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pelagic

[puh-laj-ik] /pəˈlædʒ ɪk/
adjective
1.
of or pertaining to the open seas or oceans.
2.
living or growing at or near the surface of the ocean, far from land, as certain organisms.
Compare neritic, oceanic.
Origin
1650-1660
1650-60; < Latin pelagicus < Greek pelagikós, equivalent to pélag(os) the sea + -ikos -ic
Related forms
nonpelagic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for pelagic
  • And sharks that range across the open ocean, known as oceanic or pelagic sharks, have been an even bigger mystery.
  • But research had yet to probe the extent to which human-made noise might be affecting other pelagic species.
  • Model for the adaptive radiations and extinctions of pelagic marine mammals.
  • pelagic species such as marlin, sailfish and sharks are drawn to the area to feed and mate.
  • The outer line of the reef offers the same, plus the opportunity to see big pelagic fish, such as mackerel and open-ocean sharks.
  • pelagic treasures can be seen without even getting your hair wet.
  • Then point out to students that the top three zones together are called the pelagic zone, or open ocean.
  • Most of this food comes from the remains of plants and animals drifting down from upper pelagic zones.
British Dictionary definitions for pelagic

pelagic

/pɛˈlædʒɪk/
adjective
1.
of or relating to the open sea: pelagic whaling
2.
(of marine life) living or occurring in the upper waters of open sea
3.
(of geological formations) derived from material that has fallen to the bottom from the upper waters of the sea
Word Origin
C17: from Latin pelagicus, from pelagus, from Greek pelagos sea
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pelagic
adj.

"pertaining to the sea," 1650s, from Latin pelagicus, from Greek pelagikos, from pelagos "sea, high sea, open sea, main," from PIE *pelag- "to spread out" (cf. Greek plagos "side," Latin plaga "hunting net, curtain, region"), possibly from root *plak- (1) "to spread out, be flat" (see placenta).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pelagic in Science
pelagic
  (pə-lāj'ĭk)   
Relating to or living in or on oceanic waters. The pelagic zone of the ocean begins at the low tide mark and includes the entire oceanic water column. The pelagic ecosystem is largely dependent on the phytoplankton inhabiting the upper, sunlit regions, where most ocean organisms live. Biodiversity decreases sharply in the unlit zones where water pressure is high, temperatures are cold, and food sources scarce. Pelagic waters are divided, in descending order, into the epipelagic, mesopelagic, bathypelagic, abyssopelagic, and hadopelagic zones.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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