Habitat Details

Details of Deep Ocean will be displayed below

Deep Ocean

The deep ocean begins where the continental shelves and their shallow waters give way to the dark depths where little or no sunlight penetrates. Here, in the layer underneath the sunlit open oceans, live some of the most bizarre and highly adapted creatures on the planet. With no plants or algae here to photosynthesize and form the base of the food chain, life here is largely dependent on the dead material and droppings that sink down from above.

Deep Ocean description

The deep ocean begins where the continental shelves and their shallow waters give way to the dark depths where little or no sunlight penetrates. Here, in the layer underneath the sunlit open oceans, live some of the most bizarre and highly adapted creatures on the planet. With no plants or algae here to photosynthesize and form the base of the food chain, life here is largely dependent on the dead material and droppings that sink down from above.

Why Deep Ocean matters

Despite being largely unknown, the deep sea is nevertheless extremely important.
Intrinsic value: Every expedition to the depths results in new species being found. Sometimes entire new ecosystems are discovered, such as around hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. An entire new domain of life has even been found in the depths: Archaea, an ancient form of life most closely related to the first life on Earth. And all this with only 1% of the deep ocean floor so far explored.

Scientific value: The specialized adaptations of deep-sea organisms are not just interesting for interest’s sake: an understanding of their biochemistry could also lead to biochemical, medical, and other advances.

Fisheries: 40% of the world’s fishing grounds are now in waters deeper than 200m.

Threats to Deep Ocean

A number of human activities threaten the deep sea:
Destructive fishing practices: Bottom trawling is currently the greatest threat to deep-sea biodiversity. First introduced in the 1980s, rockhopper trawls fitted with large rubber tires or rollers allow bottom trawling on virtually all of the ocean floor down to a depth of 2,000m.
These trawls - whose use is now widespread - crush everything in their path. 
These and other deep-sea trawlers also kill a large amount of unwanted deep-sea life as bycatch.

Overfishing: Deep-sea species are generally extremely slow growing and do not reach sexual maturity for many years. Some commercial deep-sea fish also congregate in large numbers around seamounts to feed and spawn. And many deep-sea fisheries are located on the High Seas where there is often little or no regulation. These factors make deep-sea fish extremely vulnerable to overfishing. Newly fished populations of deep-sea species like Patagonian toothfish and orange roughy, for example, have been fished to commercial extinction in just a few years. At present most deep-water species are likely to be over-exploited - and as many as 40% of the world’s fishing grounds are now in waters deeper than 200m.

However, such fishing methods are prohibited and not been practiced here in the Maldives.

Oil, gas, and mineral exploration: At present, most oceanic reserves of oil, gas, and minerals are extracted from the continental shelf, under shallow coastal waters. However, with valuable reserves also located under the deep ocean floor, the oil and mining industries are expected to venture further afield, and eventually explore down to 3,000m. Such activity could have devastating effects on fragile, slow growing deep-sea communities. Maldives with no exception is planning to move mine gas and fuel which could result in affects to deep sea life.