Limits. The Marine System extends from the outer edge of the continental shelf shoreward to one of three lines: (1) the landward limit of tidal inundation (extreme high water of spring tides), including the splash zone from breaking waves; (2) the seaward limit of wetland emergents, trees, or shrubs; or (3) the seaward limit of the Estuarine System, where this limit is determined by factors other than vegetation. Deepwater habitats lying beyond the seaward limit of the Marine System are outside the scope of this classification system.
Description. The distribution of plants and animals in the Marine System primarily reflects differences in four factors: (1) degree of exposure of the site to waves; (2) texture and physicochemical nature of the substrate; (3) amplitude of the tides; and (4) latitude, which governs water temperature, the intensity and duration of solar radiation, and the presence or absence of ice.
Classes. Rock Bottom, Unconsolidated Bottom, Aquatic Bed, Reef, Rocky Shore, and Unconsolidated Shore.
|Fig. 2. Distinguishing features and examples of habitats in the Marine System. EHWS = extreme high water of spring tides; ELWS = extreme low water of spring tides.|