Nov 13, 2012

Penobscot Bay's (and Maine's) intertidal ecosystems explained.

Explore the mighty intertidal world, a band of wildlife that stretches for thousands of miles around every bit of the Maine coast and her tidal rivers and streams. Abagail Manahan, oceanographer and educator  produced a great guide to Maine's intertidal ecology: Maine Intertidal Zone Investigation when she worked at Bigelow Lab.  Read on here for a quick summary

Begin your intertidal journey at its highest point:
* The Spray zone where  salt droplets fall on dry land. Yellow and white lichens tolerate the occasional dash of salt as they nibble away at the boulders.
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* The Upper Intertidal zone, covered by water only briefly during highest tides. Rough periwinkles, cyanobacteria and filamentous green & red algae. 
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* Next down to the Mid Intertidal zone, covered and uncovered by sea water twice a day with  passing tides. Dominant life: mussels & barnacles compete for space. 
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* Heading  down,  reach the Lower Intertidal zone. Here brown and red seaweeds rise into waist-high forests at high tide and fall flat at low tides.  

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* Below the surface to the Shallow Subtidal zone. Submerged except extreme low tides. Most diverse intertidal habitat. Dominated by red algae, periwinkles and sea urchins:

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