Some beaches offer generally much harsher conditions for plants and animals to live in than others. There tends to be many more different species in a beach with rock pools (hāroto) than on an open sandy beach. All living things found in each of the beach zones have adaptations that enable them to survive in that habitat.
The intertidal zone
All living things found in the area between the tides need to adapt to variations caused by tides, weather, sea conditions and varying degrees of exposure to:
- wind and Sun
- temperature change
- coverage by water
- varying mixtures of freshwater and saltwater
- varying salinity (for example, evaporation in rock pools)
- predators from the sea when the tide is in and from the land when the tide is out
- abrasion from sand moved by wind or water
- the movement of water from waves and tides.