Marine, intertidal, bedrock, exposed, eulittoral

Bedrock habitats exposed to the full range of wave energies are found on the outer coast and at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Rock types range from soft sandstones to conglomerates to hard metamorphic and igneous types. Little is known of how community type varies with rock type.  Communities of exposed rocky coasts are dominated by toughly constructed sessile plants and animals, and are usually distinctly zoned from the upper rocks reached by spray to the lowest levels.  Low zones are usually algal-dominated.  The three-dimensional aspect provided by the large algae and invertebrates contribute to the great spatial complexity and species diversity. Productivity and biomass are high. Sites undisturbed by humans often are used by black oystercatchers and harbor seals. Some rocky areas are impacted by sand scour from adjacent sand beaches; these have a unique complement of species adapted to this disturbance, including unusual algal species, surfgrass, anemones, and tube worms.

Habitat attributes

Class ID: 
Class name: 
Marine, intertidal, bedrock, exposed, eulittoral
72.0 km (in WA)
Primary substrate: 
Secondary substrate: 
Tertiary substrate: 
Substrate stability: 
Substrate key details: 
No sediment except sand scour at some sites
Wave exposure: 
Blue book classes: 
Marine intertidal rock: Exposed; and Exposed: sand-scoured (mouth of Straits only)
Map/survey site examples: 
Cape Flattery and other sites all outside 'Puget Sound'
Fish sampling sites: 
Diagnostic species: 
  • Mytilus californianus
  • Pollicipes polymerus
  • Saccharina
  • Pisaster ochraceus
  • Anthopleura xanthogrammica
  • Balanidae
  • Lottia
  • Oligocottus maculosus
  • Clinocottus embryum
  • Clinocottus globiceps
VEC common associates: 
Species notes: