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The littoral zone, also called litoral or nearshore, is the part of a sea, lake, or river that is close to the shore. In coastal ecology, the littoral zone includes the intertidal zone extending from the high water mark (which is rarely inundated), to coastal areas that are permanently submerged — known as the foreshore — and the terms are often used interchangeably. However, the geographical meaning of littoral zone extends well beyond the intertidal zone to include all neritic waters within the bounds of continental shelves.