Silvana Birchenough Chair of the the Benthos Ecology Working Group (BEWG) and the Steering Group on Ecosystem Processes and Dynamics (SSGEDP)
'The concept of 'benthos is used to refer to organisms or a community of organisms that live on, in, or near the seabed, also known as the benthic zone. Depending on their size, they can be classified into macrobenthos (greater than 1 mm), meiobenthos (less than 1 mm but greater than 0.1 mm) or microbenthos (less than 0.1 mm). There are also different types that can be classified into zoobenthos (all benthic organisms) and phytobenthos (including benthic diatoms and macroalgae or seaweed).
Benthic organisms are important, as they play a key role in marine ecosystems, helping to deliver many ecosystem goods and services, ranging from biodiversity, remineralization of nutrients, long-term carbon storage and provision of food for high trophic levels. These are just some main activities fueled by the benthic system. There are many more.'