The ecological regions into which the oceans are divided horizontally and vertically. Open water comprises the pelagic zone, the water adjacent to the ocean floor the benthic zone. Shallow water close to the shore comprises the littoral zone and open water overlying the continental shelf the neritic zone. The oceanic zone includes all other open water. Pelagic waters are divided according to depth into the epipelagic, mesopelagic, bathypelagic, abyssalpelagic, and hadalpelagic zones. The benthic regions are divided by depth into the bathyal, abyssal, and hadal zones.
Subjects: Ecology and Conservation.