Study case

Lajes do Pico - Geomorphology and Zonation

Lajes do Pico is a village located at a base of a cliff with more than 200 m. The Coastal Platform of Lajes do Pico is formed by lava flows originated in the shield volcanic cone of Topo.

In an irregular way, it displays low slope and its wide varies between 200 and 300 m. The rocky platform is characterized by different substrate types: drainage platforms (Lajido), rocky blocks, pebbles of various dimensions, coastal pools, cracks of various depths and widths. These environments created by the substrate itself offer optimal conditions for marine life.

In the intertidal the organisms distribute themselves following the typical zonation of the Azorean coasts.

The begginning of the marine environment is well marked by the presence of periwinkles (Tectarus striatus), followed by the barnacles Chthamalus stellatus and limpets (Patella spp.), followed by the zone of green algae or algal moss.

Finally, the leafy algae or multispecific moss marks the transition with the sunbmerged zone.

The coastal pools on the platform are abundant and play a very relevant role for species such as the duskin grouper Epinephelus marginatus,since they function as a nursery. One example of these pools is “Poça do Cão”, located southeast of the platform.

It has no direct connection to the sea, being fed under the pebbles and lava channels.

“Poça do Cão” hosts organisms that are uncommon on the rest of the platform, such as the pseudoscorpion Neobisium maritimum.