Around Our Shores - Rock Pools
Of all the seashore habitats, rock pools are the most interesting and attractive. Many a childhood summer is spent netting for crabs in them, all along the British coastline!
Some are tiny, some quite large. Some seem to teem with living creatures, some seem almost devoid of life. Rock pools are found almost anywhere even under the most diverse of conditions, in the 'intertidal' zone.
Rockpools can be sheltered from the wind and rain, providing a calmer habitat for anything that wishes to dwell in them. Often they are diluted by rainfall or drainage from the shore, and while this freshwater may not necessarily mix, it can form a layer on the top and help the prevent salt water losing heat. Evaporation can also render them more salty than the sea.
Many rockpool inhabitants are out of sight - hiding among the seaweed, under ledges, in rocks and crevices or beneath loose stones. Each of these micro-habitats have their own special type of population.
Overturning rocks in pools will often expose numerous creatures - but be sure to replace them afterwards as many of the species couldn't survive anywhere except under the stones. A common error on the beach!
Rock pools provide plenty of scope to explore, even through the winter months. So go and get your bucket and spade, and have a wade.
Photo credit: Mama Knows East