Open Access

A unifying principle in the study of life on the sea floor

  • D. J. Jones1
Helgoländer wissenschaftliche Meeresuntersuchungen24:BF01609503


1. This paper considers effects of water movement on the ecology of the sea floor and stresses the universal presence of water movement in ocean basins.

2. The modern-day zone of the sedimentary environment is delimited within the ocean basin and the interaction of water movement and sediment deposition discussed.

3. An extension of theWentworth scale of particle size analysis is proposed for use in the description of a substrate continuum based on theoretically perfect hydrologic sorting.

4. Disruptions of a perfect system of deposition in nature are indicated, but general correlations between range of water movement and grade of deposit are established.

5. Examples of physico-chemical gradients which vary with the grade of deposit and velocity of water movements are described. The colonization of these habitats by the biota is indicated.

6. It is suggested that a description of water movements in the vicinity of modern-day sediments could be correlated with the range of life forms observed in the sedimentary continuum, to form a basis for a universal classification of living systems on the ocean floor.