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Defining "Deep sea"

Peter Herring pjhe at soc.soton.ac.uk
Tue Aug 10 07:41:20 EST 2004

For my book The Biology of the Deep Ocean (OUP) I took  "deep ocean" to
refer to any bit of the ocean where the bottom depth was greater than 200m.
Thus it included everything from the surface to the sea floor except over
the continental shelves. This is very convenient for descriptive and
discussion purposes and makes particular sense when dealing with the
pelagic fauna, many of which come and go to and from the upper 200m. 

I don't believe there is a "standard" definition, and I don't think any
reader will quibble with whatever view you take, as long as it is not too

Best regards,

Peter Herring 

At 16:23 02/08/04 +0100, Brad Buran wrote:
>Dear colleagues,
>I am currently preparing a manuscript that examines the structure of the
>inner ears in several deep-sea species.  In the introduction, I am
>attempting to define, or at least describe, what the deep sea is (as
>contrasted with shallower waters). Since this manuscript is for a
>general morphology journal rather than an oceanography journal, I feel
>that it is essential to give the readers some background on the deep
>Older books appear to define the deep sea as anything below 1,000 m
>beneath the surface.  However, at several recent conferences I have been
>at, people appear to refer to shallower depths (such as 250 m) as the
>deep sea.  Is anyone aware of a standard definition or a conventional
>description that is used by deep sea researchers?
>Thank you for your time,
>Bradley Buran

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