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Roles in an Ecosystem

Organisms in an ecosystem have different roles depending on its relationship to other organisms.

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Tide Pools

Tide Pools

Credit: Steve L. Martin
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/64476710@N00/4305605884/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Tide pools are a fantastic place to see wildlife and study their interactions. The rocky California coast is full of tide pools that are easy to get to and fun to look at!

Why It Matters

  • Tide pool organisms have to be adapted to a lot of changes in their environment. Wet and dry, waves and calm, predators from water and predators from the sea.
  • Organisms have different ways of attaching onto rocks where waves are crashing. Sea stars have tube feet; mussels have threads that are stronger than steel.
  • One type of tide pool fish, a type of sculpin, can live out of water three days.
  • Tide pools are a rich ecosystem with a lot of biodiversity; they are among the easiest marine ecosystems to visit.
  • Credit: angrylambie1
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45352599@N00/7442705022/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Tide pool in Lost Boy Beach [Figure2]

     

Show What You Know

With the link below, learn more about tide pools. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What is the intertidal zone and why is it such a harsh environment to live in?
  2. What are some of the adaptations tide pool organisms have for their environment?
  3. Name the roles in the tide pool ecosystem and one organism type that is found in that role.
  4. Why are the sea stars so important to the health of the ecosystem?

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    Image Attributions

    1. [1]^ Credit: Steve L. Martin; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/64476710@N00/4305605884/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
    2. [2]^ Credit: angrylambie1; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45352599@N00/7442705022/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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