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Colorful animals may be the more striking inhabitants of the tide pool ecosystem, but algae and other marine plants are prolific here. A combination of abundant oxygen, nutrients and sunlight create an ideal opportunity for marine plants to flourish.
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The striking sea star's seemingly lethargic appearance is deceiving—they're the undisputed predator of the tide pool ecosystem. These echinoderms prefer to prey on bivalve mollusks, which they pry apart with their powerful tube feet.
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A close relative of the sea star can also be found in tide pool ecosystems: the sea urchin. These unique, spine-covered invertebrates may seem stationary, but don't be fooled—tube feet found on the urchin's underside are utilized as their primary form of locomotion. Urchins "walk" by moving these long, flexible tentacles, which are tipped with tiny suction cups.