Ecological Patterns: Intertidal Mudflats

Seen above is an example of a small portion of an intertidal mudflat, or a region rich in nutrients and life which sees the rise and fall of tides that renew the wetland each day. Clear patterns can be seen in the photo of what appears to be miniature drainage ditches between patches of mud. As discussed in the reading, these are caused by the buildup of organisms and biofilms on slightly raised portions of the wetland. These raised portions cause water to seek a lower altitude, thus forming intricate networks of small streams which lead to larger streams and eventually back to the sea.

In the video below, an example of this can be seen on a larger scale at the very beginning. The Wadden Sea National Park is home to the “largest unbroken stretch of intertidal mudflats in the world.” Other parts of interest are at 0:33, 0:56, and 1:45, where these networks can be seen.

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