Population dynamics of plant species of coastal sand dunes is influenced directly, both above and below the soil surface, by a wide variety of organisms. Plants serve as sources of carbon and pathogens including viruses, insects, bacteria, fungi, birds, and mammals of various kinds. Some enhance plant performance while others have deleterious effects. Positive interactions include pollination of flowers by useful insects in return for nectar and pollen, nutrient acquisition from soil by mycorrhizal fungi in exchange for carbon and acquiring nitrogen (N) from N-fixing bacteria. In the history of co-evolution between plants and organisms over one hundred million years plants have developed many mechanisms to defend themselves from pathogens. Morphology may be altered by producing epicuticular waxes, developing trichomes over leaves, producing tough leaves with deposition of celluloses, lignin, suberin and callose, developing thorns on stems and branches or producing secondary plant metabolites that retard development, intoxicate or kill herbivorous insects. Herbivory may induce a plant to produce chemicals that signal to advertise the presence of insects feeding on them and attract parasites to reduce their numbers. Phenological escape is also employed, such as delay of leaf expansion during periods of insect abundance. Some indirect mechanisms of plant defence involve the use of insects such as ants for protection from other phytophagous insects. However, the predators have also evolved the ability to break down the defence mechanisms of the plant. For example, they may use phytochemicals for their own defence or as olfactory clues for feeding. In this chapter a brief account of organisms of the coastal dune communities, including species of the intertidal zone, scavengers of the sea coast, reptiles, birds, insects, mammals and their possible interactions with terrestrial vegetation is presented. For biological organisms of the seashore the intertidal zone is the most important for food and shelter. The sand-dwelling species of the seashore must be able to contend with four limiting factors: (i) rush of water from the approaching or receding high tide and pounding breakers, (ii) low salinity of the top surface of sand (iii) desiccation of surface by high winds and sunshine and (iv) extreme changes in temperature of topsoil.
Keywords: amphipods, ants, bivalves, carnivorous worms, carrion, centipedes, copepods, crabs, crustaceans, curlews, cutworms, cyanobacteria, decapods, drying zone, flagellates, flea beetles, grazing animals, intertidal zone, isopods, locusts, meiofauna, mice, millipedes, moles, molluscs, rabbits, reptiles, resurgence zone, retention zone, rusts, sanderlings, saturation zone, squirrels, swallows, tube worms, turnstones, turtles, wagtails, whimbrels
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