Light and Food Chains

Question Answer
What is the difference between benthic and pelagic zones? The benthic zone is an area at or near the bottom. The pelagic zone is the open water area of the ocean.
Why do fish from benthic communities come in a wider variety of shapes and sizes than those from pelagic environments? Support you answer with pictures. Open water "Pelagic Zone" fish have no place to hide. Their only defense is to swim and fast as they can. Some open water fish also group together in schools for protection. Most open water fish are built for speed and therefore share similar shapes. 

Bottom dwelling "Benthic community" fish come in a much greater variety of shapes and sizes. This is due to the wide variety of habitats available to them. Camouflage and coloration are much more important to them.

Benthic (Scorpion fish)

Pelagic (Tuna)

The eastern coast of the United States has a large shallow undersea plain to its east.  What is this plain called? Why is this important? Why are macro Algae able to thrive in this environment. Extending several hundred miles off of the east coast of the United States is the continental shelf. This great undersea plain creates a large bottom fishing industry. Some light penetrates all the way to the bottom here providing a place for large brown and Red algae to grow. This forms an important fish habitat
What is the Difference between Aphotic and Euphotic  zone? Euphotic zone is the area at the surface of the ocean (less than 200 feet in most places) that has enough light to support photosynthesis.The Aphotic Zone is the area of the deep ocean which sunlight never penetrates. 



How is it that even in the Aphotic Zone many creatures still depend on photosynthesis for food Most of the fish in the aphotic zone either migrate to the surface to feed or act as scavengers and wait for dead material to drop from the surface
What are some special adaptations found in deep water fish. How do Vertical migrators like lantern fish get their food?  Why do these fish migrate? How do they  differ  from gulpers and angler fish? The Gulper shown here is an example some of the bizarre creatures that inhabit the aphotic zone. They swim around with their mouth open waiting for something dead to drop from the surface.

The Lantern fish is a vertical migrator. Every night it swims to the surface looking for food. During the day it avoids the competition and dangerous predators at the surface by waiting  in the aphotic zone. Like many deep sea fish it has bioluminescent organs.

The Viperfish is a predator. It likely gets ist food by feeding on scavengers like the Gulper of vertical migrators like the lantern fish

Gulper  Viperfish


What is Bioluminescence and how is it used by marine organisms Bioluminescence is the ability of some living things to produce light. Many Deep sea organisms culture bioluminescent bacteria in special tissues on their bodies. 

Deep sea organisms use Bioluminescence to signal each other, attract mates and attract prey 

References: You should provide references for all of your answers and images.
Page Name URL
Viperfish CF_Viper/cf_viper.html


Gulper info/logo.htm
lantern fish puppetplay/lantern_fish.html
Scorpion Fish tanzania/underwater3.html
Continental shelf Hydroplate2.html
Bioluminescence biolum.html