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benthos

[ben-thos] /ˈbɛn θɒs/
noun
1.
the biogeographic region that includes the bottom of a lake, sea, or ocean, and the littoral and supralittoral zones of the shore.
Also called benthic division, benthonic zone.
Origin
1890-1895
1890-95; < Greek bénthos depth (of the sea); akin to bathos, bathy-
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for benthic division

benthos

/ˈbɛnθɒs/
noun
1.
the animals and plants living at the bottom of a sea or lake
2.
the bottom of a sea or lake
Derived Forms
benthic, benthal, benthonic, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Greek: depth; related to bathus deep
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for benthic division

benthos

n.

"life forms of the deep ocean and sea floor," 1891, coined by Haeckel from Greek benthos "depth of the sea," related to bathos "depth," bathys "deep," of unknown origin. Adjective benthic is attested from 1902.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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benthic division in Science
benthos
  (běn'thŏs')   
  1. The bottom of a sea or lake.

  2. The organisms living on sea or lake bottoms. The benthos are divided into sessile organisms (those that are attached to the bottom or to objects on or near the bottom) and vagrant organisms (those that crawl or swim along the bottom). Compare nekton, plankton. See more at epifauna, infauna.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for benthic division

benthos

the assemblage of organisms inhabiting the seafloor. Benthic epifauna live upon the seafloor or upon bottom objects; the so-called infauna live within the sediments of the seafloor. By far the best-studied benthos are the macrobenthos, those forms larger than 1 mm (0.04 inch), which are dominated by polychaete worms, pelecypods, anthozoans, echinoderms, sponges, ascidians, and crustaceans. Meiobenthos, those organisms between 0.1 and 1 mm in size, include polychaetes, pelecypods, copepods, ostracodes, cumaceans, nematodes, turbellarians, and foraminiferans. The microbenthos, smaller than 0.1 mm, include bacteria, diatoms, ciliates, amoeba, and flagellates.

Learn more about benthos with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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