benthos

/ben"thos/, n.
the biogeographic region that includes the bottom of a lake, sea, or ocean, and the littoral and supralittoral zones of the shore. Also called benthic division, benthonic zone.
[1890-95; < Gk bénthos depth (of the sea); akin to BATHOS, BATHY-]

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      the assemblage of organisms inhabiting the seafloor. Benthic epifauna live upon the seafloor or upon bottom objects; the so-called infauna live within the sediments of the seafloor. By far the best-studied benthos are the macrobenthos, those forms larger than 1 mm (0.04 inch), which are dominated by polychaete worms, pelecypods, anthozoans, echinoderms, sponges, ascidians, and crustaceans. Meiobenthos, those organisms between 0.1 and 1 mm in size, include polychaetes, pelecypods, copepods, ostracodes, cumaceans, nematodes, turbellarians, and foraminiferans. The microbenthos, smaller than 0.1 mm, include bacteria, diatoms, ciliates, amoeba, and flagellates.

      The variety and abundance of the benthos vary with latitude, depth, water temperature and salinity, locally determined conditions such as the nature of the substrate, and ecological circumstances such as predation and competition. The principal food sources for the benthos are plankton and organic debris from land. In shallow water, larger algae are important, and, where light reaches the bottom, benthic photosynthesizing diatoms (diatom) are also a significant food source. Hard and sandy substrates are populated by suspension feeders such as sponges and pelecypods. Softer bottoms are dominated by deposit eaters, of which the polychaetes are the most important. Fishes, starfish, snails, cephalopods, and the larger crustaceans are important predators and scavengers.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • benthos — [ bɛ̃tos ] n. m. • 1897; mot gr. « profondeur » ♦ Didact. Ensemble des organismes qui vivent sur les fonds des mers et s y déplacent peu. Benthos, plancton et necton. ● benthos nom masculin (grec benthos, profondeur) Ensemble des êtres vivants… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Benthos — are the organisms which live on, in, or near the seabed, also known as the benthic zone. [http://www.caml.aq/benthos/index.html Benthos] from the Census of Antarctic Marine Life website] They live in or near marine sedimentary environments, from… …   Wikipedia

  • benthos — life forms of the deep ocean and sea floor, 1891, coined by Haeckel from Gk. benthos depth of the sea, related to bathos depth, bathys deep, of unknown origin. Adjective benthic is attested from 1902 …   Etymology dictionary

  • Benthos — Ben thos (b[e^]n th[o^]s), n. [NL., fr. Gr. be nqos depth of the sea.] The bottom of the sea, esp. of the deep oceans; hence (Bot. & Zo[ o]l.), the fauna and flora of the sea bottom; opposed to {plankton}. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Benthos — (griech., »Tiefe, Meerestiefe«), nach Haeckel die Gesamtheit derjenigen wasserbewohnenden Lebewesen, die im Gegensatze zu dem in verschiedenen Tiefen frei schwebenden Plankton (s. d.) am Grunde festgeheftet sind oder sich auf dem Grunde kriechend …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • benthos — [ben′thäs΄] n. [ModL < Gr, depth of the sea; akin to bathos: see BATHY ] all the plants and animals living on or closely associated with the bottom of a body of water, esp. the ocean benthic [ben′thik] adj. benthonic [ben′thän′ik] …   English World dictionary

  • Benthos — Einige typische limnische Benthonten Meeres …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Benthos — Exemples d organismes benthiques Le benthos est l ensemble des organismes aquatiques (marins ou dulcicoles) vivant à proximité du fond des mers et océans, des lacs et cours d eau. Par opposition, on parle de pélagos (constitué du plancton et du… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Benthos — Bẹn|thos 〈n.; s; unz.〉 Tier u. Pflanzenwelt auf dem Boden von Gewässern [<grch. benthos „Tiefe“] * * * Bẹn|thos, das; [griech. bénthos = Tiefe] (Biol.): Gesamtheit der über, auf od. im Grund od. im Uferbereich von Gewässern lebenden… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Benthos — bentosas statusas T sritis ekologija ir aplinkotyra apibrėžtis Organizmų (fitobentoso ir zoobentoso), gyvenančių vandens telkinių dugne, visuma. atitikmenys: angl. benthos vok. Benthon, n; Benthos, n rus. бентон, m; бентос, m …   Ekologijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

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