Divisions in the Marine Environment
The Pelagic (open sea) environment is divided into the Neritic and Oceanic Provinces.
Neritic (nearshore zone): Extends from shore with water less than 200 meters. It is subdivided into two zones:
- Littoral (intertidal) zone: Interval between high and low tides
- Sub-littoral zone: Below the littoral zone to a depth of 200 meters.
Oceanic Provinces (based on depth)
- Epipelagic: Water less than 200 meters
- Mesopelagic: Water between 200 and 1000meters
- Bathypelagic: Water between 1000 and 4000meters
- Abyssopelagic: Water deeper than 4000 meters
- Hadal: Depths below 6000 meters in deep sea trenches
Sunlight penetration has its own divisions (Figure 14.25):
- Photic zone: The upper part of the ocean where sunlight penetrates
- Euphotic Zone: upper ½ of photic zone (usually to about 100 meters)
- Dysphotic Zone: lower ½ of photic zone
- Aphotic Zone: No light penetrates