Kingdom of the Tide

An astounding underwater world of bizarre creatures, critical to the health of our oceans and locked in a struggle for survival.
Available on CBC Gem

Kingdom of the Tide

Nature of Things

It’s a mysterious realm right at the ocean’s edge where some of the planet’s most unusual creatures live. It’s right on our doorstep, yet few have penetrated its secrets.

Until now.

Twice each day, low tide briefly exposes this astounding world — a narrow band of rocky shore known as the intertidal zone. It’s home to a unique species of fish that breathes air, armies that battle for supremacy and space, and a creature that turns itself inside out to eat its enemies alive.

Sarika Cullis-Suzuki discovered this magical kingdom and its inhabitants at age six in the tidal pools near her family cottage in British Columbia. She immersed herself in their world, fell in love with their bizarre and beautiful home, and set her sights on a career in marine biology.

The intertidal zone keeps serving up new discoveries
This fish can breathe air to stay safe during the low tide

Three decades later, Dr. Cullis-Suzuki returns to this special place to make the new and stunningly filmed documentary Kingdom of the Tide, from The Nature of Things. Canada has some of the richest intertidal zones in the world — not surprising in a country with over 250,000 kilometres of coastline. From the untamed Pacific to the wild Bay of Fundy, Cullis-Suzuki embarks on a coast-to-coast adventure to discover the survival secrets of those that inhabit Canada’s intertidal zones.

Despite its beauty, this is one of the toughest environments on earth. “Think waves pounding jagged rocks along a rugged coastline,” she says. “Yet life here still finds a way to thrive. Indeed, you get some phenomenal creatures and exquisite adaptations.”

Colonies of aggregating anemones waging war on each other; hermit crabs stealing the shell off their neighbour’s back in order to survive; voracious sea stars hunting mussels and consuming them alive; even seaweed that has adapted to resist hurricane force waves.

These freaky creatures have adapted to survive in one of the world's toughest environments
This beautiful sea slug has a secret weapon

In Kingdom of the Tide, Cullis-Suzuki will reveal why this battle for existence is vital. Despite its harshness, the world between the tides is one of the most productive environments on the planet, and the health of the world’s oceans is closely linked to the health of these intertidal zones.

“They are incredibly important to ocean health and can be heavily impacted by humans because they are so close to land and are exposed to both land and ocean-based threats. It’s really important we understand these areas and protect them.”

In Kingdom of the Tide, Sarika Cullis-Suzuki will uncover the beauty, drama and wonder of this amazing world. From the epic to the intimate, she’ll showcase the extraordinary range of life that survives here, and reveal why this is one of the most important habitats on Earth.