nekton

[nek-ton, -tuhn]
noun
the aggregate of actively swimming aquatic organisms in a body of water, able to move independently of water currents.

Origin:
1890–95; < German, noun use of neuter of nēktós swimming (verbid of nḗchein to swim; see nectopod)

nektonic, adjective
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World English Dictionary
nekton (ˈnɛktɒn)
 
n
Compare plankton the population of free-swimming animals that inhabits the middle depths of a sea or lake
 
[C19: via German from Greek nēkton a swimming thing, from nēkhein to swim]
 
nek'tonic
 
adj

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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
nekton  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (něk'tən, -tŏn')  Pronunciation Key 
The collection of marine and freshwater organisms that can swim freely and are generally independent of currents, ranging in size from microscopic organisms to whales. Compare benthos, plankton.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

nekton

the assemblage of pelagic animals that swim freely, independent of water motion or wind. Only three phyla are represented by adult forms. Chordate nekton include numerous species of bony fishes, the cartilaginous fishes such as the sharks, several species of reptiles (turtles, snakes, and saltwater crocodiles), and mammals such as the whales, porpoises, and seals. Molluscan nekton include the squids and octopods. The only arthropod nekton are decapods, including shrimps, crabs, and lobsters.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Nekton are fast-moving organisms ranging from small shrimp and fish to whales.
Some zooplankton live their whole life as plankton, while others change to
  become nekton and benthos.
Nekton community composition, as well as the density and length of individuals,
  are recorded at each sampling location.
Pelagic organisms are further divided into plankton and nekton.
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