There’s a wealth of information about life in the intertidal environment online, and there are also some wonderful books on the subject. Here is a list of a few of our favorite reference books.
by Edward Ricketts and Jack Calvin
A classic introduction to the habitats of the rocky Pacific Coast of North America and the creatures who live there, expanded and revised over time. Ed Ricketts was a good friend of novelist John Steinbeck and the model for the character of “Doc” in Cannery Row, and this edition includes an introduction written by Steinbeck in 1948.
by Daniel W. Gotshall
Great photos, clear but concise descriptions, and information on range and habitat has made this book the scuba diver’s bible since it’s first publication.
by Thomas N. Niesen
Maybe I’m biased because Tom Niesen serves on the FFMR board of directors with me, but this book is always the first one I turn to when I’m trying to understand the basic anatomy of a tidepool creature. Clear illustrations (most of which I’ve never got around to coloring in!) are accompanied by detailed text explanations of what features and adaptations to look for and how they all work together to create each creature’s unique intertidal lifestyle.
by David W. Behrens
This well-thumbed book on my shelf now seems to be out of print, but a more recent book by the same author is Nudibranch Behavior, which is perhaps a replacement for the older book.
Pacific Intertidal Life: A Guide to Organisms of Rocky Reefs and Tide Pools of the Pacific Coast (Nature Study Guides)
by Ron Russo and Pam Olhausen
Although the detailed illustrations are only black-and-white, this pocket-sized book (at 4-by-6 inches and less than a centimeter thick, it fits nicely in the back pocket of your jeans) is packed with information.
by Jennifer Mondragon and Jeff Mondragon
The first quarter of the book gives background on the natural history of algae, highlighting some species’ amazing adaptations, how humans make use of algae, and how scientists classify algae. The remaining three-quarters of the book is an identification guide with really good color photos and great information about how to distinguish similar species.