Habitat is home.
Just like in our own homes, coastal habitats are defined and made unique by their locations, specific features or characteristics, and who shares the neighborhood.
For example, bays, estuaries, coastal marshes and the ocean all have salt water but the level of salinity varies in each, making them as different as Highlands, NJ is from the New Jersey Highlands.
Likewise, in all of those salty places, plant and animal life differs, as does the energy of the water (waves, tides, currents), and the human influence on them through such things as construction, boating or fishing. Those elements and so many others intertwine to determine who in the coastal and marine environment lives where.
As with so much of the natural world, the diversity and complexity of coastal habitats is enormous and impressive. Habitat, like our own homes, is not simply the foundation for healthy communities and individuals, but also a reflection of who we are.
The American Littoral Society works to promote the study and conservation of marine life and its habitats. Those who work here and share our mission recognize we can only understand one in the context of the other. That understanding empowers us and others to protect, conserve and restore coastal habitats.
Through our community science and education programs, we welcome our members and others to join us in discovery and stewardship. In a world of a changing climate that second concept – stewardship – takes on new challenges and difficulties, as well as new urgency.
However, if we love having fish, horseshoe crabs, osprey and terrapins as neighbors, then we have to act responsibly in order to protect the places we share with them.
So, during the month of October we urge you to join us in checking out our shared coastal neighborhoods, and to remember that for many occupants of the littoral zone there’s literally no place like home.