Tides, Sediments, and the Distribution of Organisms
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Where a sandy coast slopes gently towards the sea, astronomic tides expose marine sediments to terrestrial conditions. These tidal flats constitute and ecotone, where organisms find their distributional limits because the physical conditions change, where they are abundant and productive because food resources are plenty, and where both marine and terrestrial organisms are present. The coastal slope and the tidal range determine the areal extension of the tidal flats. The tidal cycle determines the frequency and length of low tide exposure. Waves and tidal currents transport and sort all sediment particles, determine their distribution, stability, and composition. Together with local climate and geomorphology, these factors constitute the environmental matrix of tidal flats, affecting the distributional patterns of the organisms.
KeywordsTidal Flat Neap Tide Current Ripple Coastal Slope High Tide Level
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