The seashore has long been the subject of fascination and study - the Ancient Greek scholar Aristotle made observations and wrote about Mediterranean sea urchins. The considerable knowledge of what to eat and where it could be found has been passed down since prehistoric times by oral tradition in many societies - in Britain it is still unwise to eat shellfish in months without an 'r' in them. Over the last three hundred years or so we have seen the formalization of science and this of course has touched intertidal ecology. Linnaeus classified specimens collected from the seashore and many common species (Patella vulgata L. , Mytilus edulis L. , Littorina littorea (L. )) bear his imprint because he formally described, named and catalogued them. Early natural historians described zonation patterns in the first part of the 19th century (Audouin and Milne-Edwards, 1832), and the Victorians became avid admirers and collectors of shore animals and plants with the advent of the new fashion of seaside holidays (Gosse, 1856; Kingsley, 1856). As science became professionalized towards the end of the century, marine biologists took advantage of low tides to gain easy access to marine life for taxonomic work and classical studies of functional morphology. The first serious studies of the ecology of the shore were made at this time (e. g.
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