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  • Glossary
| Last Updated:16/03/2017

GLOSSARY

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A
aquatic

Growing, living in, or frequenting waters.

annual turnover

The rate of replacement of individual animals in a population. Birds, such as quail, may have a 70 percent turnover annually. This means that only 30 percent of the birds alive at the beginning of one year are still alive at the end of the year. The reproductive capabilities of a species will match the mortality, or turnover rate.
 

animal community

Animals of various species living within a certain habitat, each occupying a specific     position in that particular environment; directly parallel to plant communities.
 

anaerobic

An organism, like bacteria, that lives without the presence of oxygen

Age structure

is the number of individuals of each age within the population.

Aesthetic

Sensitivity to or appreciation of beauty through recognition of its unique and varied components or through its orderly appearance.
 

Age class

is a group of animals in a population with approximately the same age (i.e., fawn, yearling, adult).

aerobic

Living or occurring only in the presence of oxygen

aerate, aeration

To supply with air or oxygen; to loosen the soil to add air space to it; to supply running water with additional oxygen, as when a stream runs over falls or rapids or when wind creates waves on a lake.

adapted, adaptation

The process of making adjustments to the environment. For example, plants grow only where soil types, moisture, and sunlight are balanced to the proper degree. Desert plants have adapted so they live under intense sunlight, on poor quality soils, and with a much reduced water supply.

acid

Rain, snow, or other forms of water that are made more acid by the waste gases that come mainly from the burning of coal and oil products. The gases (usually sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen) mix with water and other materials in the air. Acid rain falls on the land and water, and can affect wildlife, plants, soil, and building materials.

abiotic

Non-living factor in an environment; for example, light, water, temperature, or rocks.

Autecology

The ecology of an organism or taxonomic group; also, the study of how organisms affects plants.

Archipelago

 Volcanically raised islands that arc near subduction zones where one continental plate rides over another

Aquaculture

 Growing and harvesting fish and shellfish in land-based ponds.

Ambient

 Prevailing natural conditions studied and recorded outside rather than indoors.

Agroforestry

Planting crops among trees

Algal Bloom

 Explosion of a phytoplankton population, sometimes because of incoming pollutants that artificially enrich the waters with nutrients.

Algae

 Primarily marine organisms, single-celled or multicellular, that use chlorophyll to feed, like plants, but lack the roots, leaves, flowers, etc. of true plants.

Acclimation

A reversible physical change in an adapting organism in response to environmental pressures.

Abundance

The number of organisms in a given population.

Archaea

Organisms that resemble bacteria but also display characteristics found in multicellular organisms.

Aquaculture

Growing and harvesting fish and shellfish in land-based ponds.

Aposematism

Evolving a type of protective coloration found to be useful by other species.

Apical Meristem

The tissue-creating cells at the growing tip of a branch or root.

Aphytal

The plantless zone at the bottom of a lake.

Aphids

Soft-bodied insects that eat green leaves.

Anthophyte

A flowering plant or its closest relatives.

Antheridium

The organ that produces antherozoids--male gametes (sperm cells)--in algae, bryophytes (mosses, liverworts), and pteridophytes (club mosses, ferns, horsetails)

Anther

The pollen-producing tip of a flower's stamen.

Annuals

Pioneer plants which grow, flourish, and die in one season, seeds often germinate during the following wet season.

Arthropods

Jointed, backbone-less animals--namely, arachnids, insects, and crustaceans-often protected by a shell or exoskeleton.

Archegonium

A multicellular female reproductive organ in mosses, ferns, and the majority of gymnosperms. Normally flask-shaped, it corresponds to the pistil in flowering plants.

Animals

The animal kingdom branches into the deuterostomes (mouth and anus develop separately) and the protostomes. Animals are multicellular and possess mitochondria, a complex nervous system, and cells protected by a membrane and filled with complex organelles.

Angiosperms

Flowering plants that place their seeds in fruits. The monocots have an embryo with a single cotyledon (seed leaf), three-part flowers, parallel leaf veins, and adventitious root growth. Dicots have two cotyledons, four- or five-part flowers, and net leaf vein patterns. Monocots include grasses, orchids, palms, and cattails, and dicots include oaks, sycamores, and maples.

Anemophilous

Seed plants pollinated by the wind.

Anapsid

A vertebrate whose skull contains no side openings behind the eyes. The only living examples are turtles.

Anagensis

Evolutionary change, but without spilling over into speciation.

Anaerobic

Chemical reactions in the absence of oxygen and often initiated by bacteria or archaeans (bacteria like organisms that live in extreme conditions).

Anabolic

Metabolic processes that build tissues and organs.

Amphibians

newts, frogs, salamanders: vertebrate animals that can live in water and on land.

Amnion

A fluid-filled sac that safely enfolds a growing mammal, reptile, or bird embryo.

Amino Acids

Ammonia-carbon acids that when strung together in long double-bonded chains (peptides) build proteins.

Amensalism

A one-sidedly harmful relationship between dissimilar organisms.

Argillite

fine-grained sedimentary rock consisting mostly of hardened clay particles
 

Amphibians

cold-blooded, smooth-skinned vertebrae of the class Amphibia, such as a frog or salamander, that characteristically hatch as aquatic larva with gills. The larva then transforms into an adult having air-breathing lungs.

Alluvium

sediment or soil that is deposited by a river or running water

Accipiter

small to medium-sized hawks, of the genus Accipiter, characterized by short-broad wings and a long tail, i.e., Cooper's Hawk