The oceans, with a mean depth of 3,729 m and extending to a maximum depth of 11 km comprise the largest habitat on earth. The distribution of living organisms in this vast environment is far from uniform and description of this variation in space and time is challenging, both from the point of view of sampling and of statistical analysis. Most life in the oceans is dependent on primary production in the surface layers, generally in the epipelagic zone down to a depth of 200 m, where there is sufficient solar radiation to sustain photosynthesis. Microscopic algae or phytoplankton containing the pigment chlorophyll intercept solar light and use the energy to combine CO2 and water to produce simple sugars polysaccharides, oils, proteins, and all the other constituents of the living organism. The algae and phytoplankton are either consumed by planktonic animals or dies loses buoyancy and becomes part of the downward stream of particulate organic matter (POC) falling towards the sea floor. The primary consumers themselves produce faecal pellets that enhance the POC flux and also form the basis of the food chain in the surface layers of the oceans. Predators living at greater depths also ascend at night to feed on the surface riches and then descend during the day digesting and excreting as they go. Thus, surface-derived production is exported downwards by passive and active processes sustaining life throughout the water column down to the abyssal sea floor.
- Depth Gradient
- Smoothing Curve
- Depth Relationship
- Spatial Correlation Structure
- Additive Mixed Model
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