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  • Feeding the Deep-Sea
    • Photic zone production presents the base for deep-sea life! But only 1-5% of production in the photic zone reaches the deep-sea
    • Potential food sources are
      • Dead phyto-, zooplankton, fish
      • Dead large fish and mammals
      • Fecal pellets and moults
      • Macroalgal detritus
      • Animal migration
    • Sedimentation of biogenic particles is dependent on particle size (larger particles sink faster) and is a sporadic event; food in the deep-sea is only available at certain times, not continuously

    Adaptations to the Deep-Sea

    • Deposit-feeding is the common mode of nutrition (80% of species)
    • Sea cucumbers and worms may ingest the whole sediment, extracting the organic substances
    • Where bottom currents are sufficient, passive filter-feeders occur (do not use energy for pumping water as active filter-feeders do)
    • Scavengers move actively to sites of increased food availability (fallen whale)
    • Strict predators are rare
    • High pressure traps water molecules at a high density around charged molecules, interfering with protein binding. Deep-sea fish and invertebrates contain the highest amount of trimethylamine oxide (TAMO) to help pressure-sensitive proteins

    Links to deep-sea ecology sites: