The deep ocean begins where the continental shelves and their shallow waters give way to the dark depths where little or no sunlight penetrates. Here, in the layer underneath the sunlit open oceans, live some of the most bizarre and highly adapted creatures on the planet. With no plants or algae here to photosynthesize and form the base of the food chain, life here is largely dependent on the dead material and droppings that sink down from above.
Descending 200 meters into the deep sea reveals some weird and wonderful creatures.
Descending 200 meters into the dark of the deep sea reveals some weird and wonderful creatures.
Swimming up from the deep ocean, a young chambered nautilus is an incredible living fossil.
Eight hundred metres below sea level, a living fossil lurks. The chambered nautilus is an ancient relative of the squid and the octopus. It migrates upwards from these depths every night to feed on the tiny shrimp by the Great Barrier Reef wall, returning back to the darkness during the day. This clip shows the first images of a baby chambered nautilus, no bigger than a two pound coin, as it propels itself forward by squirting water.
The very bottom of the ocean is known as the abyssal plain.
The very bottom of the ocean is known as the abyssal plain. (Courtesy of WHOI)
An extraordinary creature is discovered in the ocean depths.
An extraordinary creature is discovered in the ocean depths. (Courtesy of WHOI)
Bioluminescence creates pyrotechnic displays deep in the ocean's darkness.
Bioluminescence creates pyrotechnic displays deep in the ocean's darkness. Shots courtesy of WHOI
Useful behaviours for this habitat
Ecozones where this habitat is found
Other Marine habitats
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