A History of Research in the Bathypelagic Realm: Earth's Largest Habitat

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Tracey Sutton

Second Advisor

Jon Moore


The bathypelagic realm (midwaters deeper than 1000 m) constitutes approximately 78% of the entire World Ocean’s volume, making this the largest living space on the planet. Due to the expense and difficulty of accessing this environment, the bathypelagic zone remains a largely unexplored frontier. Current and future anthropogenic threats accentuate the need for additional data and improved knowledge of this habitat. Characteristic fauna and environmental conditions are described from the surface layers to the great depths of the World Ocean. Sampling programs emphasizing the bathypelagic realm are reviewed beginning with the Challenger Expedition of the late 19th century to current sampling programs in the Gulf of Mexico pursuant to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster of 2010.

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