Marine Science Chapters


Mud Flats (California)

by Genevieve (Genny) Anderson, Biological Sciences Department, Santa Barbara City College

Mud flats are found on coastlines where the shore is protected from waves and the sediments are very fine. These areas are often associated with what we call an estuary - an area where fresh water meets the ocean. Mud flats are very productive habitats with organisms living along the edges (in salt marshes), intertidally on top of the mud, intertidally under the mud, and in channels of permanent water. Each of these areas has distinctive species. This lesson will focus on the mud flats found in California. The plant and animal species become more and less abundant over the years as conditions change. The images presented here were taken over a time period of 40 years, showing many species. Any year you visit California mud flats you will rarely see all of these species present at one time but if you return again and again, over many years, you are likely to see them all.

Crab on the Mud Flat

Introduction to Mud Flats

Surface Mud Dwellers

Life Under the Mud


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(Revised 25 May 2011)
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