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Ocean floor life

Unlike the open waters at great depths—the bathypelagic zone—where life-forms are relatively sparse, there are a number of...Read More >>Unlike the open waters at great depths—the bathypelagic zone—where life-forms are relatively sparse, there are a number of animals hunting and scavenging for food on the ocean floor. A kind of lobster with its tail folded under its body, called a squat lobster, creeps over the soft mud feeding on other bottom-living animals. Some animals remain in one spot. Among them are sponges, sea squirts and stalked crinoids. On the ocean floor, on average about 4500 metres (15,000 feet) below the surface, the water is completely black and very cold. Here in the abyssal zone animals cannot use sight to find their food, so many are blind. Instead, they have highly developed senses of touch, or are able to detect chemical changes in the water that will lead them to a food source. The weight of water above the plain is immense, so these animals must be specially adapted to live in such a high-pressure environment. Their bodies have no air spaces inside them.


A good part of ocean-floor ooze is made up from the tiny skeletons of zooplankton that have rained slowly down from surface...Read More >>A good part of ocean-floor ooze is made up from the tiny skeletons of zooplankton that have rained slowly down from surface waters.

Ooze

The floor of the oceans is covered with a thick layer of ooze, made up of sand, mud and debris from plant and animal life that forms a constant rain from the waters above. Having taken millions of years to accumulate, the ooze may be about 500 metres (about 1600 feet) thick in places. Some animals burrow into the ooze or creep across it, feeding on any animal remains, including skeletons and droppings, they find there.

There is a surprisingly high diversity of life on the abyssal plain. At a single site scientists have estimated there to be, for example, about 500 species of marine invertebrate (worms, crustaceans, molluscs and worms).

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