Low Tide

Sand & Shell Deposits

Oysters and Clams

While clams are versatile creatures, oysters only grow in salt marshes where brackish, not ocean salt water, is found. In fact, the existence of oyster shells on the Atlanic Ocean side of the Barrier Islands is very good evidence that the islands are marching inland. The waves churn up the basin of the islands and throw them up onto the shore as it pushes the islands towards the mainland.

What differences life are associated with ocean beach fronts? Students examine examples of still photos, descriptions, and panoramas to contrast life on the ocean-facing beaches versus the more protected areas. For example, whereas whelks, sea urchins, worms, coral, and crabs live in abundance in a complex food web in protected bays, clams, sand dollars, and other more durable species line the ocean-side beaches. Students will discuss differences in weathering, food webs, salinity, and other factors affecting these slightly varied but diverse environments. Students are also asked to debate how salt-marsh oysters and other species can be washed up onto the ocean side of the Barrier Islands.

(There is also a wild horse grazing in this panorama. Can you find it?)


If you are unable to view these Quicktime Virtual Reality panoramas, you may need to download the Quicktime Player from Apple at http://www.Apple.com/Quicktime. If you are in need of other assistance or have comments about any of these pages please contact Dr. Randy Yerrick at ryerrick@mail.sdsu.edu. Thanks in advance for your helpful feedback.