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Deep Ocean

Deep ocean ecosystems are where the sea is deeper than 50m and the water regimes are determined primarily by the ebb and flow of oceanic tides (waves and currents).



Marine Ecosystems


What ecosystem functions do deep oceans perform?


From the surface deep oceans appear to be deserts of dark blue void of life.

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Table 1 below presents the relative magnitude deep oceans perform different ecosystem functions (relative to other ecosystems) in SEQ.


Table 1:The relative magnitude (to other Ecosystem Reporting Categories) deep oceans perform each ecosystem function.

Ecosystem Function Category Ecosystem Function 0
Regulating Functions
Gas Regulation            
Climate Regulation            
Disturbance Regulation            
Water Regulation            
Soil Retention            
Nutrient Regulation            
Waste Treatment and Assimilation            
Biological Control            
Barrier Effect of Vegetation            
Supporting Functions
Supporting Habitats            
Soil Formation            
Provisioning Functions
Raw Materials            
Water Supply            
Genetic Resources            
Provision of Shade and Shelter            
Pharmacological Resources            
Cultural Functions
Landscape Opportunity            


What is the area and extent of deep ocean in SEQ?

Deep Ocean ecosystems cover approximately 6 602 km2 of SEQ. The map shows deep ocean follows the eastern boundary of SEQ at various distances from the coastline. Distances range from 3 to 22km from the coastline. A large area of shallow waters (less than 50m) can be found off the northern coastline providing some insight into past landscapes. The deep water eastern boundary represents the old SEQ coastline.


What is the vulnerability of deep ocean and threats to this ecosystem in SEQ?


Many large marine species require deep ocean habitat for feeding and/or breeding.

Links to other publications and websites

Deep Australia Project
Australian Antarctic Division


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How do we manage deep oceans in SEQ?


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