What are the different oceanic zones in which seas are classified?

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There are in total five oceans on our planet Earth. These oceans are Arctic, Antarctic, Pacific, Indian and Southern. Each of these oceans has their separate oceanic zones. Oceanic zone is typically defined as the area of the ocean that is lying beyond the continental shelf, but operationally these zones are referred to as the beginning where the water depth drops to below 200 meters.

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There are four major oceanic zones where plants and animals live in the ocean. These four major oceanic zones are intertidal zone, neritic zone, open ocean zone and benthic zone. These zones are said to have the biggest ecosystem on Earth. Let’s have a brief look at these zones.

Intertidal zone:

This is the area between high tide and low tide and it bridges the gap between land and water. Its examples include mangrove swamps, tide pools, estuaries and rocky coastal areas.

Neritic Zone:

This zone includes the water which is above the continental shelf. This zone includes underwater forest of kelp, grassy meadows, and even coral reefs which are the home to thousands of animals and plants.

Open Ocean Zone:

This zone lies beyond the continental slope and often contains 65% of water of the oceans. This zone is further divided into three zones

  • The sunlit zone where photosynthesis occurs and most of the animals and plants live in this zone.
  • The  twilight zone which is extended to a depth of 3000 ft. Giant squid and Nautilus resides in this area.
  • The midnight zone which extends from 3000 ft to the sea floor. Animals that inhibit this zone are Giant squid, Hatchetfish, Bioluminescent Jellyfish, etc.

Benthic Zone:

This area includes the entire sea floor. About 2 lac species of plants and animals live here that does not require sunlight. They live on the continental shelf and continental slope.

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