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The Abyssal Zone and Its Animals

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Mayim Lehrich

on 2 June 2014

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Transcript of The Abyssal Zone and Its Animals

Where in the Ocean?
The Abyssal zone is found 2000-6000 meters below sea level where no light reaches.
Due to the fact that this zone is so deep, the pressure is very high making it hard for humans to explore.
This zone is the deepest part of the ocean and is present in all oceans around the world that reach a depth of 2000 meters.
Animals in the Abyssal Zone
Since the Abyssal zone is so deep...is there life down there? The answer is yes.
Animals in this zone include anglerfish, deep sea jellyfish, deep sea shrimp, cookiecutter shark, tripod fish, and abyssal octopus also known as the dumbo octopus.
The animals that live in this zone will eat anything since food is very scarce this deep down in the ocean.

Annual Atmospheric changes:
Since this zone is so deep it is always cold. The temperature ranges from 35-37°F
It is always dark since no light reaches that deep in the ocean, so day and night are the same
There is no change of seasons since the temperature and lack of light are always the same.
Due to the water pressure being so high in this zone, underwater geysers shoot warm mineral water from the ocean floor.

The Abyssal Zone and Its Animals
By completing this activity I learned about the Abyssal zone and what kind of life can exist deep down in the bottom of the ocean.
Where it is Located
The bottom of the ocean
Dumbo Octopus
Cookiecutter Shark
Because the Abyssal zone is the bottom of the ocean, no light reaches down there making it impossible for there to be plant life down there.
There is also a lack of oxygen making photosynthesis impossible.
It is to cold and deep with no nutrients for the plants.

What it looks like

There are no plants; just rocks and animals.
About the Dumbo Octopus:
The Dumbo Octopus
The dumbo octopus comes from the genus and species Grimpoteuthis. It is a unique species found only in the Abyssal zone. This animal is very small, only about eight inches at most and weighing only about 10 pounds. The body of this octopus is not like a normal octopus it has webbed tentacles which help them to float like a parachute and suction to help them stick to the ocean floor. These octopi are usually a light orange with large eyes and have large ear-like fins coming from the top of their heads, like the Disney character "Dumbo," which is where this octopus got its name. Many deep sea creatures are scary-looking, but the dumbo octopus is rather cute. Here is a video, where it can be seen flapping its ear-like fins, looking like Dumbo:
What it Eats
Since there are no plants in the abyssal part of the ocean the dumbo octopus feeds on other deep sea marine life such as copepods, isopods, and bristle worms. However, they have large vents allowing them to inhale anything they can.
Mating Ritual/ Reproductive Cycle
The dumbo octopus has a special kind of mating that can happen any time of year. In order to mate the male octopus carries sperm through a protuberance on their arm. The female can then lay the eggs under small rocks or shells deep down in the bottom of the ocean. This process occurs at all times during the year.
The dumbo octopus's niche is that it is a predator to many other animals. It will eat other marine life since there are no plants deep in the bottom of the ocean where it lives. To protect itself, this octopus sprays ink like most octopi, which blinds the organism trying to attack it.
Life span
The average life span of a dumbo octopus is about 3 years. The males usually die shortly after mating and the females after laying and caring for their eggs
1. The dumbo octopus lives deeper than any other species of octopus.

2. Not that much is known about the dumbo octopus including whether it is endangered, because it lives so deep.
Two Fantastic Facts:
And the Cookiecutter Shark
About the Cookiecutter Shark:
The cookiecutter shark comes from the genus Isistius and the species Brasiliensis. Like the dumbo octopus this shark lives in the Abyssal zone. This shark is one of the smallest sharks on the planet, only reaching 20 inches long. It has a round, brown body that gets lighter towards its stomach. This shark is known for its small but mighty mouth with crazy sharp teeth. The fins on this shark are close to its body but help to propel them from the bottom of the ocean all the way to the surface.
What it Eats
The cookiecutter shark eats other marine life such as tunas, large squids, and seals. Unlike the dumbo octopus, the cookiecutter shark leaves the bottom of the ocean at night and goes closer to the surface to catch its prey. This shark uses its very sharp teeth to kill and devour its prey in one bite. Its sharp teeth are where it gets its name because of the cookie cutter indentations it leaves on its prey.
Life Span
The life span of a cookiecutter shark is about 25 years however not much else is known about their lifespan.
Mating Ritual/ Reproduction Cycle:
The cookiecutter shark has a mating ritual similar to humans, meaning the female carries the eggs in her uterus until they are ready to hatch. The male fertilizes these eggs before they hatch.
A niche of the cookiecutter shark is its cookie cutter-like teeth that allow it to use suction to suck up its prey and then devour it.
1. The cookiecutter shark is also known as the Cigar Shark for its brown, round body.

2. The first known cookiecutter shark bite of a human happened off the coast of Hawaii in 2011. This is unusual because this shark only surfaces at night to find food.
Both the Cookie Cutter Shark and the Dumbo Octopus are not endangered species. They are both thriving and well populated.
Human Impact
Since the Abyssal zone is the bottom of the ocean, it is too far down to have an impact on humans, and we do not do anything to have an impact on it. It is too deep for humans to explore, so we cannot cause it any harm. Similarly, the dumbo octopus lives too deep in the ocean for us to cause it any harm. However, the cookiecutter shark is a threat to humans because it swims closer to the surface and will eat any type of animal thereby taking food from humans.
Scientific Method
: Because the temperature, light, and pressure at the bottom of the ocean are constant, the scientific method can be used to conduct experiments about how the animals in the Abyssal Zone interact with their environment.
: The Abyssal Zone is part of an aquatic ecosystem deep down in the ocean. It is an unusual ecosystem because there are deep sea animals but no plant life.
: In order to maintain homeostasis, the plants and animals in the ecosystem must all work together to make sure everything runs smoothly in their ecosystem.
Symbiotic Relationship
: A symbiotic relationship exists when two organisms live together. In the Abyssal zone, symbiotic relationships between the different species help the animals survive because there is no plant life.
: Geonotypes and phenotypes are the genes and traits of a species. Because the Abyssal zone is so deep, animals must have certain genotypes and phenotypes in order to live and adapt to this life zone.

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Mayim Lehrich
Honors Biology
Period 2

Underwater Geyser
Natural Selection
: In the Abyssal Zone, natural selection is important to the survival of any organism living down there, meaning the animals must have specific traits to survive in this rough environment.
Photosynthesis/Cellular Respiration
: Since there are no plants as deep as the Abyssal zone, photosynthesis cannot occur. However, cellular respiration still happens to the deep sea marine life because cellular respiration is a process that happens to all living things.
: All organisms in the Abyssal zone of the ocean have cells that contain proteins, carbs, and lipids. These nutrients are also found in all of the food (the organisms down there), which they eat.
: All organisms have their own genetic code, including the dumbo octopus and the cookiecutter shark.
Hardy-Weinberg Law
: The Hardy-Weinberg Law states that change happens slowly over time, if at all, and traits are passed from generation to generation. As evidence of this theory, life remains pretty constant in the Abyssal zone.
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