Amphipods (upper left two photos), ophiuroids (brittle stars; middle bottom), holothurians (sea cucumbers; right middle), and polychaetes (annelid worms; all other photos) are some examples of species which are associated with sediments in this realm of our planet.  Expanded branchiae (center top) provide oxygen to this polychaete's circulatory system (Family Trichobranchidae).

Incredible diversity lies in small animals which live in and on the sediment. Amphipods (upper left two photos), ophiuroids (brittle stars; middle bottom), holothurians (sea cucumbers; right middle), and polychaetes (annelid worms; all other photos) are examples of species associated with sediments in this realm of our planet. Expanded branchiae (top, center) provide oxygen to this polychaete’s circulatory system (family Trichobranchidae). Jaws are used by some species to eat smaller organisms, but a species of polychaete (center) (family Dorvilleidae) uses its black jaws to consume bacteria in the deep sea. Photo courtesy of CRROCKS/NSF.

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