Deep Sea Fish Adaptions

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The discoverer of the titanic, Dr Robert Ballard famously referred to the deep sea as ‘far more alien than going to mars or the moon.’ The deep sea is one of the largest virtually unexplored ecosystems on the planet; it is found at a depth of 1000 fathoms [1] and is subject to adverse changes in temperature, pressure and light penetration amongst other factors. Therefore as expected fish decrease in abundance, and species diversity. This trend is prominent as in order to survive the harsh conditions of the deep sea, fish need a number of specific adaptations. Allowing them to ultimately survive, feed, and reproduce.

The deep sea is one of the most hostile environments in the world, which a living organism is subjected to. As you progress from the surface (the epipelagic zone) through to the abyssopelagic zone near the basin of the ocean; the environmental characteristics begin to alter dramatically. Light, pressure, oxygen, temperature and food are abiotic factors that have all led to the fascinating adaptations of deep sea life. Pressure alone increases by 1 atmosphere for each 10m in depth which is an astonishing rate. The deep sea temperature remains between 2-4°c, which is just another factor inhabitants must overcome in order to survive, along with a reduced quantity and accessibility of essential factor’s like ;oxygen, food and light[3].

From the surface to its deepest depth the ocean is 11km deep, and with this distance comes a vast change in physiological feature of fish as they try to survive the changing conditions.

The bottom of the deep sea exists in darkness as little light penetrates through the surface. Therefore most inhabitants have to rely on their senses to survive. The fish require light to survive; they ...

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... any environment but in the deep sea the fish have had to evolve immensely just to survive.

Works Cited









[9] Deep sea and extreme shallow water habitats: affinities and adaptions by Franz Uiblein, Jorg Ott and Michael Stacowitsh 1996


[11] Adapted from


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