Oceanic zone

The oceanic zone is typically defined as the area of the ocean lying beyond the continental shelf, but operationally is often referred to as beginning where the water depths drop to below 200 meters (660  feet), seaward from the coast to the open ocean.

It is the region of open sea beyond the edge of the continental shelf and includes 65% of the ocean’s completely open water. The oceanic zone has a wide array of undersea terrain, including crevices that are often deeper than Mt. Everest, as well as deep-sea volcanoes and ocean basins. While it is often difficult for life to sustain itself in this type of environment, some species do thrive in the oceanic zone.

There are four ocean zones. The sunlight zone, twilight zone, midnight zone, and abyssal zone.

Sub zones

The oceanic zone is subdivided into the epipelagic, mesopelagic, and bathypelagic zones.

The mesopelagic (disphotic) zone, where only small amounts of light penetrate, lies below the epipelagic zone. This zone is often referred to as the Twilight Zone due to its scarce amount of light. Temperatures in the mesopelagic zone range from 5 to 4 °C (41 to 39 °F). The pressure is higher here, it can be up to 1,470 pounds per square inch (10,100,000 Pa) and increases with depth.[1]

54% of the ocean lies in the bathypelagic (aphotic) zone into which no light penetrates. This is also called the midnight zone and the deep ocean. Due to the complete lack of sunlight, photosynthesis cannot occur and the only light source is bioluminescence. Water pressure is very intense and the temperatures are near freezing (range 0 to 6 °C (32 to 43 °F)).

Marine life

Oceanographers have divided the ocean into zones based on how far light reaches. All of the light zones can be found in the oceanic zone. The epipelagic zone is the one closest to the surface and is the best lit. It extends to 100 meters and contains both phytoplankton and zooplankton that can support larger organisms like marine mammals and some types of fish. Past 100 meters, not enough light penetrates the water to support life, and no plant life exists.[1]

There are creatures, however, which thrive around hydrothermal vents, or geysers located on the ocean floor that expel superheated water that is rich in minerals.[2] These organisms feed off of chemosynthetic bacteria, which use the superheated water and chemicals from the hydrothermal vents to create energy in place of photosynthesis. The existence of these bacteria allow creatures like squids, hatchet fish, octopuses, tube worms, giant clams, spider crabs and other organisms to survive.[3]

Due to the total darkness in the zones past the epipelagic zone, many organisms that survive in the deep oceans do not have eyes, and other organisms make their own light with bioluminescence. Often the light is blue-green in color, because many marine organisms are sensitive to blue light. Two chemicals, luciferin, and luciferase that react with one another to create a soft glow. The process by which bioluminescence is created is very similar to what happens when a glow stick is broken. Deep-sea organisms use bioluminescence for everything from luring prey to navigation.[3]

Animals such as fish, whales, and sharks are found in the oceanic zone.


  1. ^ a b "NatureWorks." New Hampshire Public Television - Engage. Connect. Celebrate. Web. 27 Oct. 2009
  2. ^ The University of Delaware Marine Graduate School. "Hydrothermal Vents." Voyage to the Deep. The University of Delaware, 2000. Web. 27 Oct. 2009.
  3. ^ a b Knight, J.D. (1997) Sea and Sky 25 Oct. 2009.
Aquatic ecosystem

An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem in a body of water. Communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment live in aquatic ecosystems. The two main types of aquatic ecosystems are marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems.

Benthic zone

The benthic zone is the ecological region at the lowest level of a body of water such as an ocean, lake, or stream, including the sediment surface and some sub-surface layers. Organisms living in this zone are called benthos and include microorganisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi) as well as larger invertebrates, such as crustaceans and polychaetes. Organisms here generally live in close relationship with the substrate and many are permanently attached to the bottom. The benthic boundary layer, which includes the bottom layer of water and the uppermost layer of sediment directly influenced by the overlying water, is an integral part of the benthic zone, as it greatly influences the biological activity that takes place there. Examples of contact soil layers include sand bottoms, rocky outcrops, coral, and bay mud.

Chris Cahill

For fictional characters named Chris Cahill, see Last Resort (U.S. TV series) and Personal Best (film)Christopher Cahill (born 25 December 1984) is a retired footballer. Born in Australia, he represented Samoa at International level.

Continental shelf

A continental shelf is a portion of a continent that is submerged under an area of relatively shallow water known as a shelf sea. Much of the shelves were exposed during glacial periods and interglacial periods. The shelf surrounding an island is known as an insular shelf.

