In this world of mine, through a mysterious phenomenon called magick(tm) a God made it so all the salt in the world is either in a few location, alpine salt lakes or at the very bottom of the ocean. And I mean that literally, all the salt in the sea collects at the seafloor, though this phenomenon only happens after 20 meters of depth. This has incredibly ramifications for agriculture and salt acquisition, but how would it affect benthic organisms, as in how would they evolve? What about living in literal salt would shape their biology?

  • $\begingroup$ Given the vast diversity of benthic organisms how do you expect this question to have a singular specific answer, as is required on this site. If all the world's salt is below depths of 20m how does this impact anything that needs salt for biological functioning above depths of 20m? How does the concentration of salt vary below 20m of depth? How much salt is their in your world? How large is your world? How much of your world is covered in water? How much of your world is at depths below 20m? $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Jan 4 at 2:43
  • $\begingroup$ When all salt collects at the sea floor, that must mean the salt ist not soluble in water. When its not soluble, the organisms should be able to handle it like they handle sand..? $\endgroup$
    – LazyLizard
    Jan 4 at 13:23
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not going to VTC:Needs More Focus because I suspect "how would they evolve" and "what about living in ... salt would shape their biology?" are very likely asking the same question (i.e., "what would they evolve into?") However, @AShatteredDay, what makes you think they'd change at all other than to develop either (a) a better filtration for salt or (b) a higher tolerance for it? Asked another way, why is this question important to you (especially knowing that humanity barely understands the basics of evolution and guessing how something would evolve is a bit off-topic)? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jan 17 at 17:58

1 Answer 1


The adaptations required to live in a saline environment are quite significant, and are considerably different to the adaptations required for living in fresh water. Of course, it depends upon where the organisms evolve. It is thought that life on Earth evolved in seas that were about a quarter as salty as modern seas, which has dictated the solute concentrations within all creatures' cells ever since.

On Earth, creatures living in salty seas must have mechanisms for excreting excess salt, while creatures living in fresh water must have mechanisms to retain salts and excreting excess water, since the principle of osmosis means that water will move to attempt to dilute higher concentrations of solutes, while solutes in higher concentrations will try to move to areas of lower concentration.

So, on this world, it will depend very heavily on where life evolves. If it evolves in the deep sea salt zones or alpine lakes, such life would be salt-tolerant, and would need mechanisms to retain solutes and eject excess water in low-salt environments. Organisms that failed to do so would die as they lost solutes and swelled up with excess water until their cells popped.

However, the lower energy levels available in such places would mean that life would be more likely to evolve in the warm, sunlit low-salt watery environments, so any life that made its way to a high-salt environment would need to be able to retain the water that would be trying to leave their bodies, and eject the excess salts that would be trying to enter. Organisms that failed to do so would shrivel up and die as their solute levels climbed and their water levels decreased.

Have a look at this article.


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