Coastlines and Wetlands Provide Resources to Many Forms of Wildlife


Algae, mollusks, and sea anemones all live on coastlines. While wetlands have still waters, coastlines alternate between wet and dry terrain. Perhaps surprisingly, a plethora of interesting species thrive in both of these aquatic environments.

Coastlines are found on every continent. Crashing waves on coasts lead to water and direct sunlight alternating in these areas, therefore making it difficult for organisms to adapt here. Those that have adapted take advantage of sunlight, water, and mineral salts from the sea.

Where the sea meets the land is called the intertidal zone, which is often marked by a rocky coast. Rocky coasts are divided into three parts. At the top of the coast, which is only covered when the tide is high, lives fewer life forms. In contrast, areas that are usually covered by high tides host a diverse range of animals like small fish, crabs, and plant-eating snails. And at the lowest tide on a rocky coast, lives a lot of sea life like fish, seaweed, sea anemone, starfish, and sea urchins.

The majority of animals who live on coastlines hide under the rocks to avoid getting swept away by the tide. Other animals stay where they are and bury themselves underground: these creatures use a tube from their bodies called a food siphon to get food and rich water. Sea life thrives because of the resources the coastline provides.

In contrast to coastlines, wetlands have still waters, which makes it easier for animals here to adapt to their surroundings. Many wetlands are home to amphibians, reptiles, and birds. And sometimes when freshwater and saltwater from the ocean combine near or around wetlands, it creates an estuary, which is often home to worms, oysters, crabs, waterfowl, algae, seaweed, and marsh grass.

Though coastlines and wetlands are pretty different environments, many aquatic creatures call these places home. Both terrains provide resources to nourish the various species that depend on them.

[Source: The Kingfisher Young People's Book of Living Worlds]

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