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Litoral (from Latin litus "shore", "coast") is a biological name for the bank region of a lake or river as well as the coastal region of the sea . The associated adjective is litoral . The area above the trophic compensation level, which is part of the marginal, transparent soil zone ( benthal ) of a body of water, is biologically highly productive and contains a species-rich fauna and flora with a high density of individuals. The epilitoral inland , where the influence of the water body is only indirectly effective, does not belong to the actual soil zone .

The term intertidal zone can be used for waters that are influenced by tides (ebb and flow) . The low-tide at low tide area of a tidal zone is called in geosciences watts .

Bank zoning at the lake

Topographical structure of a lake
Structure of a lake - biotic factors

Most of the photosynthetic activity takes place in the sun-drenched littoral. The animals settled in this habitat form spatially delimited organizational groups. In the littoral of a lake there are three plant zones : reed zone , floating leaf zone and diving leaf zone .

  • Epilitoral, alder belt, willow bush zone
Moisture-tolerant plants, hygrophytes such as mosses , rushes and marsh marigolds thrive on the lakeshore . Alder forests with willow , downy birch and black alder determine the appearance of the plants on the higher floors.
  • Supralitoral, splash zone
This strip of shore is not reached by the waves. But he is soaked by the splashing water of the waves that break on the shore. A flushing seam can form here.
  • Eulitoral, surf zone
In the surf zone there are strong mechanical forces that do not allow larger plants to grow. But firmly adhering, oxygen-loving organisms such as strudelworms ( Turbellaria spec. ) And crust-forming cyanobacteria can settle here.
  • Infralitoral or sublitoral
This zone is home to larger plants that are adapted to a constantly flooded soil. They have an aerenchyma , a coherent system of large intercellular spaces , so that the roots can also be supplied with oxygen. This bank area serves as a spawning and breeding area for many fish, amphibians, birds and insects. The infralitoral is divided into different sections.

Below the bank zone, separated by the trophic compensation level, lies the dark depth region, the profundal .

Zoning of the sea coast

The designation of the zoning of the littoral on a sea coast depends on the water depth and the presence of a tidal influence ( tide, tidal ).

  • Epilitoral
In the vicinity of the coast, in the dune area behind beach walls and dykes, the influence of the sea is still evident in the rising salty groundwater and saltwater dust in the air. At most extreme storm surges penetrate this far.
  • Supralitoral or Supratidal
The splash water zone above the high water line outside the tidal area, which is only briefly covered by water during storm surge events.
  • Eulitoral, Hydrolitoral, Litoral or Intertidal
The tidal zone between the high and low water line, which is characterized by the change between ebb and flow . If the ground is rocky, there are tide pools here . Species-rich mangrove forests also form on tropical coasts .
  • Sublitoral or subtidal
The ever-covered water surface (neritic) shelf region , below the low water line and the shelf edge in an average of 200 m depth. In the vicinity of the shore, coral reefs also initially form as fringing reefs, with islands also coral atolls .

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