neritic zone

Main Entry:  neritic zone
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  the shallow waters of the ocean from the littoral zone to the edge of the continental shelf; also, the shallow waters of a lake that border the land
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neritic zone

shallow marine environment extending from mean low water down to 200-metre (660-foot) depths, generally corresponding to the continental shelf. Neritic waters are penetrated by varying amounts of sunlight, which permits photosynthesis by both planktonic and bottom-dwelling organisms. The zone is characterized by relatively abundant nutrients and biologic activity because of its proximity to land. Coarse, land-derived materials generally constitute the bottom sediments, except in some low-latitude regions that favour production of calcium carbonate sediments by such organisms as algae, bacteria, and corals.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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