Spatial Extent

The area of these biotope complexes is dictated by the physical conditions, especially the physiography and underlying geology coupled with the hydrodynamic regime which dictates where and how much sediment will be deposited. The intertidal areas will vary due to wave action with shingle beaches having the narrowest zone and muddy shores having the widest. The area of a subtidal sandbank will be influenced by the strength and dynamics of currents creating the area. For example, gyres created by conical headlands will produce subtidal sandbanks whose area is in proportion to the nature of the gyre (Mumford & McKerney, 1989). The area and shape of these biotope complexes are important in supporting and maintaining specific groups of animals (see below).

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