Glossary of terms

by Dr J Floor Anthoni

This glossary contains all the strange words used in our web site, relating to the (marine) environment. For geology and soil, refer to the geology glossary. This word list is updated from time to time, to incorporate the new words of new sections added.
Each concept is explained in detail such that the glossary becomes interesting on its own. Also the origin of the terms is explained.

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When speaking to a Bear of Very Little Brain,
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It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't
use long, difficult words but rather short, easy
words like "What about lunch?".

Winnie the Pooh, by A A Milne

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abrasion= (L: a/ab=towards/ away from; radere= to scrape) reduction in rock particle size by wearing away.
abundant = (L: a/ab= towards; unda=wave; abundare=to flow over) plentiful, existing in large quantities.It is a relative measure. 'Snapper are abundant' could mean thousands of them in a vast area, whereas 'Seahorses are abundant' could mean a few dozen in a small area. We often think of abundance in terms of one species. Even though abundant, the species depends on a host of other organisms for its living. 'Snapper is no longer abundant' almost certainly means that a lot of other species have disappeared as well.
abyssal= (Gk: a=not; byssos=depth; plumbless depth) living between 4000-6000m, the abyssal zone. eco04.gif.
acclimatisation= (French: a= to; climat= climate) the adjustment of an organism to new living conditions.
acquired characters= (L: ac/ad=towards/for; quaerere=seek; acquirere= to obtain) variations in an organism caused by environment or activity but which is not inherited.
adaptation= (L: ad=towards/for; aptus=fit) modification of an organism wich fits it for its environment. Genetic of phenotypic response by individuals or populations to an environment, so as to enhance fitness.
adaptive radiation= the evolution of a group of related organisms into different types, each fitted for a different way of life.
adipose fin= (L: adipis= fat) small, lobelike fleshy fin.
aerobic= (Gk: aero=air; bios=life) using free oxygen in gaseaous or dissolved form, the opposite of anaerobic. In aerobic exercise or work, the organism takes up as much oxygen from its environment as it uses for producing the energy. Consequently, aerobic work can be sustained for long periods. In anaerobic exercise, energy comes from processes that do not need oxygen, but which get exhausted quickly
aestivate= (L: aestus= heat; aestivare= to sleep through the summer heat, in a state of torpor) being dormant during summer or dry season, much like hibernation which is being dormant during winter.
agar= a polysaccharide obtained from the cell walls of some red algae. Used much the same as alginates (see below).
age structure= structure of a population determined by the age of individuals, as in human demographics.
agroecology= (agriculture + ecology) the study of agricultural land uses and practices in relation to their impact on soil, water and other resources.
alga/algae= (L: alga= water plant) the simple photosynthetic plants (uni or multi-cellular, not having specialised organs such as leaves, stems, and roots), found in seas and freshwater. See microalgae and macroalgae. Algae= plural; alg or alga= singular.
alginates= (Malay word) gelatin-like substances extracted from seaweed. A salt or ester of alginic acid, an insoluble carbohydrate found in many brown seaweeds. They are used as thickeners, emulsifiers, stabilisers and gels in a wide range of food, biomedical and industrial products.
allee effect= Warder Allee observed that some species find it very difficult to breed successfully once the population falls below a certain number or density. Some species need to congregate in thousands, before the level of security by numbers, or physical excitement is reached to start reproducing. Most animals are not sexually active all year round, but need to be brought up to that state by interacting/courting with many others. It may explain the sudden demise of the passenger pigeon in the USA.
alleles= (Gk: allel= one another) alternative forms of the same gene which can mutate into each other. They lie on the same place on a particular chromosome and affect the same processes.
allelopathy= (Gk: allel= one another; pathos= suffering) the chemical inhibition of growth in one organism by another.
allopatric= (L: allo=other; patria= fatherland) referring to populations, species or other taxa occupying different and disjunct geographical regions. Allopatric  organisms are also referred to as strays or stragglers. They have arrived by accident, and do not form breeding populations.
alternation of generations= a form of lifecycle when a generation with sexual reproduction reproduces, not a similar generation , but an asexual one. This later then reproduces to give a sexual generation again. The alternating forms are often very different from one another. Alternation of generations occurs in both animals (e.g. jellyfish) and plants (e.g. ferns, seaweeds).
amphipod= (Gk: amphi= both; podos= foot) a small crustacean with sideways compressed abdomen and two kind of limb, like sand-hoppers. Common in sediments and seaweeds.
ampullae of Lorenzini=flask-shaped electro-sensory organs that are found on the heads of sharks and rays, used to detect the weak electrical fields generated by other animals and by the shark's movement through the earth's magnetic field.
anadromous= (Gk: ana=up/back/again; dromos=running) fish running up a river to spawn (salmon). See also catadromous.
anaerobic= (a=not + aeros + bios) see aerobic
anal fin= (anal= relating to anus) single, unpaired fin positioned on the undersurface of a fish between the anus and the tail.
angiosperm= (Gk: angeion= vessel; sperma= seed) any plant producing flowers and reproducing by seeds enclosed within a carpel, including herbaceous plants, herbs, shrubs, grasses and most trees. A plant having its seed enclosed in an ovary. See also gymnosperm.
anoxia= (Gk: a/an= not; + oxygen; oxus=sharp; -gen= born of; root of gignomai= being born of) environmental condition in which there is no free dissolved oxygen.
anthropogenic= (Gk: anthropos= human being; generare= to make/beget) created or accomplished by humans.
apatite= (Gk: apatit= deceit, referring to its many deceptive forms) a naturally occurring crystalline mineral of calcium, phosphate and fluoride, the basis of the bones of vertebrates (and humans), and used in 'blood and bone' fertiliser. Ca5.(PO4)3.OH
aphotic zone= (Gk; a=not; photos= light) deep sea area of inky blackness whre photosynthesis is not possible. Many organisms living here migrate upward during the night to feed from the euphotic and disphotic zones. eco04.gif.
