What are Rocky Subtidal Benthic Communities?
Rocky subtidal benthic communities are groups of plants and animals that live together on rocky areas of the ocean floor of the subtidal zone. The subtidal zone ranges from the shoreline at the lowest low tide to the edge of the undersea continental shelf, at a depth of about 200 metres. In this case, we will be discussing much shallower depths that occur in and around the harbours of Victoria, usually less than 20 metres, and often 2-5 m. Benthic describes the ocean bottom, and the term communities refers to groups of plants and/or animals that live in close proximity, and are often interdependent. The substrate (the basic mineral material) of benthic environments may be composed of either soft sediment or rock. In soft sediment, burrowing animals predominate, and vegetation is usually absent or limited (an exception is in some sheltered areas where eelgrass beds grow). On rocky substrate, many species are attached, and must compete for limited space. Rocky substrates occur in areas w