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September 2007


The threat of desiccation for organisms inhabiting the intertidal zone occurs during emersion at low tides or when organisms are positioned in the high intertidal zone, where wetting occurs primarily by spring tides, storm waves, and spray. Drying due to evaporative water loss is the most common mechanism for dehydration, although during winter in northern temperate regions freezing can also occur, which reduces the liquid water in extracellular fluids and can lead to intracellular dehydration in multicellular organisms. Freezing tolerance has been reported and characterized for a number of intertidal invertebrates, including gastropods such as an air-breathing snail and a periwinkle, and bivalve genera including the common and ribbed mussels.


This book chapter is from the Encyclopedia of Tidepools and Rocky Shores, available at http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520251182

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