Where the Land Meets the Sea – The Nearshore
Where there is transition in natural systems (ecosystems), there is an overlap in species from both ecosystems, plus some organisms that are unique to the area. These transition zones are called ecotones, and when applied to where oceans meet the land, are referred to as the nearshore, which includes the intertidal or foreshore zone, the subtidal zone (to a depth of 10 meters), and for this lesson plan, also the backshore zone.
In Where the land meets the Sea – The Nearshore – the shoreline ecotone will be explored, and through discussion, activities and explorations, the connections of land to sea will be investigated and key inhabitants of the area identified. There are many creatures that utilize and rely on the shoreline ecotone for survival – whether for habitat for day-to-day living or transition to ocean life, reproduction of
their species by using the area for spawning, or as a zone to visit for food when the opportune moment arrives. Some of the components of this diverse and interesting area that will be explored are eelgrass, (Zostera marina), and two of the forage fishes – Pacific Herring and Sand lance, which are nearshore spawners. Pacific herring spawn in the eelgrass just offshore, or on marine algae, and are a large part of our