About Rocky Reefs

Rocky reefs are submerged rock outcrops with varying relief, creating refuges for juvenile and smaller fishes in addition to surface area for colonization of algae and invertebrates. Rocky reefs take a variety of forms, each with a different associated biological community. Starting from the shore, rocky intertidal zones are an interface between land and sea.  The rocky intertidal is home to plants, invertebrates, and fishes during high tides. Crashing waves, daily low tides that strand marine organisms out of the water, and competition for space make life in the rocky intertidal stressful. Nearshore rocky reefs are completely submerged, but still receive enough light for photosynthesis. They are inhabited by algae, invertebrates, and groundfishes. Rocky reefs in deeper water do not receive enough light for photosynthesis and are dominated by sessile invertebrates, deep sea corals, and groundfishes. Most rocky reefs are beneficial because of the physical structure they provide to support an ecosystem. Seamounts are particularly unique habitats that are formed by undersea mountains. The steep slopes of the mount force nutrient rich deep waters to rise to the surface generating food sources for a variety of fishes and other marine fauna.