The tide pools of Odiorne Point State Park are home to an array of fascinating plants and animals.
Located just outside our doors, tide pools are scattered throughout the rocky shore when the tide is out. If you plan to go tide pooling, be sure to check the tide prediction for the day of your visit; tide pools are accessible 2-3 hours before and after low tide.
Don’t forget, you can see many of the same creatures that live in the intertidal inside SSC at our indoor tide pool touch tanks.
Here are some safety tips to remember while exploring the rocky shore:
Explore with Care
Please observe all organisms where they are found, handle them with the utmost care, and quickly return them to the same location. Collecting is not allowed in Odiorne Point State Park. This includes dead or living species, shells and sand, and sticks and stones. Thank you, in advance, for helping to keep our shore a special place for all to enjoy by protecting our natural resources.
About the Intertidal at Odiorne Point State Park
The intertidal is the area of the shore that lies between the highest high tide line and lowest low tide line.
Tide pools are formed in low-lying areas throughout the intertidal where water is trapped during an outgoing tide
The intertidal is very dynamic, due to the varying strength of the ecological factors that affect it. These factors can be broken down into two groups: abiotic (or non-living) and biotic (or living). The most important abiotic factors for the North Atlantic shore are atmospheric exposure, wave exposure, temperature, salinity, substrate, and slope of shore. Biotic factors are competition, predation, and herbivory or grazing.
The relationship of the tide with these factors results in visually recognizable areas called intertidal zones. Each intertidal zone has a narrowly defined set of conditions, which offer certain environmental conditions necessary for the survival and reproduction of the animals within that zone, as well as distinct challenges.
The following is a general guide to the Intertidal at Odiorne, where we use a simple three-zone descriptive system.
The Upper Zone is primarily moistened by splashing waves. Abiotic factors are the most influential, as temperature and salinity varies a great deal throughout each day.
The Middle Zone is the largest zone at Odiorne due to the gently sloping shore. This zone is underwater about 50% of the time, making biotic factors play a major role in species survival.
The Lower Zone is exposed only during very low tides and abiotic conditions are relatively constant compared to the zones above it. Species diversity is higher here and the biotic factors are more important in determining which species can survive.
The area below the Intertidal is known as the Subtidal. This area is always underwater and therefore is abiotically stable. The Subtidal extends as far as sunlight (necessary for photosynthesis) can penetrate, which varies depending on the clarity of the water.