Marine Benthic Zone

by Caroline Bridges

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Location

The benthic zone is located on the bottom of the sea and the surrounding area around it. Even though the benthic zone is dominately located at the sea floor it does not contain the deepest parts of the ocean. The benthic zone is located under the pelagic zone and above the abyssal zone.
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The ocean is warmer closer to the equator, but the temperature is not affected that much in deep sea of the benthic zone.
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Physical and Chemical

The landscape of the benthic area is very diverse. The landscapes include mountains, volcanoes, flat sandy areas, rocky areas, muddy areas, and trenches.

Organic materials come from higher up zones and come from dead or decaying organisms. Nutrients are very limited so organisms have adapted by conserving energy by moving slowly and and patiently.

Food Web

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5 Characteristics of Animals

1. Body Color- Camouflage and protection from predators. Ex. The Blacksmelt fish

2. Reproduction- It is hard to find mates in the dark. Ex. Deep-sea Anglarfish- May use light patterns or scents, but the males have adapted to acting like parasites by attaching their hooked teeth to the females blood vessel. The males gain nourishment and the females are provided with a sperm source.

3. Gigantism- grow in size. Ex. The giant squid

4. Long Lives- reproduce and mature slowly. Ex. Rattails

5. Nourishment-organic matter from higher up that drift down to the seafloor. Ex. Demersal fish

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5 Characteristics of Plants

1. sea grass-evolved from terrestrial plants

2. turtle grass- requires water of high salinity in areas sheltered from wave action. Can be located deeper depending on the clarity of the water.

3. red seaweed- anchored with holdfast

4. kelp-takes in nutrients and mineral surrounding it.

5. Gulfweed-washes ashore

Not many plants are able to grow in the benthic zone since there is not much light to perform photosynthesis. These plants are located in the shallower areas that light is still able to come through.

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Human Impact

commercial fishing- humans dragging their fishing nets along the sea floor disrupts the sediments and landscapes of the sea floor.

Submerged structures- such as shipwrecks that can disturb species by providing a substrate for colonization of species.

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