Coastal Biome




Woodward, Susan L.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Greenwood Press


The coastal biome occurs in a zone of transition between land and sea. Also know as the littoral zone (from the Latin litus meaning shore), it extends from the highest reach of sea spray on the shore out to the depth where storm waves cannot disturb the sediments on the sea bottom (usually 60 m or 200 ft). Three life zones are evident within the coastal biome. The supralittoral zone is that land between the upper limit of sea spray and the upper limit of high tide- a zone physically affected by its proximity to the ocean but never submerged in it. The eulittoral zone, also know as the intertidal zone, is that region of the coast periodically exposed to the atmosphere and then submerged beneath the sea with the ebb and flow of the tides. Finally the sublittoral zone or subtidal zone is always submerged and extends from the low-tide mark out to the 60 m (200 ft) depth line. (In geomorphology, this zone is referred to as the nearshore zone to distinguish it from the offshore part of the continental shelf where bottom sediments are not moved by wave action.) In this book, subtidal communities are placed in the continental shelf biome (Chapter 13-Acc#9737.6), but they could also be correctly considered part of the coastal biome. Here we limit the coastal biome to those communities directly affected every day by both sea and the air, namely the sea spray and intertidal zones. .... This chapter continues to discuss several biotic aspects of the coastal biome.


pgs. 289-309


coastal, littoral zone, supralittoral, intertidal, eulittoral, sublittoral, continental shelf, subtidal