- the biogeographic region that includes the bottom of a lake, sea, or ocean, and the littoral and supralittoral zones of the shore.
Origin of benthos
Also called benthic division, benthonic zone.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- the animals and plants living at the bottom of a sea or lake
- the bottom of a sea or lake
Word Origin for benthos
C19: from Greek: depth; related to bathus deep
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
"life forms of the deep ocean and sea floor," 1891, coined by Haeckel from Greek benthos "depth of the sea," related to bathos "depth," bathys "deep," of unknown origin. Adjective benthic is attested from 1902.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- The bottom of a sea or lake.
- The organisms living on sea or lake bottoms. The benthos are divided into sessile organisms (those that are attached to the bottom or to objects on or near the bottom) and vagrant organisms (those that crawl or swim along the bottom). Compare nekton plankton. See more at epifauna infauna.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.