Tide pools are seawater that forms puddles as the ocean ebbs during low tide. These intertidal marine features, which house a variety of flora and fauna, are commonly found along rocky formations where ocean waves constantly crash against dry land.
The shoreline, which forms the boundary between land and sea, perpetually changes with the periodic rise and fall of tides. Due to these extreme environmental conditions, the animals and plants that inhabit tide pools have special adaptations to survive in both dry and wet surroundings. To sustain life in a tide pool, its inhabitants must cling for support and not get carried out to sea during high tides; hold in enough moisture to prevent desiccation during low tides and keep from being preyed on by other organisms.
One type of algae called the bright green sea lettuce, can withstand the most saline tide pools. These seaweeds remain tightly secured and seldom get washed away when the tide rises. Animals, such as sea stars, limpets and acorn barnacles are also equipped with specialized anatomical parts that allow them to stay fastened against the rocks as waves come crashing in. When the tide retreats, intertidal animals scramble for food left by the receding waters. Many of these organisms then hide under cool, moist areas to keep from drying out. To conserve water, some animals such as turban snails retract into their shells. Anemones also tuck in their tentacles and mussels tightly shut their shells to hold in moisture until the next wave replenishes the tide pools.