, Volume 503, Issue 1–3, pp 153–161 | Cite as

Go with the flow: tidal migration in marine animals

  • R.N. Gibson


Many shallow-water organisms are subjected to regular, frequent and considerable changes in their environment imposed by the tides. Such changes range from complex alterations in local conditions, as in the intertidal zone, to simpler variations in current speed and direction offshore. To take advantage of the opportunities these changes provide, many animals undertake regular vertical and/or horizontal migratory movements in synchrony with the tidal cycle. Others use tidal currents selectively for transport to new habitats. Such movements vary in extent from a few mm to several km and may be modulated by the diel cycle of light intensity. This paper reviews the existence of tidal migration in marine animals from various taxa and habitats. Crustacean and fish examples illustrate the various functions of tidal migration, including transport, feeding, predator avoidance and reproduction. These functions are not necessarily mutually exclusive and may change throughout ontogeny. The mechanisms involved in migration are discussed in terms of direct reactions to environmental stimuli and the interaction of these responses with endogenous rhythms of activity and responsiveness.

intertidal migration behaviour selective tidal-stream transport rhythms 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • R.N. Gibson
    • 1
  1. 1.Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory, Oban, ArgyllScottish Association for Marine ScienceScotland

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