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Zonation of the Benthal
  • Supralittoral: area just above high water mark, only submerged during storms; otherwise ocean spray
  • Littoral: intertidal zone between low and high water marks
  • Sublittoral: subtidal zone below low water mark, permanently submerged; extends down to the continental shelf break (~200 m) 

  • Below the shelf break, benthic habitats are classified into bathyal, abyssal, and hadal zones; all are aphotic. The abyssal zone is the largest benthic area (75%): temperature 4°C, high hydrostatic pressure, little food