Plants and animals must be very hardy to live near the ocean. The native plants that grow in costal areas usually survive the most server storms. Some dune plants such as sea oats are now protected be law because their multi-layer roots stabilize dunes and protect soil and property from storms.
Salt spray "prunes" the tops of shrubs and trees, which increase in height the farther one moves away from the ocean. Underneath the protective cover of the trees there is less wind, and an interesting variety of plants and animals live under this shelter.
Even farther back from the ocean the dunes often flatten out, ending at saltwater lagoons bordered by salt marshes in North Florida or mangrove swamps in South Florida. The quiet, shallow waters contain several kinds of sea grasses that provide food, shelter, and support for marine life. The lagoons that not been dredged or polluted are "nursery grounds" for most of our fish, shrimp, crabs, oysters, and other seafood.