Beach Ecosystem

ecosystem, birds, nests, seat oats, dunes, beach

The beach is alive with many zones and critters that inhabit those zones. In the waters of the Gulf are the usual water creatures: many types of fish, crabs, jellyfish, crabs, clams, sharks, etc. 

Shore birds at Perdido Key

In the swash zone, where the waves wash up on shore is where you will find hints of what was formerly in the water: shells, washed-up vegetation, crabs and birds running up away from the incoming waves finding their lunch.  If you are lucky, you may find sea beans washed up from the tropics or other treasures from the sea. 

Further up away from the water is where you may find a nesting sea turtle or a nesting shorebird. Be careful! Nesting shorebirds lay their eggs in dips in the sand and are very hard to see! 

The frontal dune zone, directly in front of the dunes, is a very harsh, dry area but do not be mistaken, there is a lot of life there. Vegetation thrives in these harsh conditions. There are blooming morning glories, pennywort, beach grass, dune rosemary and the extremely important sea oats. All the vegetation on the frontal dune zone not only help protect the dunes but actually build dunes, which is why we ask visitors to refrain from walking in the dunes. 

Shore birds at Perdido Key

Beaches are as dynamic as they are beautiful and are subject to change daily, depending on the weather, wind, surf and storms. So, the next time you are at the beach, look around at all the treasures that abound!