What Does Pelagic Mean? What is a Pelagic Bird?

by Robert Cheney

in Ocean

Pelagic is a  term that refers to a part of the sea or ocean, that is not near the shore nor near the bottom. Water in this area is said to be in the pelagic zone. Water at the bottom of the sea and within the tidal zone of a shoreline is not in the pelagic zone. Think of bowl of ice cream. Now, scoop out all of the ice cream except for a small layer covering the entire bowl. The ice cream you scooped out would be, technically, in the pelagic zone.

Why is it necessary to label a water area pelagic?
Well, an entire ecosystem resides in the pelagic zone and has little interaction with either the deep water or shoreline systems.

Pelagic Zone

Pelagic Zone (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

Pelagic FAQ

What is a pelagic bird?
These are birds like Albatrosses, Petrels & Puffins that live on the open sea as opposed to living inland or near water. These birds might come ashore only to mate and then it’s back out to sea for them.

What is a pelagic animal?
These are animals that are neither bottom feeders, coral reef inhabitants or animals that live near land. Plankton feeders like blue whales, whale sharks & sea turtles are examples of ocean animals that roam the mid-level waters. Herring, & sardines are pelagic foragers as well.

What are other pelagic organisms?
Plankton are by definition, drifting organisms that reside in the pelagic zone. They include jellyfish, algae, seaweed, tiny protozoa and even newly hatched fish larvae.

What are some organisms that aren’t pelagic?
Sharks, sperm whales, coral reef inhabitants, deep sea critters, land animals, shorebirds like seagulls are a few examples.

Does pelagic refer just to bodies of water?
There are pelagic animals and plants that reside in the pelagic zone so yes it does refer to bodies of water like oceans and lakes.

What is pelagic sediment?
When microscopic plankton dies, it’s bony structure settles to the bottom of the ocean. Dirt from land, volcanic ash  and even trace amounts of space dust makes up this sediment or ooze, as it’s also called. There are three main types of pelagic sediments: siliceous oozes, calcareous oozes, and red clays.

How many pelagic zones are there?
5: Epipelagic, Mesopelagic, Bathyalpelagic, Abyssopelagic, Hadopelagic

What is pelagic apparel?
It is a type of outerwear primarily worn by a subset of human beings called  Sport Fishermen. Sport fishermen are primarily land creatures who venture into the pelagic zone (armed only with 10 foot poles with a nylon string attached) on most any occasion they see fit, to engage in an epic battle of wits with predatory fish like tuna and marlin. Utterly Fascinating!

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