benthos

[ben-thos]
noun
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:
1890–95; < Greek bénthos depth (of the sea); akin to bathos, bathy-

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World English Dictionary
benthos or benthon (ˈbɛnθɒs)
 
n
1.  the animals and plants living at the bottom of a sea or lake
2.  the bottom of a sea or lake
 
[C19: from Greek: depth; related to bathus deep]
 
benthon or benthon
 
n
 
[C19: from Greek: depth; related to bathus deep]
 
'benthic or benthon
 
adj
 
'benthal or benthon
 
adj
 
ben'thonic or benthon
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

benthos
"life forms of the deep ocean and sea floor," 1891, coined by Haeckel from Gk. benthos "depth of the sea," related to bathos "depth," bathys "deep." Adjective benthic is attested from 1902.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
benthos  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (běn'thŏs')  Pronunciation Key 
  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 Britannica
Encyclopedia

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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The animals that live on the bottom or in the sediments are called benthos.
Some zooplankton live their whole life as plankton, while others change to become nekton and benthos.
The animals and plants that live on or in the bottom are known as the benthos.
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