appendage= any considerable projection from the body of an animal. Paired appendages occur in, and are characteristic of, almost all vertebrates and arthropods.
aquaculture = the cultivation or rearing of aquatic plants or animals. Freshwater aquaculture is very much unlike marine aquaculture. Organisms are reared in ponds (Carp, Tilapia, Trout, Shrimp, Prawn). Marine aquaculture almost always happens in the open sea (Salmon, Oyster, Mussel, Scallops). These organisms prefer clean water. The farmer prefers sheltered water. Clear sheltered water is disappearing rapidly because of poor sewage and soil management, made worse by an accelerating growth in population. Farming salmon is detrimental to the environment and inefficient: a predator is raised on organic matter obtained from grazing animals (pig pellets); what rains down needs to be broken down by the environment. Oysters can grow in murky waters, right in the shallows of an estuary. Mussels need clean water with a good plankton supply in the current. Both feed on phytoplankton, thus recycling the nutrients from our sewage effluent and farm run-off. Mussels and Oysters are not only nutricious but also rich in minerals and trace elements.
aquifer= (L: aqua= water; ferre= to bear) a layer of rock that holds water and allows water to percolate through it, horizontally and vertically.
arboreal= (L: arbor=tree; arboreus= connected with tree) adapted for life and movement in trees.
artesian water= (French: Artois= an old French province) a water-bearing stratum lying beneath an impenetrable layer which, when tapped, rises by hydrostatic pressure. Such a water-bearing stratum is often lying at an angle.
arthropod= (Gk: arthron= joint; podos= foot) animal with a hard jointed exoskeleton and paired jointed appendages; a member of the largest phylum of animals in terms of numbers of species. Crabs, insects, spiders and centipedes are all arthropods.
ascidian= (Gk: askos= wine skin; askidion= small wineskin) a group of animals that includes seasquirts (Phylum Tunicata; Class Ascidiacea)
assimilation= (L: ad=for/toward; similis=like; absorption) conversion of digested and absorbed food into body material; growing.
autarchy= (Gk: auto=self; arkho= rule) absolute sovereignty or despotism.
autarkic= (Gk: auto=self; arkeo= to suffice) self-sufficient, especially as an economic system.
autochthonous= (Gk: auto=self; chthonos=earth) sprung from the earth. Native.
autochthons= the original or earliest known inhabitants of a country; aboriginals, natives.
autotrophic= (Gk: auto=self; trophos=feeder; self-feeding) independent of outside sources of food. Most plants containing chlorophyll are autotrophic, and some bacteria. All other (trophic) organisms depend ultimately on the existence and activity of autotrophic ones. (See also heterotrophic)
bacterium= (Gk: baktron=stick; bakterion=little stick) a microscopic organism of one or more cells, lacking chlorophyll and of varying shape and form. Bacteria are found everywhere in large numbers and their activities are of great importance. In soil they are concerned with the decay of plant and animal tissue; they play an important part in sewage disposal and some cause serious diseases in animals and humans (e.g. tuberculosis, diptheria, typhoid, pneumonia); others are sources of antibiotics.
baleen= (L: balaena= whale) baleen= whale bone. Baleen whale= any of various whales of the suborder Mysticeti, having plates of baleen, fringed with bristles for straining plankton from the water. See enviro/mammals/classification
barbel= a fleshy tentacle attached to the head of a fish, usually beneath the chin, that is used to gather sensory information.
basalt= a fine-grained, sometimes glassy rock of volcanic origin; it makes up most of the ocean floor.
base rock, basic rock= quartz-free igneous rocks containing feldspars with more calcium than sodium compounds.
basic assumptions = elementary acceptance without proof. Common wisdom can be quite wrong. Many of our assumptions about how the sea works, are based on what we know about the land world around us. But the sea is so different that we may as well throw all previous knowledge overboard. Re-examining our basic assumptions is often necessary to get things right.
batholiths= (Gk: bathos= depth; lithos=stone) any large intrusive mass of igneous rock.
bathyal, bathypelagic= (Gk: bathos= depth; pelagos= sea; pelagios=of the sea) living in open water in the lightless depths between 1000 and 2500m. eco04.gif.
bedding plane= surface parallel to the surface of a deposition of sediment. In shales, the rocks split along the bedding plane; in some sandstones however, the split is marked by changes in colour and grain size.
bedrock = solid rock underlying alluvial deposits (from erosion). Often this solid rock consists of greywacke, which is a sedimentary rock, solidified under high pressure. It is a hard rock. Greywacke coasts have steep drop-offs that wear slowly by waves and wind. Cracks in greywacke often run vertically, resulting in caves and deep fissures which offer shelter to marine animals.
benthic= (Gk: benthos= sea depth) living on the seabottom, in it or immediately above it.
benthopelagic= (Gk: sea depth + of the sea) living close to the seabottom but not normally resting on it. See also pelagic. eco04.gif.
benthos= those plants or animals living on the bottom of a sea or lake. eco04.gif.
biodiversity= (L: bios=life; diversitas= variety) the variety of living organisms in all their forms and combinations.
biogeochemical cycles= the flow of elements throught he earth's ecosystems, including various living and nonliving components of the environment. Physical and biological processes move elements from land to sea to atmosphere and back to land again, with the potential for some sequestering on land or in the ocean. Biogeochemical cycles important to the maintenance of the earth's biosphere are the carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen cycles. Other major cycles include those for phosphorus, sulphur, calcium, sodium and chlorine.
biogeography= the scientific study of the geographic distribution of organisms.