The continental margin, between the continental shelf and the abyssal plain, comprises a steep continental slope followed by the flatter continental rise. Sediment from the continent above cascades down the slope and accumulates as a pile of sediment at the base of the slope, called the continental rise. Extending as far as 500 km (310 mi) from the slope, it consists of thick sediments deposited by turbidity currents from the shelf and slope. The continental rise's gradient is intermediate between the slope and the shelf.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the name continental shelf was given a legal definition as the stretch of the seabed adjacent to the shores of a particular country to which it belongs.

Demersal zone

The demersal zone is the part of the sea or ocean (or deep lake) consisting of the part of the water column near to (and significantly affected by) the seabed and the benthos. The demersal zone is just above the benthic zone and forms a layer of the larger profundal zone.

Being just above the ocean floor, the demersal zone is variable in depth and can be part of the photic zone where light can penetrate and photosynthetic organisms grow, or the aphotic zone, which begins between depths of roughly 200 and 1,000 m (700 and 3,300 ft) and extends to the ocean depths, where no light penetrates.


An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea.Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime environments known as ecotone. Estuaries are subject both to marine influences—such as tides, waves, and the influx of saline water—and to riverine influences—such as flows of fresh water and sediment. The mixing of seawater and fresh water provide high levels of nutrients both in the water column and in sediment, making estuaries among the most productive natural habitats in the world.Most existing estuaries formed during the Holocene epoch with the flooding of river-eroded or glacially scoured valleys when the sea level began to rise about 10,000–12,000 years ago. Estuaries are typically classified according to their geomorphological features or to water-circulation patterns. They can have many different names, such as bays, harbors, lagoons, inlets, or sounds, although some of these water bodies do not strictly meet the above definition of an estuary and may be fully saline.

Many estuaries suffer degradation from a variety of factors including: sedimentation from soil erosion from deforestation, overgrazing, and other poor farming practices; overfishing; drainage and filling of wetlands; eutrophication due to excessive nutrients from sewage and animal wastes; pollutants including heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls, radionuclides and hydrocarbons from sewage inputs; and diking or damming for flood control or water diversion.

Indonesia Fed Cup team

The Indonesia Fed Cup team represents Indonesia in Fed Cup tennis competition and are governed by the Indonesian Tennis Association. They have not competed in the World Groups since 2006.

Indonesian Tennis Association

The Indonesian Tennis Association is the governing body of tennis in Indonesia. It is known in Indonesian as PELTI (Persatuan Lawn Tennis Indonesia).

Founded on 26 December 1935, PELTI's roles include promotion of the game, providing funding for player development, organising junior and professional tournaments, and administering Indonesia's Fed Cup and Davis Cup teams.

In 2006, the Indonesia Fed Cup team qualified for World Group II, but refused to play Israel and forfeited their play-off match against the Israel Fed Cup team in Tel Aviv, and hence was relegated. Israel thus won by forfeit, and advanced to the 2007 Fed Cup World Group II. It was reported that the Indonesian Tennis Association was instructed to forfeit by the Indonesian government.The International Tennis Federation's President Francesco Ricci Bitti said the Federation was saddened by the decision. The ITF fined the Indonesian Tennis Association $31,600, and banned it from 2007's tournament. The fine consisted of $20,000 to host Israel, $6,600 to compensate the ITF`s spending on preparations for the Israel Fed Cup, and $5,000 for pulling out of the match. Indonesia had been in the World Group II playoffs in 2007, but the sanction relegated Indonesia to Group II of the Asia/Oceanic Zone in 2008.The current chairman is Martina Widjaja.

Intertidal zone

The intertidal zone, also known as the foreshore or seashore, is the area that is above water level at low tide and underwater at high tide (in other words, the area within the tidal range). This area can include several types of habitats with various species of life, such as starfish, sea urchins, and many species of coral. Sometimes it is referred to as the littoral zone, although that can be defined as a wider region.

The well-known area also includes steep rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, or wetlands (e.g., vast mudflats). The area can be a narrow strip, as in Pacific islands that have only a narrow tidal range, or can include many meters of shoreline where shallow beach slopes interact with high tidal excursion. The peritidal zone is similar but somewhat wider, extending from above the highest tide level to below the lowest.

Organisms in the intertidal zone are adapted to an environment of harsh extremes. The intertidal zone is also home to several species from different phyla (Porifera, Annelida, Coelenterata, Mollusca, Arthropoda, etc.). Water is available regularly with the tides, but varies from fresh with rain to highly saline and dry salt, with drying between tidal inundations. Wave splash can dislodge residents from the littoral zone. With the intertidal zone's high exposure to sunlight, the temperature can range from very hot with full sunshine to near freezing in colder climates. Some microclimates in the littoral zone are moderated by local features and larger plants such as mangroves. Adaptation in the littoral zone allows the use of nutrients supplied in high volume on a regular basis from the sea, which is actively moved to the zone by tides. Edges of habitats, in this case land and sea, are themselves often significant ecologies, and the littoral zone is a prime example.

