Rock-pooling – something we all LOVED doing as a kid.
Diving into a tiny world, with homes, highways and feasts going on in every corner! But why grow out of exploring these tiny ecosystems? There is so much we can learn, and it's great fun! As the autumn is drawing in, it's a great chance to get out for a rock pooling session before the cold winter waters wash our shores once again. Today, we're going to be giving you some top tips on how to rock pool and what to look for!
What is the intertidal zone?
The intertidal zone is kind of what it says on the tin - It's that zone between the high tide mark, and the low tide mark! Its a really interesting place, as everything that lives there has to adjust to a very interchangeable habitat. Spending 12 hours a day in water, and 12 hours a day out in the sun! These little zone does create a haven for life though, and that is where all our lovely rockpools lie!
Search Under Rocks!
Ever looked into a rockpool and thought, huh, there's NOTHING going on here.. but is there? You see that big heavy rock in the middle of the rock pool? Guess what! That's probably where EVERYONE is hiding.
Rocks may seem heavy and like they're going to crush the life out of every living thing under them, but rockpool creatures LOVE them! It's like finding the best underground hideaway with protection!
Only pick up rocks that you can manage! Don't try lifting anything to big, or else you might end up being part of the rockpool! And of course, make sure every rock that is turned is replaced as it was so that the little critters can go back into hiding once again!
Rummage in Seaweed!
Seaweed provides not only homes to many creatures, but it also provides cover and food! It's an extremely important part to any rockpool!
There are around 150 different types of seaweed around our Cornish coast! Seaweed doesn't only provide an incredible food source and habitat for our rockpool creatures, but it also helps to remove CO2 from our atmosphere.
Once you've had a look amongst the seaweed, remember to pop it back as you found it! Keeping it moist, especially if the sun is out will stop it from wilting until the tide returns!
Low tide is best!
Low tide is a fantastic time to rockpool, simple because all those lush rockpool's are exposed! It can be really interesting to look at the different creatures you get in different areas along the tide! The closer you get to the low tide mark, the more unusual creatures you will find as they are often the ones that spend the most time underwater!
Watch the Tide and check tide times before you head out! There's nothing worse than turning up to a beach ready to rockpool, only to find that it's high tide and well, there are no rockpools! Not only that, but it's good to keep an eye on what the tide is doing - You don't want to get cut off and be tracking back through the sea in your clothes!
Search the edges!
Now imagine you're a tiny crab. You're strolling around your little rockpool, looking for your dead friends to feast off... BUT THEN - over head you see a big dark shadow. Nope. I don't want to be lunch today no thank you. So, where are you going to go? I know! ANYWHERE that isn't out in the open and that you can hide away to finish your feast!
The edges of rockpools are full of nooks and crannies, the perfect place to hide from those pesky gulls that keep flying over and taking a deep! If you hide around the edge, chances are - you're not going to get spotted!
TOP TIP: Watch your fingers! Might be best to use a small net with this one, you never know if their might be a little pair of teeth (or claws!) Just waiting to see if your finger is the next tasty meal!
Who to look out for!
Here are some of the little critters you might find whilst looking around in the rockpools!
Green Shore Crab
Photo by Phil Gates
Photo by Aphotomarine
Blenny (or Shanny!)
Photo by Gilles San Martin
Photo by Arran's Coast
Photo by Paul Naylor