Explore The Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary

Rocky Shores
Intertidal Zones

A large part of Big Sur, Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel coast is rocky shore habitat. The rocky shore environment is closely linked to the movements of ocean tides, called the intertidal zone. The intertidal regions in the Monterey Bay Region owes its diversity and richness to the mild climate and protective ocean fog. A close friend of John Steinbeck, Doc Ricketts who once lived in Monterey authored a book Between Pacific Tides the first book to document the intertidal habitat, and is still referenced today for its information about intertidal habitat. Doc Ricketts was made into a character in John Steinbeck's book Cannery Row. There are four intertidal zones: Zone 1 - the Splash Zone are those areas that are high, mostly dry and occasionally washed by sea spray. Limpet and Periwinkle sea snails, tiny barnacles, and algae survive in this very hot, dry zone. Zone 2 - is the high intertidal zone Fleshy algae, barnacles, tube worms,Wooly sculpin fish, Lined shore crabs and mussles are the animals most common in this zone Giant green sea anemones and and the Ocrhe star fish live in the deeper end of zone 2. Zone 3 - middle intertidal animals such as the Purple sea urchin and several types of sculpin fish live in this zone. Feather Boa kelp and the Spiky Alga are among the types of plants that live in zone 3. Zone 4 - low intertidal green surf grass mark the beginning of zone 4. The Sea Lemon a type of sea slug and the toadfish and other types of Sculpin fishes, Reef surfperch, Monkeyface-eel live in this zone.


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