|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|
|[C17: from Latin pelagicus, from pelagus, from Greek pelagos sea]|
|pelagic (pə-lāj'ĭk) Pronunciation Key
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.