The Deep Sea




Woodward, Susan L.

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Greenwood Press


The deep sea biome begins at the edge of the continental shelf and involves all parts of the water column and sea floor at depths greater than 200 m (650 ft). Some 80 percent of the biome occurs at depths greater than 2,000 m (6,500 ft) and 60 percent at depths below 4,000 m (13,000 ft) (Barnes and Hughes 1999). Although it covers nearly two-thirds of Earth's surface, the deep sea remains largely a great unknown. In the past two decades or so, rapid advances in our understanding of the deep-sea environment and deep-sea communities have been made thanks to technological advances such as submersibles and remote-sensing methods. Long-held ideas are being scrapped as new information is acquired. The student is cautioned that any book is probably out of date; the most accurate information is best found in science journals and the Web sites of professionals in the field. It is know now that benthic and pelagic communities of the deep sea are basically the same as those of the continental shelf and do not contain only a few unique or monstrous forms, as once believed. Many, many different forms of life occur here, though none is especially abundant. One estimate puts the total number of species at over 10 million (Grassle and Maciolek 1992), but no one really knows..... This chapter continues to discuss several biotic aspects of the deep sea biome.


pgs. 327-336


deep sea, water, biome, continental shelf, continental slope, deep sea floor, remote-sensing, deep-sea communities, submersibles, species