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Species Facts Sheets

The Intertidal Environment

What is the intertidal zone? Sometimes called the littoral zone, the intertidal region is a zone of transition extending from areas of high tide, that are routinely exposed to air and sunlight, to areas of low tide that are rarely exposed. Plants and animals that inhabit this area have adapted to the extreme variability of conditions in and out of the water. 


Marine vegetation in the intertidal zone serves multiple functions for the animals that live in the area. Marine vegetation is used as habitat and refuge for many species and is a food source or birthing areas for other species. Crabs creep along the bottom, fish hide in the thick beds of grass and kelp, and snails slide their way up and down the vegetation that grows on the ocean's floor. A complexity of organisms rely on vegetation in the intertidal zone to live, feed and reproduce.