A typical rocky shore can be divided into a spray zone or splash zone (also known as the supratidal zone), which is above the spring high-tide line and is covered by water only during storms, and an intertidal zone, which lies between the high and low tidal extremes. Along most shores, the intertidal zone can be clearly separated into the following subzones: high tide zone, middle tide zone, and low tide zone. The intertidal zone is one of a number of marine biomes or habitats, including estuary, neritic, surface, and deep zones.

List of marine molluscs of Ireland

The list of marine marine molluscs of Ireland is a list of marine species that form a part of the molluscan fauna of Ireland.

Their habitats include littoral, mesopelagic, pelagic, oceanic zone, benthic, deep ocean water and deep sea.

Littoral zone

The littoral zone or nearshore is the part of a sea, lake, or river that is close to the shore. In coastal environments, the littoral zone extends from the high water mark, which is rarely inundated, to shoreline areas that are permanently submerged. The littoral zone always includes this intertidal zone, and the terms are often used interchangeably. However, the meaning of littoral zone can extend well beyond the intertidal zone.

The term has no single definition. What is regarded as the full extent of the littoral zone, and the way the littoral zone is divided into subregions, varies in different contexts. (Lakes and rivers have their own definitions.) The use of the term also varies from one part of the world to another, and between different disciplines. For example, military commanders speak of the littoral in ways that are quite different from marine biologists.

The adjacency of water gives a number of distinctive characteristics to littoral regions. The erosive power of water results in particular types of landforms, such as sand dunes, and estuaries. The natural movement of the littoral along the coast is called the littoral drift. Biologically, the ready availability of water enables a greater variety of plant and animal life, and particularly the formation of extensive wetlands. In addition, the additional local humidity due to evaporation usually creates a microclimate supporting unique types of organisms.

The word littoral may be used both as a noun and as an adjective. It derives from the Latin noun litus, litoris, meaning "shore". (The doubled tt is a late-medieval innovation, and the word is sometimes seen in the more classical-looking spelling litoral.)

Marine biology

Marine biology is the scientific study of marine life, organisms in the sea. Given that in biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather than on taxonomy.

A large proportion of all life on Earth lives in the ocean. The exact size of this large proportion is unknown, since many ocean species are still to be discovered. The ocean is a complex three-dimensional world covering approximately 71% of the Earth's surface. The habitats studied in marine biology include everything from the tiny layers of surface water in which organisms and abiotic items may be trapped in surface tension between the ocean and atmosphere, to the depths of the oceanic trenches, sometimes 10,000 meters or more beneath the surface of the ocean. Specific habitats include coral reefs, kelp forests, seagrass meadows, the surrounds of seamounts and thermal vents, tidepools, muddy, sandy and rocky bottoms, and the open ocean (pelagic) zone, where solid objects are rare and the surface of the water is the only visible boundary. The organisms studied range from microscopic phytoplankton and zooplankton to huge cetaceans (whales) 25–32 meters (82–105 feet) in length. Marine ecology is the study of how marine organisms interact with each other and the environment.

Marine life is a vast resource, providing food, medicine, and raw materials, in addition to helping to support recreation and tourism all over the world. At a fundamental level, marine life helps determine the very nature of our planet. Marine organisms contribute significantly to the oxygen cycle, and are involved in the regulation of the Earth's climate. Shorelines are in part shaped and protected by marine life, and some marine organisms even help create new land.Many species are economically important to humans, including both finfish and shellfish. It is also becoming understood that the well-being of marine organisms and other organisms are linked in fundamental ways. The human body of knowledge regarding the relationship between life in the sea and important cycles is rapidly growing, with new discoveries being made nearly every day. These cycles include those of matter (such as the carbon cycle) and of air (such as Earth's respiration, and movement of energy through ecosystems including the ocean). Large areas beneath the ocean surface still remain effectively unexplored.

Marine botany

Marine botany is the study of aquatic plants and algae that live in seawater of the open ocean and the littoral zone, along shorelines of the intertidal zone, and in brackish water of estuaries.

It is a branch of marine biology and botany.

Neritic zone

The neritic zone is the relatively shallow part of the ocean above the drop-off of the continental shelf, approximately 200 meters (660 ft) in depth.

From the point of view of marine biology it forms a relatively stable and well-illuminated environment for marine life, from plankton up to large fish and corals, while physical oceanography sees it as where the oceanic system interacts with the coast.


