nektobenthic animals

Chris Finelli finelli at
Wed Mar 2 09:43:06 EST 1994

ccarr at (Constance F Carr) writes:

>Mark (Gerald) Wright (pbs1 at wrote:
>: Isn't a nektobenthic animal a sort of large planktonic animal that lives in 
>: the benthos? just a guess!
>: Cheers, MGW
>Thaks for your response!
>Hmmmm.... what I'm trying to do is put together a community structure for
>the Burgess Shale -- on a very basic level anyway.
>As I understand it, pelagic organisms live on or near the surface, infauna
>live under the sediment, epifauna live on the sediment, and I would guess
>that nektobenthic animals live somewhere between the sediment andthe
>surface.  Like a big fish, for example.  Which would sort of fit with what
>you say.
>Can anyone confirm this?

To tell the truth, I've never heard the term "nektobenthic".  As I understand
it there are two basic divisions in marine systems.  Benthic and pelagic.

Benthic being those organisms living on or in the substrate. Epi- and in-faunal
being further divisions of benthic.  

Pelagic being those organisms living in the water column.  Plankton are 
organisms too small to maintain their (horizontal) position in the water
column.  Nekton refering to organisms able to move against ambient water
currents.  Big fish are generally lumped in with the nekton.  

Unfortunately I missed the beginning of this thread, so I'm not sure where
the term nektobenthic comes from.  Since the term nekton refers to more than
the physical location of the organism (it implies the ability to move against
currents), nektobenthic probably refers to an organism, such as a blue crab or
flounder, which lives in the benthic community and can move against ambient 
water flow.  Other organisms, such as bottom feeding fish, might be included
in such a group if they are generally considered part of the nekton, but 
interact regularly with the benthic community.

Hope I didn't add to the confusion.

Chris Finelli (Internet: finelli at (803) 777-3943
Marine Science Program, University of South Carolina, Columbia SC 29208

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