- of or relating to the open seas or oceans.
- living or growing at or near the surface of the ocean, far from land, as certain organisms.
Origin of pelagic
Examples from the Web for pelagic
The fishes of this family are all pelagic, and most of them are highly valued for food.Bass, Pike, Perch, and Others
James Alexander Henshall
In their morphological characters they gradually approach the pelagic forms upwards and the abyssal downwards.
These birds are the most pelagic of all, and only visit the land to breed.Among the Birds in Northern Shires
This species differs from the Pelagic chiefly in having the forehead bare.The Bird Book
Chester A. Reed
As they are pelagic, the shells are not readily to be obtained.Sea-Weeds, Shells and Fossils
- of or relating to the open seapelagic whaling
- (of marine life) living or occurring in the upper waters of open sea
- (of geological formations) derived from material that has fallen to the bottom from the upper waters of the sea
Word Origin and History for pelagic
"pertaining to the sea," 1650s, from Latin pelagicus, from Greek pelagikos, from pelagos "sea, high sea, open sea, main," from PIE *pelag- "to spread out" (cf. Greek plagos "side," Latin plaga "hunting net, curtain, region"), possibly from root *plak- (1) "to spread out, be flat" (see placenta).
- Relating to or living in or on oceanic waters. The pelagic zone of the ocean begins at the low tide mark and includes the entire oceanic water column. The pelagic ecosystem is largely dependent on the phytoplankton inhabiting the upper, sunlit regions, where most ocean organisms live. Biodiversity decreases sharply in the unlit zones where water pressure is high, temperatures are cold, and food sources scarce. Pelagic waters are divided, in descending order, into the epipelagic, mesopelagic, bathypelagic, abyssopelagic, and hadopelagic zones.