An accessible and engaging account of the natural history of rocky and boulder-strewn shores around Britain's coastline.
In Rocky Shores, authors John Archer-Thomson and Julian Cremona explore the species, communities, and landscape of the narrow strip bounding Britain's coast. It may be limited in extent, but no other habitat in Britain is as extreme and dynamic: as the tide ebbs and flows, physical and chemical conditions can alter dramatically in a matter of minutes. An impressive array of life forms has adapted well and even manages to thrive in these challenging conditions.
This beautifully illustrated book guides the reader through the patterns of marine biodiversity that we might encounter on sheltered and exposed shores, from the inhospitable "splash zone" to the repeatedly submerged lower shore, and everything in between. Rock pools dotted across the shore contain unique pockets of diversity, while the strandline formed by marine debris at the high-tide mark supports a unique community of microbes and invertebrates that in turn attract birds and mammals.
Filled with stunning photographs of rocky shores and their extraordinary inhabitants, this book will appeal to anyone with a love of the shorefrom occasional "rockpooler" through to enthusiastic naturalist.
About the Author
John Archer-Thomson and Julian Cremona have spent their working lives in environmental education and conservation. They are respective former Assistant Head and Head of the Field Studies Council's Dale Fort Field Centre in Pembrokeshire. John is now a freelance coastal ecologist, photographer, writer and tutor, while Julian has authored a number of books on exploration, nature and photography.
Table of Contents
1 A fascination for the shore 12
2 Patterns and zones 50
3 Rock pools 90
4 Lichens: a primitive cooperative 118
5 Seaweeds: the banquet that never was 132
6 Stingers, squirts, sponges, mats and worms: the weird and the wonderful 170
7 Molluscs: the mantle of respectability 190
8 Echinoderms: animals with tube feet 222
9 Arthropods: animals with jointed limbs 236
10 Plankton: drifters of the shore 268
11 Attack from air and sea 288
12 Nature's giant compost heap 308
13 Challenges, threats and the future of rocky shores 326
References and further reading 349
Species names 354
Illustration credits 359