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a guide to Pacific Coastal habitats

DVD Update 2008

The DVD version of "Life on the Edge" was updated and re-released in 2008. The updated DVD version of "Life on the Edge":

  • Is Closed Captioned
  • Has English Subtitles
  • Allows the viewer to use subtitles to display either the common names or the scientific names for many of the animals and plants.
  • Includes new video clips

American Library Association:
"2005 Notable Children's Video"
"Snorkel without getting wet in this beautifully photographed and informational film about Pacific Coastal habitats."

Video Librarian: "...well organized chapters that cover virtually every major species found in the shallows and coastal tidepools of the Pacific...provide a thorough understanding of how each fish, crab, sea worm, sand dollar, and sea star manages to survive under conditions that are far from ideal. Perfect for use in the classroom...this fun and informative program is recommended. "Three Stars"

Mark Plunkett, Conservation Coordinator
Seattle Aquarium:
ife on the Edge" is a beautifully done video; we at the Seattle Aquarium endorse it as a good tool for teaching intertidal ecology and conservation.

Life on the Edge:

Explore key Pacific coastal habitats from Alaska to California. Meet the residents of sandy beaches, eelgrass beds, rocky shores, estuaries and kelp forests. Includes discussions of: coastal geology, tides, intertidal zonation, key elements of each habitat, and their residents.

We begin our shore explorations on a sandy beach, seemingly devoid of life. But a closer look reveals plenty of life, below the sand. We watch a clam burrow, a shrimp dig its tunnel, an olive shell crawl beneath the surface. Where does the sand come from? Why is a sand beach so unstable? Why would any marine creatures want to live there?

We then snorkel through a shallow eelgrass jungle, tall green blades waving with the currents. We discover a surprising variety of animals hiding here, some spending their juvenile stages in this protective habitat.

We walk through an estuary, calm and quiet, a haven for seabirds and waterfowl above the surface, a myriad of marine invertebrates below. Estuaries have been revealed as vital habitats, important players in nature’s scheme of things, a source of food and shelter for fish, invertebrates, birds and land mammals.

Rocky shores have their own special residents, most with attachment devices, adapted to this harsh neighborhood where waves pound, and the tide rolls back to expose marine life.

Finally, we dive into a kelp forest. This "forest in the sea" has many of the properties of a terrestrial forest, providing shelter and nourishment for many creatures. Who lives in the canopy of a kelp forest? Who lives on the forest floor? How do sea otters keep kelp forests alive?

This production was filmed along the Pacific coast from British Columbia to California.

Our DVD version provides an added bonus: "A Review of Pacific Coastal Marine Animals by Biological Groups". This beautifully illustrated taxonomic review of Pacific coast marine animals, includes summaries of the physical traits shared by individuals in each taxonomic group.

"Life on the Edge" was produced in conjunction with the Seattle Aquarium.


Released in 2004
DVD Updated 2008
Comes with a Teachers’ Guide.
35 minutes.
Elementary to Grade 12
DVD - $29.98



Crabs and Barnacles
Life on A Rocky Shore

Life on the Edge * 2005 Notable Children's Video
Rainbows in the Sea * 2006 Notable Children's Video
Song of the Salish Sea * 2007 Notable Children's Video
Test of Methods to Control the Invasive Tunicate: Ciona savignyi
World Between the Tides

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