biology: (Gk: bios= (human) life; logos= word/reason) the study of living beings
biome= a grouping of all communities or ecosystems worldwide having a similar biotic community and occurring in broadly similar environments. E.g. rain forest, tundra, coral reef. A large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna adapted to the particular conditions in which they occur.
biomass= the total weight of all the animals and plants living in a given area. It may relate to only one species.
biosphere= the sumtotal of all organic life living on, in, or above Earth's surface. The part of the earth (air, water, rock) that supports life.
biota= all the organisms found in a specific area. The animal or plantlife of a region or period.
biotic= relating to life or living things.
biotic community= the totality of plants, animals and micro-organisms in a given area of land or water, characterised by interrelationships with each other and with the physical environment.
biotope= (Gk: bios=life; topos=place) a geographical unit of habitat occupied by a species or community.
biotype= (Gk: bios=life; typto= to strike; typos= impression/ figure) group of genetically identical individuals.
bipartite (life cycle)= (L: bi=two; partire= to part) consisting of two parts or phases. Marine algae (like ferns and mosses) reproduce once asexually and again sexually to complete one life cycle. Lobsters spend their larval stages in the plankton, after which they descend to the bottom.
black coral = a fan coral that forms a flexible fan of tough black substance and studded with very fine, almost invisible, white coral polyps. Dead Black Coral looks black whereas live Black Coral looks white. Black Corals grow very slowly. They can't compete with plants and they would be suffocated by fluffy algae growing all over them. Therefore they occur only in dark places such as deeper than plants can grow. They also favour plankton-carrying currents.
bloom: a population explosion of plankton, resulting in a visible discoloration of the water (green, brown, red)
blubber= a thick layer of fatty tissue below the skin, acting as insulation against heat loss in aquatic mammals, e.g. whales.
boundary effect= see edge effect.
brachiopod= (Gk: brakhion= arm; podos= foot) a lamp shell of the phylum Brachiopoda, having a two-valved chalky shell and a ciliated (hairy) feeding arm.
breccia= (Italian: breccia= gravel, broken rock) a sedimentary rock, particles larger than 2 mm across, with angular rather than rounded fragments.
breeding ground = A place where marine organisms gather to breed. Breeding grounds differ for each species: a Crayfish may just seek deeper water; Snapper congregate in special places; Scallops can breed only 'on the spot' if densities are high enough. It is wrong to assume that a marine reserve will become a breeding ground for ALL species.
breeding stocks = All organisms of a species that are capable of breeding. The word 'stock' is commonly used for only one species; 'stocks' for multiple species. Organisms can breed only if they have become adults, if they are healthy and well-fed, if they can pair up, if conditions are right and if there are enough of them. The bigger specimens do it better because they have much bigger gonads and they have years of previous experience. Our methods of fishing disturb the breeding activity more than we like to acknowledge: We catch 'the big ones' when they are 'abundant' and we make many 'widows' and 'widowers' that find it difficult to find new partners, just like humans do.
browser: (French: brost= young shoot) an animal that eats a little of this and that plant (like a goat), as opposed to a grazer which eats mainly one kind of plant (like a sheep).
bryophyte= (Gk: bryon=moss; phyton=plant) a group of plants belonging to the phylum Bryophyta, comprising the true mosses and liverworts (lichens).
bryozoans= (Gk: bryon= moss; zoia=animals; moss animals) any aquatic invertebrate animals of the phylum Bryozoa, also called Polyzoa. Very small coral-like polyps that build fagile coral-like structures. Some are flat, overlaying seaweed fronds ('sea mat') whereas others are flexible, waving in the currents. The most beautiful ones form flowerlike ribbons ('lace coral').
buffer zone= an adjunct to a national park or protected area, for the purpose of accommodating boundary effects due to migrations in and out, and of predation.
bulk fishing = fishing appreciable quantities, a synonym for commercial fishing. Only abundant species can be fished in bulk. Where one attempts to bulk-fish reef fish with gill nets for instance, one soon finds that this activity is unsustainable because the reef fish population declines rapidly. Trawlers catch a large variety of species in bulk even though many of these would not sustain bulk fishing.
caatinga= a low grade, dry, semi-deciduous thorny forest in northeastern Brasil.
calcareous/ calcarious= (L: calx= chalk; calcarius= of chalk, chalky) composed of or containing lime Ca(OH)2 or limestone CaCO3.
Cambrian= the oldest system of rocks containing fossils; a geological period between 570 and 500 million years ago. See time table.
campo= a sub-humid wooded grassland, like savannah.
capillary= (L: capillus=hair) a tube with an internal diameter like a hair. A delicately branched blood vessel between arteries (source) and veins (sink).
capillary action= the elevation (or depression) of liquids inside narrow tubes, due to surface tension.
carapace= (Spanish: carapacho= shield) A hard covering over part of the body in arthropods e,g, crabs. Also in reptiles and turtles.
carbon cycle= the circulation of carbon (C) from the atmosphere through plants and animals and back to the atmosphere.
carbon dating= determination of the age of plant or animal substances by measurement of their content of radio-active carbon (C14), compared with non-radioactive carbon (C12). Radioactive carbon is produced in the upper atmosphere by radiation fromt he sun and it decays slowly.
carbohydrate= a compound of carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O), playing an essential part in the metabolism of all living thing. Carbohydrates consist mostly of CH2 chains and are found in sugars, glucose, starches, cellulose (wood). Carbohydrates represent stored energy which is consumed by animals to decompose into energy and wastes. Carbohydrates are the most important compounds in food chains. Single sugar molecules (e..g. clucose) are monosaccharides; paired sugar molecules (e.g. sucrose) are disaccharides and polymers of sugars are polysaccharides (e.g. starch, cellulose)
Carboniferous= (L: carbo=charcoal; fer=bearing) geological period between 345 and 280 million years ago, so named because of the widespread occurrence of carbon in the form of coal.  See time table.
