Marine Life Zones

Ocean Environments
Two Basic Divisions
1. Benthic Zone – bottom
2. Pelagic Zone - water
Benthic Zones
1. Intertidal
– Shallowest area
– Between the low and
high tide lines
– Changing environment
Fingernail Limpet
Barnacle mating
Buckshot Barnacles
Gooseneck Barnacles
Mussel with
barnacles on it
Mussel with
barnacles on it
Sea Urchin
Sea star
Sea weed
Sea anemones – closed above water, open
below water
Benthic Zones
• 2. Sublittoral
– Always underwater
– On continental shelf
– Most variety of benthic life
Sponge with
brittle star
Benthic Zones
3. Bathyal
- starts at continental
slope and extends to
4000 m
- little or no sunlight
- cold 4°C
- very high pressure
Brittle Stars
Crinoids (Sea Lilies)
Sea cucumbers
Benthic Zones
4. Abyssal
- No sunlight
- 4000 – 6000 m
- On abyssal plain
Tube worms
Benthic Zones
5. Hadal
• 6000m -11,000m
• Trench
Pelagic Zone – water area
1. Neritic
water area above
continental shelf
2. Oceanic
 water off of continental shelf
 further divided into 5 areas
based on depth
• Oceanic zone is
further divided into 5
areas based on depth
Neritic Zone Life
Angel fish
Clown fish
Bluefin Tuna
Oceanic Zones
1. Epipelagic
• Surface – 200 meters
• Sunlight, warm
Oceanic Zones
Firefly Squid
2. Mesopelagic
• twilight zone - some light but no
• 200 – 2000 meters
• contains thermocline (large
temperature change)
• low-energy tissues and sluggish
lifestyles to cope with low food
energy, since no algae can grow.
• Many animals are bioluminescent
Deep Sea Angler
Giant Siphonophore
Bloodbelly Comb Jelly
Pelagic Zones
Giant Squid
4. Bathypelagic zone
2,000 – 4,000 meters
Vampire Squid
Pelagic Zones
Snipe Eel
Abyssopelagic zone
- 4000 – 6000 meters
low oxygen, nutrients
and food
Dark and cold
Zoarcid Fish
Anderson, Genny (2002). The splash zone. Retrieved August 5, 2008, from
Allison, M., DeGaetano, A., & Pasachoff, J. (2006). Earth Science. Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Deep Sea. Retrieved August 10, 2008, from Monteray Bay Aquarium Online Field Guide Web site:
Flach, Author's first name initialEls, & Heip, Carlo (1996). Vertical distribution of macrozoobenthos within the sediment on
the continental slope of the Globan spur area. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 141, 55-66.
Monsters of the Deep Sea. Retrieved August 10, 2008, from Sea and Sky Web site:
Rager, Nicolle (2004). Sea Vent Viewer. Retrieved August 7, 2008, from Natinal Science Foundation Web site:
Roach, John (2005, Feb. 3). Life Is Found Thriving at Ocean's Deepest Point. Retrieved August 10, 2008, from National
Geographic News Web site:
Yancey, Paul (2008). Deep Sea Biology. Retrieved August 7, 2008, Web site:
Viau, Elizabeth A. (2003). The littoral zone. Retrieved August 5, 2008, from World Builders Web site:
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