Paleonet: bathyal et al.

Phil Novack-Gottshall pnovackg at
Fri Nov 2 14:24:25 GMT 2007

Dear Chris and others:

Recognizing that definitions are "generally accepted" and in some 
senses artificial or downright wrong, I offer the following from <The 
Cambridge Illustrated Dictionary of Natural History> (by R.J. Lincoln 
and G.A. Boxshall, 1987-1990), who define their depths according to 
the following:
Neritic: No depth zonation; shallow waters over continental shelf
Bathyal: 200m-4000m
Abyssal: 4000-6000m (defined by lack of light penetration)

I don't know the basis for their definitions, but have found this 
dictionary (and their associated Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution, 
and Systematics) very useful as a general resource.

I've attached their figure as a pdf.  Assuming a high likelihood that 
it will be cleaved by the Paleonet server from delivery, feel free to 
contact me personally for the figure.

Sorry for the delay in responding or if this has been redundant with 
other postings.


>>There appears to be no consistent definition of the terms neritic, 
>>bathyal and abyssal, when applied to seafloor or water depths. In a 
>>brief literature survey I've seen the upper limit of the abyssal 
>>zone cited in geological literature as 2000m and 3000m , and by 
>>biologists as 4000m !  Epibathyal as 200-500m, and elsewhere lower 
>>epibathyal as 500-1300m !  This is extremely confusing if trying to 
>>relate data from different publications.
>>Is there any concensus or 'official' definition of these zones ??
>>Chris King
>>Chris King
>>16A Park Road, Bridport, Dorset
>>DT6 5DA   UK
>>Phone 01308 459225
>>Email <mailto:chrking at>chrking at
>>Paleonet mailing list
>>Paleonet at

   Phil Novack-Gottshall
   Assistant Professor                            pnovackg at
   Department of Geosciences
   University of West Georgia
   Carrollton, GA 30118-3100

   Phone: 678-839-4061
   Fax: 678-839-4071
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