Ecological Exploration (05:35)
Professor Richard Fortey teams with Plymouth University scientists to study rockpools; the ecosystems change in temperature, water levels, salinity, and oxygen with seasonal and tidal cycles. They examine an anemone's specialized tentacles used for feeding and fighting.
Impacting Ecology (06:32)
Mollusks developed hard shells 540,000,000 years ago; limpids become more conical as they grow. They use a foot to suction to rocks, climbing further up the larger they become; rockpools are used as nurseries. Research shows they control algae growth by grazing surfaces with radula ribbon.
Ancient Rockpool Rivals (03:29)
Starfish feed on limpid; using tube feet to force open shells, it pushes its stomach out, and digests from inside. Prey has evolved defenses, using shells to stamp on, cut, and push away the echinoderm.
Intelligent Visitors (02:01)
Cuttlefish are among the largest predators to explore rockpools during high tides; they change color, camouflaging to hunt and hide. They are cephalopods, the smartest invertebrates; Plymouth Laboratory scientists train individuals to be hand-fed.
Opportunistic Adaptation (07:02)
Hermit crabs recycle empty seashells, using as defense and camouflage. Fortey and Plymouth University scientists experiment, finding they choose shells better blending with immediate environments, and those best fitting.
Evolved for Change (05:15)
Blenny retreat to rock crevices during low tides, absorbing oxygen through esophagus blood vessels; the tactic allows them to retain territories. Some rockpool inhabitants have exact internal tidal clocks, dictating when they emerge from sands to feed and breed.
Resilient Resident (07:25)
Elevated rockpools evaporate more, fluctuating temperatures, salinity, and oxygen supplies. Crab exoskeletons allow toleration of various conditions, but require molting to grow and mate. Female pheromones trigger protective instincts in males, defending them while breeding and vulnerable.
Adaptive Anatomy (04:34)
Fortey and Plymouth University scientists visit rockpools at night, observing animal behavioral changes and gathering specimen for experiments. Glass shrimp have evolved to breathe while partially submerged, beating limbs and gill chamber organs to draw in oxygen.
Enduring Species (06:23)
Rockpool creatures have adapted to daily changes; many have survived global catastrophes. Marine Biological Association scientists have discovered barnacles responding to climate change; warm water types are more abundant. Humans are now the biggest threat to seashore life.
Credits: The Secret Life Of Rockpools (00:32)
Credits: The Secret Life Of Rockpools
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