffs and rocksCliffs and rocksB

For those organisms inhabiting beaches, particle size of the beach material is important. Beaches can be composed of anything from very small clay and mud particles to enormous blocks, boulders and cliffs. Particle composition is dependent of two factors:
  • The areas geological history, for example plate tectonics and glacial effects are of importance for the type of material and its distribution.
  • Those water movements the shoreline is exposed to in the form of currents and waves.
        Because movements of water wash away the finest particles, they can only be found in the most wave protected areas. Cliffs on the other hand, can be found in both wave protected and exposed areas. Wave effect is greatest at the surface, even if there are cliffs higher up the beach, there are usually rocks and finer particles further down.
        Quite often you can find identical organisms on rocky and peeble beaches as you would amongst cliffs, but these beaches usually have a richer fauna, because of the nooks and crannies amongst the rocks create countless micro-environments. All the cavities give protection and conditions vary greatly. Furthermore, rocks and peebles can be held together in place by sand, remains of algae and floatsom.
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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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    Bo Johannesson | Martin Larsvik | Lars-Ove Loo | Helena Samuelsson