carnivore= 1) any animal of the order Carnivora with powerful teeth, claws, etc designed for eating the flesh of other animals. 2) any flesh eating plant or animal.
carotenoids/ carotene= (L: carota=carrot) a group of yellow, orange and red plant pigments which assist in photosynthesis. They give characteristic colour to many flowers, fruits and vegetables (e.g. carrot).
carposporophyte= (Gk: karpos= fruit; spora= spore; phyton= plant) a small spore-producing phase in the life cycle of some red algae, developing directly from the female gametophyte following fertilisation. It is often visible as a small bump.
carrageenan= (Irish: cosainin carraige= little stem of the rock) an organic molecule obtained from some red algae and used like an alginate. Named after carrag(h)een, an edible red seaweed (Chondrus crispus), also called Irish moss.
carrying capacity= the biomass that can be sustained in a given area.
cartilaginous= (L: cartilago= cartilege) made of cartilage. Cartilaginous fishes are the sharks and rays. Cartilage or gristle is a tough protein material found in higher animals and in which hard material is deposited to form bone. Young fish have cartilaginous bones that later harden.
catadromous= (Gk: kata=down; dromos= running) fish that swim down rivers to sea to spawn (eel). See also anadromous.
catalyst= (Gk: kata=down, downwards; luo= to set free) substance that speeds up a chemical reaction but which is not itself catchment area= the area draining into a lake, river or other body of water. See watershed.
caudal peduncle= (L: cauda=tail; pedis= foot; peduncle= stalk) the part of a fish that connects the body to the tail fin.
cautious = (L: cavere= to take heed; cautio= prudence) careful, prudent, attentive to safety. This word is often used in marine conservation meaning 'to err on the safe side'. Cautious management allows for unknown detrimental factors such as sudden natural mortality, seasonal and other fluctuations, errors in estimating the stock, errors in estimating the catches and so on. Rather than opting for a minimal sustainable stocking level, cautious management favours optimal or maximum stocking levels.
cell= (L: cella= store room) the smallest structural and functional unit of a living organisms, consisting of cytoplasm and a nucleus, enclosed in a membrane.
cellulose= substance of which plant cells are made; a tough carbohydrate with large molecules. See carbohydrate.
central nervous system= the brain and spinal cord of an animal; it coordinates the animal's activities.
cerebellum= (L: cerebrum= brain; cerebellum= little brain) the rear part of the vertebrate brain, particularly concerned with the coordination of complex muscular movements.
charting = mapping the coast and sea. Charting is the very first measurement one does with a new place. Charting consists of measuring the sea and coast for the purpose of safe navigation. It does not take account of the existing marine habitats. Where the chart shows 'rock' or 'sand' or 'broken shell', this is to assist in anchoring safely or to help in trawling for fish. Charts are extensively used for fishing and exploration of the sea, including marine research. So charting is a very important first step.
chemosynthesisers= organisms that convert chemical energy into living tissue. Compare with photosynthesisers.
chemotrophic= (Gk: chemia=art of transmuting metals (alchemy); trephos= to feed) obtaining energy by chemical reactions, independent of light. Some bacteria are chemotrophic. See also autotrophic and heterotrophic.
chitin= (Gk: chiton=a long woollen tunic) a polysaccharide forming the hard exoskeleton of arthropods and parts of many other invertebrates; it is also found in some fungi. See carbohydrate.
chiton= marine molluscs of the phylum Mollusca, class Polyplacophora, limpet-like but having 8 overlapping plates heldf together by a girdle.
chlorophyll= (Gk: chloros=green; phyllon=leaf) a green pigment found in algae and all higher plants. It picks up the energy of sunlight for use in photosynthesis.
chloroplast= Gk: chloros=green; plastos=shaped)a small organelle (plastid), containing chlorophyll, found in plant cells undergoing photosynthesis.
chordate= (L: chorda= cord) an animal from the phylum Chordata wich includes lancelets and all of the vertebrates, animals with a backbone (notochord) in some stage of their lives.
chromosome= (Gk: chromos/ chromatos= colour; soma= body; referring to the coloured part in a transparent cell) a microscopic thread-shaped body which carries genes. Numbers of chromosomes occur in the nucleus of each plant and animal cell and their number and form are usually constant for every species of organism. Chromosomes are usually visible only during cell division. the molecular unit of inheritance in living organisms (a chromosome is a very large molecule). Each species has a characteristic number of chromosomes (e.g. 48 for humans), identical in each cell of an organism. It carries all the genetic information for that organism.
circadian: about once a day (L: circa=about and dia=day). Circadian rhythm is a rhythm occuring once a day
circalittoral: (L: circa=about; litus/litoris=shore) the habitat zone beneath the plant (photic) infralittoral zone. eco03.gif.
classification= (L: classis= assembly) the grouping of organisms into categories to reflect their relatedness; the subject matter of taxonomy.
clastic rock= rock containing fragments or particles of older rocks.
climax= a more or less stable community which is in equilibrium with the existing natural environment, e.g a forest. The culminating stage in the ecological succession or evolution of a plant/animal community that has attained stability (equilibrium) and is self-perpetuating.
clone= descendants produced asexually from a single plant or animal. They have exactly the same genetic makeup as the parent, unless mutation occurs.
cmidarian= () an animal from the Phylum Cnidaria, a diverse group including jellyfish, hydroids and corals. They possess stinging cells and many are flower-shaped.
coastal policy = a course of action for our coast. A coastal management plan. The Resource Management Act which does not apply to fisheries (!!!) does apply to local bodies, the Department of Conservation and the New Zealand public. It aims to conserve our resources for sustainability. The act requires DoC to produce a coastal policy.
