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The Biology of the Sea-shore


The Biology of the Sea-shore

3.3 (1843)

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    Frederic William Flattely
Excerpt from book: CHAPTER II Physiography Of The Sea-shore The coast-line of all countries exhibits a succession in varying degrees and extent of cliff, headland, reef, bay, estuary, lagoon, delta, inlet, and fiord : of sand and shingle or of mud flat. These physical features, which are of fundamental importance to animal and plant life, are the outcome of complex geological and geographical factors, and result from the action of the ocean upon varying strata and deposits, generally already moulded and modified by denudation— marine, fluviatile, or glacial action—and now in process of still further modification by the salt waters acting under the rhythmical power of the tides, and by the more spasmodic forces of the wind. We are going to deal with the life of a narrow zone, which, although primarily under the influence of the sea, is daily exposed to land influences : hence the chief peculiarities of the zone are periodicity and variability, and we have here, more than anywhere on earth, fluctuating conditions. The relative area of the sea-shore exposed during tidal absence depends on two chief factors, namely, the degree of slope and the vertical tidal range, and some idea of its extent may be gained from the statement that the total frontage of coastal foreshore in the United Kingdom is 9700 miles, and that the total area between high and low water marks is about 620,000 acres (Carey and Oliver, 1918). Before dealing further with the characters of the tidal area it becomes needful to consider a few of the vital characteristics of the sea, and the manner in which they modify and affect this zone and the life inhabiting it. Sea - water. — Osborn (1918) has summarised the opinions of a number of writers regarding the ocean and its waters. Among other points of interest he quotes the com...  
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