Pelagic

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Pelagic'

Pelagic Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    pelagic adj : relating to or occurring or living in or frequenting the open ocean; "oceanic islands like Bermuda"; "oceanic currents"; "oceanic birds"; "pelagic organisms"; "pelagic whaling" [syn: oceanic]
Pelagic Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Pelagic \Pe*lag"ic\, a. [L. pelagicus.] Of or pertaining to the ocean; -- applied especially to animals that live at the surface of the ocean, away from the coast.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Pelagic'


Any water in the sea that is not close to the bottom or near to the shore is in the pelagic zone. The word pelagic comes from the Greek πέλαγος or pélagos, which means "open sea." The pelagic zone can be thought of in terms of an imaginary cylinder or water column that goes from the surface of the sea almost to the bottom, as shown in the diagram below. Conditions change deeper down the water column; the pressure increases, the temperature drops and there is less light. Depending on the depth, scientists further subdivide the water column, rather like the Earth's atmosphere is divided into different layers.

The pelagic zone occupies 1,370 million cubic kilometres (330 million cubic miles) and has a vertical range up to 11 kilometres (6.8 miles). Fish that live in the pelagic zone are called pelagic fish. Pelagic life decreases with increasing depth. It is affected by light levels, pressure, temperature, salinity, the supply of dissolved oxygen and nutrients, and the submarine topography. In deep water, the pelagic zone is sometimes called the open-ocean zone and can be contrasted with water that is near the coast or on the continental shelf. However in other contexts, coastal water that is not near the bottom is still said to be in the pelagic zone.

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