Port Orford, Oregon

The Oregon coast is home to a variety of intertidal examples. This wide sandy beach is a good example of a sandy intertidal region. This is an area governed by the tides and heavy wave action. Since there are no solid surfaces, sand is constantly shifting. You won't find algae or anemone clinging to anything in this area. When the tide is in, there are worms, sand crabs, and microscopic animals across the sandy surface. When the tide recedes, the worms and smaller creatures bury themselves in the sand. At those low tide times, you will probably see a variety of shorebirds such as sandpipers and gulls digging in the sand for a tasty meal.

Other names for this biome include tidal beach and sandflats. While this example is only about fifty yards, there are areas that can stretch miles. These gently sloping sand fields cover and uncover everyday with the tides. Even in those larger areas, you will find few, if any, plants in the zone and some salt tolerant plants along the edges. You may also learn about mudflats. These related flat areas are filled with mud instead of sand. They are home to a different set of animals and are often found near estuaries, not directly on the ocean borders.

Image Credit: Andrew Rader Studios

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