The Sea Shore: With 61 Colour Photos. by D. P. Wilson and Others, 62 Black-And-White Photos. and 88 Text Figures

The Sea Shore: With 61 Colour Photos. by D. P. Wilson and Others, 62 Black-And-White Photos. and 88 Text Figures

The Sea Shore: With 61 Colour Photos. by D. P. Wilson and Others, 62 Black-And-White Photos. and 88 Text Figures

The Sea Shore: With 61 Colour Photos. by D. P. Wilson and Others, 62 Black-And-White Photos. and 88 Text Figures

Excerpt

Of all the habitats in Britain in which communities of animals and plants are found, none is richer than the sea shore. This narrow strip, extending for thousands of miles (though covering a relatively small area), is occupied by an astounding variety of life. One of the main reasons for this is that the habitat is divided horizontally into zones which depend primarily upon the frequency and duration of submergence; the effect of the tides largely determines the natural riches of the sea shore. Further, rock, sand and mud provide radically different environments and the sea-shore communities associated with these differ widely from one another.

It is at the sea shore, along the edge of Britain, that the ordinary observer gets his only opportunity of encountering animals and plants belonging to many classes and groups which are almost or entirely confined to the sea. Such groups include the Echinoderms, which are entirely restricted to salt water and contain the sea-urchins, starfish, brittle stars and sea-cucumbers; the Tunicates, also entirely marine; the Polyzoa--nearly all marine, as are the jellyfish. Corals and sea- anemones are never found in fresh water. The octopuses, cuttlefish and squids, the most highly organised of the molluscs, are entirely marine. Among plants the seaweeds are almost restricted to the sea shore and the shallow sea.

The sea shore thus forms a natural laboratory for the student, because here he can obtain the best possible introduction to a general knowledge of animals and plants. The interests of C. M. Yonge, who now occupies the Regius Chair of Zoology in the University of Glasgow, are entirely marine. He began his research career on the staff of the marine biological laboratory at Plymouth, has worked at marine stations all over the world, including one established by the expedition he led to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia in 1928-29, and is now chairman of the committee that conducts the marine biological laboratory at Millport on the Clyde. That Professor Yonge is a master of exposition readers of this book will be able to judge; that he has performed a formidable amount of research they will also discover for themselves.

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