Different disciplines and agencies divide the littoral zone into different subregions, according to how they want to view the zone.
The littoral zone or nearshore is the part of a sea, lake or river which is close to the shore. In coastal environments the littoral zone extends from the
There is no single definition. What is regarded as the full extent of the littoral zone, and the way the littoral zone is divided into subregions, varies in different contexts (lakes and rivers have their own definitions). The use of the term also varies from one part of the world to another, and between different disciplines. For example, military commanders speak of the littoral in ways that are quite different from marine biologists.
The adjacency of water gives a number of distinctive characteristics to littoral regions. The
The word "littoral" is used both as a
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The supralittoral zone (also called the splash, spray or supratidal zone) is the area above the spring high tide line that is regularly splashed, but not submerged by ocean water. Seawater penetrates these elevated areas only during storms with high tides. Organisms here must cope also with exposure to fresh water from rain, cold, heat and
The eulittoral zone (also called the midlittoral or mediolittoral zone) is the intertidal zone also known as the foreshore. It extends from the spring high tide line, which is rarely inundated, to the spring low tide line, which is rarely not inundated. The wave action and turbulence of recurring tides shapes and reforms cliffs, gaps, and caves, offering a huge range of habitats for sedentary organisms. Protected rocky shorelines usually show a narrow almost homogenous eulittoral strip, often marked by the presence of
The sublittoral zone starts immediately below the eulittoral zone. This zone is permanently covered with seawater and is approximately equivalent to the
In marine biology, the sublittoral refers to the areas where sunlight reaches the ocean floor, that is, where the water is never so deep as to take it out of the
Within the sublittoral, marine biologists also identify the following:
Shallower regions of the sublittoral zone, extending not far from the shore, are sometimes referred to as the subtidal zone.