The shoreline hosts its own unique ecosystem.
Ocean water is always in motion — as ocean currents, daily tides and waves.
Most waves result from wind and weather on the ocean's surface. The most powerful waves are spawned by hurricanes that begin as tropical storms, perhaps hundreds of miles away.
At the coast, breaking waves called surf build up the shoreline in some places and erode it in others. Constant erosion of the shorelines is one reason waterfront property is damaged or destroyed every year, totaling millions of dollars.
Life in the Surf
Surf zone animals often employ evasive tactics to cope with the force of waves continually pounding the shoreline. Many clams, crabs and worms live beneath the sand.
Certain crabs wedge themselves into the openings in rocky outcrops or jetties. Barnacles and anemones cling tightly to hard surfaces. Animals like drum, kingfish and pompano, who frequently visit the surface zone to feed, can swim quickly into deeper waters when dangerous waves threaten.