The Abyssal Zone is one of the many benthic zones we have highlighted to describe the deep oceans. This particular zone is found at depths of 2,000 to 6,000 meters (6,560 to 19,680 feet) and stays in perpetual darkness.
Just below the abyssal zone and extending to the bottoms of the deepest trenches is the hadal zone. Very few animals exist in this habitat. Just above the abyssal zone is the bathyal zone and just above that the photic zone where much of the oceans life exists.
Animals in the deep ocean are unique. Because food is scarce in this zone most animals have large gaps to injest any possible food. A great example of this is the deep-sea anglerfish. In many ways the deep sea is about eat or be eaten.
Other deep sea animals include the infamous giant squid, black swallower, tripod fish.
Deep Sea vents: Chemosynthesis, the basis of life in the deep sea
The answer came from the discovery that bacteria in the vents were able to convert hydrogen sulfide coming out of the vents into energy. These bacteria then supported large tube worms, crustaceans, and multitudes of other organisms.
The most amazing part of this find was that science had found organisms whose primary energy source was not the sun. It was previously thought that life depended on photosynthesis, converting sunlight to energy. This new find spured questions about how life arose on planet earth. Could it have started through chemosynthesis?
Rob Nelson April 2007
Links to some great Abyssal Zone sites:
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