coastal waters = a vague term denoting the seas adjacent to the land mass. Our territorial sea extends 11 Km out (the reach of a cannon at the time) but the Extended Economic Zone extends 200 sea miles or about 370 Km. The sea under direct influence of sewage and run-off from the land is only 0.1-3 Km wide. This is the coastal water worst affected by humans. In this water we find all our coastal habitats and coastal fisheries and marine farming. Most of our marine bio-diversity is found here.
cockle flats = the wind-swept sandy flats inside an estuary between mid and low tide levels. Cockles are bivalves with thick shells, about 2-3cm across, that live in clean estuaries. Higher up the shore one finds small ones whereas towards low tide level, the big ones are found. Cockle banks contain millions of specimens. They grow rapidly and provide a reliable source of food. Cockles can filter the water so efficiently that the outgoing tide is often much cleaner than the incoming tide.
coevolution= (com + evolution; evolving together) (coadaptation) Reciprocal and interactive evolutionary change in two or more species living in the same area.
collagen= a fibrous animal protein which on boiling yields gelatin.
collecting = gathering. The word has been used here in a cynical way because collecting specimens is the very first step done when studying the biology of a new area. In earlier days collectors were fanatical because each newly discovered species gave them more standing amongst their colleagues and it gave them the right to name the species. The name of the collector was then added to the scientific name. Today the science of collecting, classifying and naming (taxonomy) has lost its charm, mainly because very few spectacular new species are found and because genetic tests may one day completely revise the present classifications.
colonisation= (Gk: colon=limb) the occupation of empty space by free-floating larvae. Because marine organisms are prolific breeders, empty space on the bottom is soon occupied. Colonists are the first to invade newly created habitat.
commensal= (L: com= with/together; mensa=table; dining together) a species living in close association with another species. One organism benefits, the other does not, but neither is harmed. For example, the Remora (Shark Sucker) attaches itself to a shark without harming it, and scavenges the left-overs from the shark's meal)
commercial fishermen = those who fish for a living. The word is used to separate this class of fishermen from those who do it for fun, the recreational fisherman. But the notion goes deeper. In the old days when the catch could not be conserved, the fisherman caught only what he and his neighbours could eat that same day. He was not driven to fish more than that. However, now that fish can be frozen and conserved and processed, fishermen are driven by a sense of greed for direct profit. Thus catches are no longer limited in a natural way. This has resulted in the depletion of many fish stocks. But a commercial fisherman (who fishes for profit) will stop fishing when costs exceed profits, whereas a recreational fisherman won't.
community / biological community= (L communitas=common, shared) all the creatures living in a specific locality. This notion is now used to denote the creatures living in a specific type of locality or habitat. Such type localities or habitats can be found in many places and more often than not, the same creatures are found there in about the same ratios. So the word community is often used synonymous to 'habitat'.
complex = a composite consisting of related parts, but also meaning complicated. A building complex is a compound consisting various rooms. This word is not commonly used in marine biology where the synonym 'system' is more in vogue.
congeners= a group of species that belong to the same genus
conglomerate= a sedimentary rock with rounded or abraded particles larger than 2 mm diameter. Modern pebble accumulations (e.g. beaches, river beds) may become conglomerates when cemented by time.
connective tissue= an animal tissue comprising fibres, cells, fluid, blood and lymph vessels, scattered through an amorphous matrix.
conservation= (L: con= with/together; servare= to keep; to keep together) judicious use and management of nature and natural resources for the benefit of human society and for other reasons (ethical, historical, cultural, etc).
conservationist = supporter or advocate of environmental conservation. As we become more and more aware of how important a healthy environment is for our wellbeing, environmental conservation becomes increasingly more fashionable. The reason that industrialists and businessmen are often found opposing environmental conservation is that they fear an 'unfair' increase in operational costs. Conservationists often blame industry for the damage it causes, conveniently forgetting that the goods produced are necessary for and wanted by our society, conservationists included.
container port = a port for container vessels. Container transport is very efficient. Loading and unloading a ship can be done in a matter of hours. Container ports need deep water and a lot of open-air storage with good access for trucks and trains.
continental drift= a geological theory proposed to account for the shape of Earth's surface. It presumes that the present continents were originally one large land mass which broke up and which have drifted to their present positions. Since 1975 so much evidence in support of this theory has been found that it is no longer questioned.
continental shelf= the part of the sea floor that adjoins a landmass; over the continental shelf, the water is less than 200m deep. The outer margin of the continental shelf is marked by the continental slope which runs down to the abyssal region. eco04.gif.
convergence= (L: cum/com/con=with ;vergere= to incline) 1) (of rocks): occurs when two types of rock, initially different, become similar in content through metamorphism. (of sediment): when two layers become close together through the thinning of the intervening strata; 2) (in evolution): when two groups of living things come to look alike because they have adapted to the same mode of life, not because they are related (e.g. sharks and dolphins).
copepods= (Gk: kope= oar handle; podos= foot; oar-footed) lobsterlike crustaceansof the sub-class Copepoda, living permanently in the plankton, like euphausids (krill). These are important components of the food web because they serve as a source of food for small fish, and even whales.
coral = (L: corallum; Gk: korallion) a hard limestone structure (fan, ball, brain, whip, antler, table, tupe, cup -shaped) built by many flowerlike organisms that have very thin skins but are often beautifully coloured. Corals live in the clearest of oceans where the water is no less than 23 degrees Celsius. Coral polyps can catch animal plankton but there's very little of it. Fortunately corals have algal cells in their skins that produce organic matter from sunlight, CO2, water and nutrients. These algal cells (zooxanthella) produce food for the corals. Thus corals abound in the bright light close to the surface but cannot grow in the darker depths, unlike common filterfeeders such as sponges. See also hermatype.
