The World Within Rockpools
“It is advisable to look from the tide pools to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.”
– John Steinbeck
Rockpools are incredible windows into the marine life that lives along our shores; each one its own little world. We’re lucky to have a large area of rocky intertidal zone here at Port Gaverne with plenty of rockpools to explore and a wealth of hardy marine life that can be found within them. These creatures are able to live in an incredibly challenging environment, coping with huge fluctuations in temperature and oxygen levels as their homes are exposed and re-covered by the tides. Whether you’re out on a coasteering session with us or exploring the rockpools of your own accord at low tide, here are a few of the specimens that you might come across here, as displayed on the large banner in our cellar.
Shanny (Common Blenny)
You will sometimes find these remarkable fish basking on the rocks at low tide. They have a habit of “hopping” out of oxygen deficient pools or water that is too warm, particularly early or late in the day or at night, and wait for the tide to fill back in thanks to their ability to survive out of water!
Crabs, such as this Edible (Brown) Crab are nocturnal creatures, spending the daylight hours hidden under rocks or on the seabed before emerging at night to prey on other crustaceans and forage for shellfish such as mussels. They can grow up to 25cm wide and weigh as much as 3kg!
Anemones are actually predatory organisms related to jellyfish. Pictured are dhalia and strawberry anemones; the beadlet anemone is the most common species that we come across, and each of these has up to 192 tentacles arranged in six rings which they use to sting small fish and crustaceans and then move their paralysed victims towards their central mouth.
There are around 32 species of starfish found in British waters (there are around 1500 species worldwide), and most of them have five arms. They can lose or shed an arm if it is damaged or to escape a predator, and then grow another to replace it. Starfish need all of their limbs because they breathe through their “feet”, using seawater to transport oxygen around their bodies.