Low Energy Beaches

Johnny Spears

Schofield Middle School

    Hello!  My name is Johnny Spears.  I teach seventh grade science at Schofield Middle School in Aiken, South Carolina. My students are the best! We work on many different concepts in class, even some environmental science.  During our study of ecosystems and environments, I like to focus on everyone's favorite vacation spot - the coast.

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to achieve the following objectives:

1. Describe a low energy beach.

2. Describe or explain circumstances that lead to the formation of a low energy beach.

3. Describe the types of organisms found on and around a low energy beach and describe the adaptations that help them survive.


    When many people here about "the beach" they often think of sun, sand, and surf.  The word beach brings to mind picturesque sunrises, soothing sounds of waves crashing on the shore, and the hint of coconut from suntan oil that lingers in the air.  Many people find some tranquility while on the beach.  Others truly love standing waist deep in the rolling surf, fishing for a challenging game fish.  What do you think of when you hear the word beach?

    The type of beach that was just described (the one we typically enjoy) is called a "high energy" beach.  It is called this because there is a tremendous amount of physical activity from wind and water that constantly changes the shape of the beach.  As much as we like to tell our favorite beach vacation stories, there is another type of beach that you need to know about.  It is called a "low energy" beach.

    A low energy beach is defined as being a beach where not too much physical changing occurs.  The current energy of moving water is low.  It is entirely void of plant life, with the exception of the occasional sea lettuce.  There are also some uni-cellular algae.  The organisms that can be found on the low energy beach have adapted to life on a barren piece of tidal land.

Go to the next page of the low energy beach lesson.

Go to the home page (title page).

Go to the links page.

The views expressed in this page are not necessarily the views of the University of South Carolina Aiken.

http://rpsec.usca.sc.edu/Classwork/731sp2001/Lesson/Spears/Lowenergy1.html (January 2001)