coralline algae: red algae of the order Corallinales with calcium deposits in their shell walls. Calcareous, stony or coral like algae, typically appearing pink. The encrusting forms are called pink paint and the turfing forms pink turf. Coralline algae are important reef builders in temperate to tropical seas.
corridor= (It; correre= to run; ) a more or less continuous conection between adjacent and similar habitats, such as roads, hedgerows, streams, irrigation ditches and so on.
crab = a spiderlike eight-footed crustacean with jointed legs and two pincers but with its tail bent underneath its carapace. It forms a very compact and robust shape.Crabs usually grow fast and mature early. Crabs are not caught commercially in NZ. apart from incidental catches of the estuarine Paddle Crab.
crayfish = a lobsterlike crustacean. The word is commonly used for freshwater lobsters but here in New Zealand it has stuck to the Spiny Lobster or Langouste as it is known by Frenchmen. The Crayfish has no pincers. It grows to over 40 years old and matures slowly. Crayfish has always been an important commercial coastal species.
crepuscular= (L: crepusculum= twilight; of twilight) descriptive term for an animal which is active in the twilight but sleeps during the middle of the day and night.
Cretaceous= (L: creta=chalk) a geological period from 136 to 65 million years ago, marked by estensive deposits of limestone. The Cretaceous closed the period of the dinosaurs as the super continent Pangea broke apart. It heralded the evolution of modern plants and animals. See time table.
crinoid= (Gk: krinon= lily; krinoides= lily-shaped) a featherstar of the class Crinoidea; a suspension-feeding echinoderm with long, branching arms.
crustacean= (L: crusta= shell, crust) a member of a large subphylum Crustacea, most of which have a hard external skeleton, segmented body, jointed limbs, two pairs of antennas and compound eyes. Crayfish, lobster, shrimp, crab, barnacle, isopod, amphipod, copepod.
crustose algae= thin, crust-like algae growing flattened against the underlayer (substrate)
cryptic= (Gk: kryptos= hidden) concealed. Cryptic coloration= coloration designed to conceal.
ctenoid scales= (Gk: ktenos=comb) scales in which the visible rear margin is comblike or serrated. See cycloid un-serrated scales.
currents = The steady movement of seawater.Currents come in a number of qualities. The fastest, most destructive ones are caused by waves. These water currents go to and fro on the shore but move in a circular fashion before the wave breaks. Their force diminishes rapidly with depth. The twice daily tides cause currents four times a day, which also move to and fro but in certain places only in one direction. The heat from the equator and the cold from the polar regions drive slow currents that rotate in gigantic gyres on both Northern and Southern hemispheres. These global currents influence our climate. They also cause the net transport of water, solid particles and nutrients. They rinse our coasts. When such currents stagnate, as is the case in 'El Nino' years, the basic composition of our coastal waters changes and this can have a disastrous effect on many marine creatures.
cyanobacteria= (Gk: kuanos= dark blue) blue-green algae. Prokaryotic organisms found in many environments, and capable of photosynthesising.
cycloid scales= (L: cyclus, Gk: kyklos= circle) scales in which the visible rear margin is a smooth curve. See ctenoid
cyto-, -cyte= (Gk: kytos=vessel) relating to a cell.
cytoplasm= (Gk: kytos= vessel; plasso= to shape; plasma=form, mould) all the contents of a cell, except the nucleus.
de-= (Latin) down, off, away from. Before verbs, reversal of that verb.
deciduous= (L: de-=down/away ; caedere= to cut/ fall; decidere to cut/decide) shedding leaves annually. As a survival strategy for harsh conditions, many plants are able to shed their leaves. Winter-deciduous trees do so to hibernate through winter, and summer-deciduous trees do so to estivate through drought.
decomposition= (opposite of composition) the breakdown of dead organic material into simpler molecules. Bacteria and fungi are the  primary decomposers of the biosphere.
deep water fauna = the animals living in deep water. The term 'deep' is often used for as little as 20m depth, or more precisely, where brown and green algae can no longer live through lack of light. Here the rocks are covered with animals that filter the water for food (filter feeders). Some catch plant plankton (sponges, seasquirts, bivalves) whereas others catch animal plankton (anemones, soft corals, bryozoa). Another important group feeds on detritus (dead organisms) that rains down from above (seastars, seacucumbers, worms). The predators and scavengers complete the list (seastars, several fish species). eco04.gif.
delta= (Gk: daleth= triangle; the Latin and Greek capital letter D is named delta and drawn as a triangle) a triangular alluvial plain at the mouth of a river where the river divides into a series of channels before entering the sea or lake.
deme= (Gk: demos= people) a discrete population of interbreeding individuals.
demersal= (L: de=down; mergere= to plunge/dip) living near but not upon the seabottom of the continental shelf. Large demersal fishes are often fished commercially.
demography= (Gk: demos= the people; graphia= writing) the study of birth and death rates and their consequences on the density or abundance of a population. The study of the statistics of birth and death.
Department of Conservation (DoC) = It is DoC's task to preserve the natural environment. It is an immense task for which not enough resources are available (lack of money). Most resources go in maintaining the conservation 'estate', our parks, reserves, tracks, huts and so on. Much attention is paid to 'firefighting', trying to save almost-extinct species such as the Black Robin. But it is everyone's task to relieve the pressure that humans exert on the natural environment. We cannot live without shampoos and two showers a day and consuming an unnecessary amount of food. Recycling is considered 'uneconomical' and the amount of waste produced by every human being increases rapidly as the economy grows. If we all co-operated, DoC's task would be much easier.
detrital (rock)= minerals or rocks derived from existing rock by weathering or erosion. Some detrital minerals are economically important, like gold found in riverbeds.
detritivore= an animal that eats detritus (dead organic material). A large detritivore, while feeding on detritus, may also ingest small living organisms, such as bacteria.
detritus= (L: tritus= wearing, friction; detritus= wearing down) debris of any kind, produced by erosion, decay, rubbish, waste. Organic debris from decomposing plants and animals. In the ocean, dead (and alive) plankton organisms rain down to the sea bottom to make up the detritus found there.
