tide pool

When the tide retreats, it leaves seawater in intertidal rock hollows. Deeper bowls remain filled until high tide returns; leaky crevices, fissures, and shallow basins are temporary. Tide pools owe their ephemerality, pH, temperature, salinity, and species complement to depth, distance from low tide, height of tides and waves, wind and storms, and air temperature. Tide pools harbor high diversity and an abundance of plants and animals immune to dunking and drying, such as sea stars, anemones, urchins, limpets, barnacles, mussels, sponges, hydroids, and many algae. Animals that must remain wet, such as nudibranchs (sea slugs) and sculpins, use lower pools or go in and out with the tide. Few habitats more richly reward the careful watcher with color and riveting activity. In The Edge of the Sea, Rachel Carson writes: “Tide pools contain mysterious worlds within their depths, where all the beauty of the sea is subtly suggested and portrayed in miniature.”

Robert Michael Pyle