Article | Updated 9 months ago
Rich red and grey rock piles or cliffs, which make up the rocky shore habitat, are found on many of the islands and along the mainland coastline of the Dampier Archipelago. These shores are affected by tides, becoming exposed to air and the sun when the water level drops. Rock pools are common in these areas, retaining water as the tide recedes.
Plants and Animals of Rocky Shore Habitats
Organisms that occupy the rocky shores are adapted to spending some period out of the sea due to the cycle of the tides. Generally, more species live lower down on the shore line, which remains underwater for longer periods of the day.
Many plants and animals inhabit rock pools that trap water as the tide goes out. Water temperatures in these rock pools rise as they are warmed by the sun and cool during the night. Therefore organisms that live in these pools must also cope with these changes in temperature.
Those animals left exposed on dry rock as the tide falls, such as periwinkles, resist drying out by retreating inside their shells or by moving into shaded crevices.
Methods for Sampling Rocky Shore Habitats
The sampling of organisms that live along the rocky shores is carried out when the tide is ebbing i.e. going out and the water level is low. During low tides, plants and animals are visible in the shallow waters and so can be counted, identified, or collected if further study is necessary.
Some animals hide under rocks as the water level drops to avoid predators and the risk of drying out. By turning over rocks, researchers can reveal the hidden organisms and record them. Researchers then replace the rock in its original position, to ensure the animals remain hidden.
As the tide drops, fishes may become trapped in rock pools, allowing researchers to identify or collect them.