Devonian= geological period of 50 million years duration, extending from 395 to 345 million years ago. See time table.
diatom= (Gk: di= two; temno= to cut) a microscopic unicellular alga with a siliceous cell-wall, found as plankton, and forming fossil deposits. Diatoms are constructed like pill boxes, one half covering the other. As they divide, one part always becomes smaller.
dimorphic= (Gk: di=two; morphe=form) a species that occurs in two forms that are physically different, either in colour or in form or both.
dinoflagellate= (Gk: deinos= terrible; flagellum= whip) a protozoan with whipping hair(s) which enable it to swim. Part of the ocean plankton community.
dioecious= (Gk: di=two; oikos=house) unisexual- the male and female reproductive organs are borne on different individuals. (monoecious on same individual)
diploid= (Gk: diplous=double; eidos=form) (of the number of chromosomes): the double, or complete number of chromosomes found in the body sells, compared witht he single number (haploid=single) found in sex cells.
dispersal= (L: dis/des= not/negation/reversal ; spargere= to scatter; Gk: diaspora) To send in different directions. The distribution of an organism by sea currrents.
disphotic zone= (L: dis=not; photos=light) the area underneath the euphotic zone. It is so poorly lit that respiration exceeds photosynthesis (80-700m, depending on clarity). eco04.gif.
disposal = the act of getting rid of. This word is used to 'place in order' things we don't want, such as sewage, refuse, poisons. Ironically, all things we want to dispose of, are or have been at one stage, expensive resources. During production processes and the act of living, these expensive resources have somehow become too diluted or too scattered or they occur in the wrong form to be 'economically useful' or 'recyclable'.
diurnal= (L: dies=day) (of animals): active by day. (of plants): altering condition between day and night. See nocturnal.
diversity = (L: diversitas) variety, number of species, functions, habitats, etc. It is an important measure of the health of a community. As more and more pressure is exerted on a community, an increasing number of species disappears. The community becomes less diverse and its functioning is affected. The place of the losers is taken by those who remain, and who then may become more numerous. So abundance of numbers as opposed to diversity of species is not necessarily a measure of good health. alpa-diversity= an ecological measure of the intrinsic number of species within a community. beta diversity= an ecological measure of the turnover of species along an environmental gradient. gamma diversity= an ecological measure of the species turnover rate with distance between sites of similar habitat. The rate at which additional species are encountered as geographic replacements within a habitat type in different localities.
dormant= (French: dormir= to sleep; L: dormire) in a resting condition; the organism is alive but relatively inactive in metabolism, and no growth occurs (see also hybernating, aestivating)
dorsal fin= (L: dorsum= back) single, unpaired fin on the upper surface of a fish's body.
dyke/dike= (Dutch: dijk= sea wall) 1) a sheet-like body of igneous rock which cuts across the bedding or structural planes of the host rock. 2) a long wall or embankment built to prevent flooding.
echinoderm= (Gk: ekhinos= hedgehog, sea urchin; derma= skin; the prickly skinned) an animal belonging to the phylum Echinodermata which occur exclusively in the sea. They have an internal calcium carbonate skeleton and a water vascular system with canals and tubefeet. Sea urchins, sea stars, sea cucumbers.
ecology= (Gk: oikos=house, logos=word, reason) the branch of science dealing with the relationships of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. The study of the relationships of animals and plants to their animate and inanimate surroundings. 2) the study of the interaction of people with the environment.
economic activity = activity for profit or for a living. Economic activity relating to the sea has very many aspects: freight, transport, ferrying, charter boating, boat repair, fishing, marine farming, living, building, sightseeing, ecotourism, diving and so on.
economy= (Gk: oikos=house; nemo=manage; -nomia=distribution) 1) the wealth and resources of a community in relation to production and consumption. 2) the careful management of resources.
ecosystem = (Gk: oikos= house; syn= with, together, alike; histemi=to set up; organisation, structure) a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. The biological community consists not only of producers (grazers), predators and scavengers but also of cleaners and decomposers such as bacteria and fungi. Every ecosystem has closed loops (chains or webs) for nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Calcium, Potassium, Sodium, etc), matter or energy (Carbon, Oxygen) and trace elements (Sulphur, Iron, Cobalt etc.). If an ecosystem is not self-sustaining, it is called an 'open' ecosystem, which derives some of the necessary components from elsewhere.
ecotone= (Gk: oikos= house; teino= to stretch; ) a landscape boundary which exists between two or more adjacent communities or habitats, also known as edge.
ecotype= (Gk: oikos= house; typos= impression) a genetically differentiated subunit within species that represents ecological adaptation to certain local environments.
ectoparasite= (Gk: ektos= outside) an organism living parasitically on the outside of another (e.g. flea).
edaphic= (Gk: edaphos= floor) relating to soil or topography rather than climate.
edge effect= processes that characterise habitat fragmentation and the resulting creation of habitat edges.
emerge/ emergence= (L: emergere= to appear; ex=out of; mergere=to dip) come into view, when previously conceiled. In science, an emergence is a new way of thinking coming into view when looking in at a complex issue, from a distance. Computers are but electronic circuits, but programming emerged from them, and from that artificial intelligence.
emergent (zone)= the bits of the land above water. Usually it refers to the marine environment that becomes apparent during low tides. Often the underwater world can be predicted by looking at the emergent bits. It reveals clues about the substrate (rock), the wave exposure, currents, water clarity, water temperature and more.
