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The oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface and contains over 90% of the Earth’s

water. We have only discovered 5% of the oceans, leaving much a mystery. The
deepest point of the ocean is The Mariana Trench at 11,000 m (36,100ft). There are
countless species that have adapted to survive in these astonishing conditions.

The ocean is divided into 5 layers, the first being the Epipelagic Zone (The Sunlight
Zone). It gets this name as this where most visible light exists. Being the top layer
with the most sunlight it is also the warmest layer of the ocean at 36C but can drop
as far as -3C. The section is 200m deep. The water pressure at this level is 88 PSI.
This zone contains most of the marine life (90% of all organisms) and due to sunlight
in this area it holds all plant life which needs sunlight for photosynthesis. Some
familiar creatures that live at this level are; Seals, Turtles, Mangroves, Jellyfish and
Sharks. The Great White Shark is the largest epipelagic fish in the ocean. In this
layer of the ocean there are two main types of fish; forage and predator fish.
Predator as well as forage fish are mostly spindle- shaped, having large mouths,
smooth bodies and bifurcated tails.
Fact: The depth of the water depends of the clarity or murkiness of the water. In
clear water, the euphotic zone can be quite deep; in murky water, it can be only 50ft
deep.

The second layer of the ocean is called Mesopelagic Zone (The Twilight Zone). This
area is 1,000m deep (3,300ft). This layer receives only faint filter sunlight. Due to the
lack of sunlight there is no plant life here. Life in this level has to cope with the
decreased temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius to 6 degrees Celsius and increased
pressure of 1,470 PSI. This is the layer where we start to see bioluminescence
creatures. Creatures in this layer are typically referred to semi- deep sea creatures.
The majority of creatures here are daytime visiting herbivores, detritivores feeding on
dead organisms and fecal pellets, and carnivores feeding on the former types.
Creatures that live in the level of the ocean are Cephalopods such as squid and
octopus. Because of the lack of plant life, many animals in this zone are predators,
and must rely on hunting and scavenging for nutrition. The most familiar creatures
are Swordfish, Dragonfish, Cutterfish and Chain Catshark. The Dragonfish is a
usually looking fish that are covered in photophores under its eyes and at the
terminus of its long barbell that lives in the Mesopelagic and bathypelagic layers.
These fish have long fang like teeth and are bioluminescent. This fish can produce
its own light in the red/infrared range as well as blue/green range that most other fish
can’t produce.
Fact: The Mesopelagic Zone is also called the Disphotic Zone which mean “poorly lit”
in Greek.

The third layer of the ocean is called the Bathypelagic Zone (The Midnight Zone).
This area is 4,000m deep (13,100ft). The pressure in this layer is 800x the pressure
of that at the surface. The pressure at this level can reach up to 5,850 PSI. The
temperature at this level is 4 degrees Celsius. Sunlight cannot reach this depth of the
ocean. This is furthest level a Sperm whale can dive down to. Bathypelagic Zone is
considered the largest habitat on the Earth. This level contains a very low organismal
biomass, something that will continue as with discover further down into the ocean.
Creatures that live in the deep ocean have been found by scientists to migrate up
towards the shallow depths of the ocean on a night to hunt and to seek protection
from the deep-sea dangers. Creatures that live in this layer are typical red or black in
colour due to the lack of sunlight. These creatures are Squid, Sperm Whales and
also little species such as the Comb Jelly (Ctenophora). The Firefly Squid’s tentacles
contain an organ called photosphere which produces light. The squid use these
lights to attract small prey. When attracting a mate the squid will light up its whole
body. Once they have reproduced young, the Firefly Squid dies at the age of one
year. A Barreleye fish is a species of Opisthoproctidae. This fish is one of the most
bizarre creatures in the ocean. Barreleye have a transparent head, a snout like
toothless mouth and large barrel like eye. The Barreleye fish has one of the most
incredible adaptations, the large flat fins. These fins allow fish to stay absolutely
motionless in the deep waters. The eyes of a Barreleye fish have a good advantage
over its prey. Their eyes point in the same direction, which gives them excellent
binocular vision.

The fourth layer of the ocean is called the Abyssopelagic Zone (The Abyss). This
area is 6,000 m deep (19,700ft). At this level, there is freezing temperatures at 3
degrees Celsius to 0 degree Celsius. There is also crushing water pressure at 14.7
PSI. This layer contains ¾ of the oceans floor. The result of the abyss is the
spreading of the seafloor and the melting of the lower oceanic crust. At this level, you
can see some hydrothermal vents, which despite the ambient water temperature of
2, water emerges from these vents ranging from 60 degree Celsius to as high as 464
degree Celsius. There is a lack of nutrients but high oxygen content. In spite of these
cold dark conditions there are a few discovered creature that lurk here. Creatures
are invertebrates, Basket Stars and tiny squid. Angler fish are able to survive in
these conditions and have become one of the most well-known creatures of the
deep. This fish a known for its grotesque alien like appearance; flesh and bone with
small eyes. A photosphere organ can be found on top of the fish’s head, which
attracts prey by waving it back and forth. Another well-known animal that lives in this
layer is the Dumbo Octopus. This is a unique species that only exists in the Abyss
zone. This creature has the appearance of an octopus with webbed tentacles, which
help them float in the ocean. As there are no plants down in the abyss, these
creatures feed on small fish such as Copepods and Bristle Worms. The
hydrothermal vents also allow creatures to inhale nutrients.

Fact: The Anglerfish’s sharp teeth are angled inwards to stop prey from escaping.

The fifth and final layer of the ocean is the Hadalpelagic Zone (The Trenches). This
area of the ocean extends from 6,000m to the deepest parts of the ocean. This zone
does not spread across the ocean floor but exists only in the deepest ocean
trenches. The deepest point in the ocean is located in the Mariana Trench at
11,000m (36,000ft). The temperature of this layer is 2-3 degrees Celsius. The
crushing pressure in this layer exceeds to 16,000 PSI. The conditions include
extreme darkness, low oxygen levels and underwater volcanoes. In spite of these
conditions, invertebrate creatures such as Starfish and Tube Worms can thrive at
these depths. The most common creatures in this layer are primarily lobsters, crabs
and prawn, found in the Kermadec and Japan trenches. A Rat Tail is a fish that is
found at 7,000m. They have large mouths and a tapering tail. Rat Tails have a well-
developed sense of smell. The largest creature to live here is Alicella Gigantea. The
largest one ever found was a 13.4-inch female, found in a trench in the Pacific
Ocean.