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Definition

Marine Zone: are divisions of the ocean. Oceanographers divide the ocean into two basic parts; the pelagic or open ocean, and the benthic or sea floor. The pelagic is divided into five broad zones according to how far down sunlight penetrates:

Hawaiian Translation: Kai

Note:  The word kai refers to the ocean and all its parts. Unlike the science point of view where the divisions of the ocean are due to the penetration of light, the Hawaiians division of the ocean depended on the life forms in the depths of the ocean.

As an example:

  1. Kai Hele Ku- water in which one could stand
  2. Kai O Kilo He‘e- swimming deep or for spearing squid
  3. Kai He‘e Nalu- surfing region
  4. Kai Opelu- sea of the opelu
  5. Kai I Aku- sea for trolling aku
  6. Kai Kohola-deep sea where the whales or monsters of the sea dwell
  7. Moana- the deep ocean
  8. Kahiki Moe- the utmost bounds of the ocean


Source: Hawaiian Antiquities by David Malo; pgs.25 &26.


Example

water zones

Source: Museum of Science http://www.mos.org/oceans/life/index.html

The pelagic zone includes those waters further from the land, basically the open ocean. The pelagic zone is generally cold though it is hard to give a general temperature range since, just like ponds and lakes, there is thermal stratification with a constant mixing of warm and cold ocean currents. The flora in the pelagic zone includes surface seaweeds. The fauna include many species of fish and some mammals, such as whales and dolphins. Many feed on the abundant plankton.

The benthic zone is the area below the pelagic zone, but does not include the very deepest parts of the ocean (see abyssal zone below). The bottom of the zone consists of sand, slit, and/or dead organisms. Here temperature decreases as depth increases toward the abyssal zone, since light cannot penetrate through the deeper water. Flora are represented primarily by seaweed while the fauna, since it is very nutrient-rich, include all sorts of bacteria, fungi, sponges, sea anemones, worms, sea stars, and fishes.

Source: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/exhibits/biomes/marine.php


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