The Abyss

How Much do we Know About the Depths of the Ocean?


The least explored biome on the face of the earth is the region of the ocean called the abyssal zone. Scientists have explored less than 1% of the highly pressurized and chillingly cold depths of the ocean. We currently know more about the surface of the moon than we do about parts of our own home planet. But why do we know so little about the bottom of the ocean?



What can survive with no light

What can live in a world so hellishly hot

Or colder than ice

What creatures thrive on the dead bodies that drift from above

What animals nest in holes in the sand

or can only move when push comes to shove

What foreign being can withstand pressures that could crush a ship at bay

What extraterrestrial has no ability to see

But can sense evil approaching from ten yards away

What unknown monsters possess teeth as sharp as blade

What thing has a huge gaping mouth

or makes its own light to put on quite a charade

You and I both know exactly what it is

These are all characteristics of just on thing


Eptatretus stoutii (Hagfish) feeding

Research Connections


There are a ton of weird quirks that animals have that live in the abyssal zone of the ocean because of the extreme difference of their environment. For example, some of the creatures "have no ability to see" because there is no need for sight when all they would be seeing is pitch black. (Parker, Alien) And because no sunlight reaches the depths of the ocean, it is impossible for photosynthesis to occur. Therefore, most animals get their nutrients by eating "organic materials that fall from above or from eating other creatures." (Deep Sea Creature, Wikipedia)

Literary Essay

The main reason why we know so little about the bottom of the ocean is because it is very difficult, expensive, and even dangerous to go on a deep sea exhibition. The deeper down into the ocean, the more pressure there is. "Because of the high pressure, the depth to which a diver can descend without special equipment is limited." (Deep Sea Exploration, Wikipedia) That is why scientists have started to use HOVs, or human operated vehicles. These vehicles must be very small and compact in order to withstand the massive amounts of pressure. Many safety measures and precautions must be made in order to make sure the humans are safe inside the pod. For example, there are "2.5 inch thick windows, or viewing ports" in the pod but they are very small so that they do not implode due to great pressure. (Parker, Speechless)


There is such a wide range of species in the depths of the ocean that have yet to be discovered. But the ones scientists have discovered are all unique and have their own adaptations to help them survive and even thrive. Whether it be large teeth or a bioluminescent lure, every creature has its own strategies to stay alive. For example, the Fangtooth Fish "has the largest teeth in the world relative to body size." This enables it to sink its teeth into its prey to hold onto it. (Parker, Deep Sea Encyclopedia) The advantage that the Vampire Squid has to other deep sea creatures is that it has "eyes that are proportionately the largest of any animal on Earth." (National Geographic, Deep-Sea Creatures)

Primary Source

How much do YOU know about the abyssal zone of the ocean?

"I know we don't know a lot about it except that there are some super weird animals down there..." -- Julia Pressly

"There is a lot of pressure and it's really dark. The animals that live down there don't get as much oxygen as animals that live in shallower waters" -- Madi Mcshan

"There is no light and no human has ever explored in the absolute bottom of the ocean because we don't have the proper technology to do so." --Kaleigh Keyes

"No light, interesting life, most animals there are bioluminescent, many fish scavenge on the dead fish that sink to the bottom, there has been very limited human exploration to the abyssal zone." -- James Clifford

"It's wet." --Ralph Parker, M.D

"The really deep parts of the ocean have yet to be explored by scientists. It is pitch black and the water pressure is extreme. Ocean plants and animals have adapted to these extreme conditions and are able to thrive." -- Laurie Parker