An ocean (from Ancient Greek Ὠκεανός, transc. Okeanós) is a body of water that composes much of a planet's hydrosphere. On Earth, an ocean is one of the major conventional divisions of the World Ocean. These are, in descending order by area, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern (Antarctic), and Arctic Oceans. The word "ocean" is often used interchangeably with "sea" in American English. Strictly speaking, a sea is a body of water (generally a division of the world ocean) partly or fully enclosed by land, though "the sea" refers also to the oceans.

Saline water covers approximately 361,000,000 km2 (139,000,000 sq mi) and is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas, with the ocean covering approximately 71% of Earth's surface and 90% of the Earth's biosphere. The ocean contains 97% of Earth's water, and oceanographers have stated that less than 5% of the World Ocean has been explored. The total volume is approximately 1.35 billion cubic kilometers (320 million cu mi) with an average depth of nearly 3,700 meters (12,100 ft).As the world ocean is the principal component of Earth's hydrosphere, it is integral to life, forms part of the carbon cycle, and influences climate and weather patterns. The World Ocean is the habitat of 230,000 known species, but because much of it is unexplored, the number of species that exist in the ocean is much larger, possibly over two million. The origin of Earth's oceans is unknown; oceans are thought to have formed in the Hadean eon and may have been the cause for the emergence of life.

Extraterrestrial oceans may be composed of water or other elements and compounds. The only confirmed large stable bodies of extraterrestrial surface liquids are the lakes of Titan, although there is evidence for the existence of oceans elsewhere in the Solar System. Early in their geologic histories, Mars and Venus are theorized to have had large water oceans. The Mars ocean hypothesis suggests that nearly a third of the surface of Mars was once covered by water, and a runaway greenhouse effect may have boiled away the global ocean of Venus. Compounds such as salts and ammonia dissolved in water lower its freezing point so that water might exist in large quantities in extraterrestrial environments as brine or convecting ice. Unconfirmed oceans are speculated beneath the surface of many dwarf planets and natural satellites; notably, the ocean of the moon Europa is estimated to have over twice the water volume of Earth. The Solar System's giant planets are also thought to have liquid atmospheric layers of yet to be confirmed compositions. Oceans may also exist on exoplanets and exomoons, including surface oceans of liquid water within a circumstellar habitable zone. Ocean planets are a hypothetical type of planet with a surface completely covered with liquid.

Ocean bank

An ocean bank, sometimes referred to as a fishing bank or simply bank, is a part of the seabed which is shallow compared to its surrounding area, such as a shoal or the top of an underwater hill. Somewhat like continental slopes, ocean banks slopes can upwell as tidal and other flows intercept them, resulting sometimes in nutrient rich currents. Because of this, some large banks, such as Dogger Bank and the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, are among the richest fishing grounds in the world.

There are some banks that were reported in the 19th century by navigators, such as Wachusett Reef, whose existence is doubtful.


The seabed (also known as the seafloor, sea floor, or ocean floor) is the bottom of the ocean.

Southern Ocean

The Southern Ocean, also known as the Antarctic Ocean or the Austral Ocean, comprises the southernmost waters of the World Ocean, generally taken to be south of 60° S latitude and encircling Antarctica. As such, it is regarded as the fourth largest of the five principal oceanic divisions: smaller than the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans but larger than the Arctic Ocean. This oceanic zone is where cold, northward flowing waters from the Antarctic mix with warmer subantarctic waters.

By way of his voyages in the 1770s, James Cook proved that waters encompassed the southern latitudes of the globe. Since then, geographers have disagreed on the Southern Ocean's northern boundary or even existence, considering the waters as various parts of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, instead. However, according to Commodore John Leech of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), recent oceanographic research has discovered the importance of Southern Circulation, and the term Southern Ocean has been used to define the body of water which lies south of the northern limit of that circulation. This remains the current official policy of the IHO, since a 2000 revision of its definitions including the Southern Ocean as the waters south of the 60th parallel has not yet been adopted. Others regard the seasonally-fluctuating Antarctic Convergence as the natural boundary.The maximum depth of the Southern Ocean, using the definition that it lies south of 60th parallel, was surveyed by the Five Deeps Expedition in early February 2019. The expedition's multibeam sonar team identified the deepest point at 60° 28' 46"S, 025° 32' 32"W, with a depth of 7,434 meters. The expedition leader and chief submersible pilot Victor Vescovo, has proposed naming this deepest point in the Southern Ocean the "Factorian Deep," based on the name of the manned submersible DSV Limiting Factor, in which he successfully visited the bottom for the first time on February 3, 2019.


A strait is a naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. Most commonly it is a channel of water that lies between two land masses. Some straits are not navigable, for example because they are too shallow, or because of an unnavigable reef or archipelago.

Ocean zones
Sea level


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