Coastal Benthic Environments

The benthic zone is the ecological region at the lowest level of a body of water, for example, an ocean, lake, or stream, including the sediment surface and some sub-surface layers. Creatures living in this zone are called benthos and include microorganisms (e.g., microscopic organisms and growths) as well as larger invertebrates, such as crustaceans and polychaetes. Creatures here generally live in close association with the substrate and many are permanently attached to the base.

As the benthic system controls energy in the aquatic ecosystems, considers have been made of the mechanisms of the benthic zone to a better understanding of the ecosystem. Initial research is being made on benthic gatherings to see whether they can be utilized as markers of healthy aquatic ecosystems. Benthic gatherings in urbanized coastal regions are not practically comparable to benthic accumulations in untouched areas.