endangered (species): used for species that are in danger of extinction and whose survival is unlikely if the causal factors continue to exist. Included are species whose numbers have been reduced to a critical level or whose habitats have been so drastically reduced that they are deemed to be in immediate danger of extinction. Small populations may cause breeding to collapse due to the lack of genetic diversity.
endemic: (Gk: en=in/into/onto; demos= the people; native) found only in a certain region. (see also native, indigenous, local, sympatric, parapatric and allopatric)
energy flows = (Gk: en=into; ergos= work; capable of work) the flow of potential energy in a food chain or food web. Body tissue can be converted into energy. Hence it is equal to potential energy. In order to grow, plants need solar energy which is used to bind carbon, oxygen and water molecules into carbo-hydrates. Grazers eat the plants and use their potential energy to grow and to live. Predators eat the grazers and use their potential energy to grow and to live. All this can be expressed in terms of energy equivalents, hence the term 'energy flow'.
environment: (Fr: environ= encircled, surround; en=in + viron=circuit) conditions or circumstances of living. All the conditions which surround and affect an organism.
enzyme= (Gk: en=into; zyme= to leaven/layer) a protein catalyst made by living cells, and helping to carry out a chemical process or reaction, without being consumed by it. Enzymes are so critical to the chemical reactions within cells that these would not occur without them. Enzymes can be likened to chemical ratchets, levering heat energy (Brownian movement of molecules) to diminish chemical barriers and to make chemical bonds that are stronger than the surrounding heat energy.
ephemera= an insect of the order Ephemeroptera (mayfly).
ephemeral= (Gk: epi-=upon ; hemera=day; ephemeros= lasting one day) short-lived, transitory. Lasting only one day.
epipelagic= (Gk: epi=above; pelagos=ocean) living very close to the surface in the open ocean, to about 100m. eco04.gif.
epiphyte= (Gk: epi=upon; phyton= plant) a non-parasitic plant growing on trees and possessing aerial roots having the ability to absorb moisture from the atmosphere.
epistemology= (Gk: episteme= knowledge; logos= word, reason) study of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods and validation.
equinox= (L: equi=equal; noce=night) the time when the length of day equals night. The vernal equinox is on 21 March, and the autumnal equinox about 22 September.
erosion= (L: ex=out of; rodere= to gnaw) the wearing away and lowering of the land surface by wind, water, sand and ice.
estivate= see aestivate.
estuary = (L: aestus= tide) an almost enclosed part of the sea with an opening to the sea through which the tide enters and at the other end one or more rivers. Estuaries are the places where the runoff from the land, carried by the rivers, mixes intensively with the salt water from the sea. In summer the estuaries are warmer than the sea but in winter they are colder. Because of their high nutrient content, estuaries breed dense blooms of phyto plankton, which is the most important food source there. Each estuary has its own, unique character, depending on its topography, orientation, depth, exposure to wind, type of land-use, size of catchment area and more. Some estuaries are refreshed by the sea almost completely with each tide cycle whereas others may take months to do so. We don't know precisely how important estuaries are for the health of the sea but we do know that many fish species are hatched there.
ethnobotany= (Gk: ethnos= nation; botane=plant) the discipline within botany which examines the interactions between human societies and the plant species important to their culture.
eukaryote= (Gk: eu=well; karuon= kernel) an organism consisting of a cell or cells in which the genetic material is contained within a distinct nucleus.
euphotic zone= (Gk: eu= well, easily ; photos= light; well-lit) the area in the sea closest to the surface, receiving enough light for photosynthesis (0-80m, depending on water clarity).
eutrophic= (Gk: eu= well; trephos= to feed; overfed) a term describing water, well supplied with nutrients and too highly productive of organic matter. Eutrophication may be a problem when water becomes so rich that plant organisms cause problems to other organisms. It often results in an ecosystem 'flip', changing the living community in a drastic way to one that is much less varied.
eutrophication= the process of nutrient enrichment of an aquatic ecosystem leading to increased biologic production. As eutrophication proceeds, there are a number of consequences, including excess production, increased decay, reduced oxygen, and decreased biodiversity.
evapotranspire/ transpiration= the process by which a land plant (with roots, stems and leaves), moves water into the roots, up the stem and into the leaves, from which it then evaporates into the air.
evolution= (L: ex=out of; volvere= to roll; to evolve) 1) the concept that life comes only from existing life, and that living things change, giving rise to new life forms. 2) gradual development from a simple form to a more complex one.
evolutionary convergence= the development of superficially similar characteristics and habits by totally unrelated species living under comparable ecological conditions, but in isolation from each other.
exoskeleton= a skeleton covering the outside of the body, or lying in the skin, and supporting and protecting the soft body parts. Many invertebrates have exoskeletons (insects, starfish). Most higher organisms have an endoskeleton.
exotic species= nonnative species that have established viable populations within a community, where they were previously absent.
exploit= (L: ex=out of; plicare=to fold) make use of; derive benefit from.
exploited species = the fishes we catch (commercially). Species are exploited because there are many of them and they are easy to catch. Whalers preferred the big ones because they provided the most profit for the least effort. While targeting successively smaller species, the smallest whales, the Minke and Pilot whales, escaped the wholesale slaughter. Their numbers are now embarrassingly high and may prevent the big whales to recover. The Sperm Whale also survived reasonably well because it fought back and was rather risky to take.
exploitive uses = taking from the sea. If we could classify the ways we use the sea in exploitive (taking), non-exploitive (leaving as it is) and restorative (putting back in), which one would deserve highest priority?
extinct: (L: ex=out of; stinguere= to quench; extinguere=squeeze out) used for species which are no longer known to exist in the wild after repeated searches of the type localities and other known likely places. The species may still exist in captivity or cultivation.
extirpation= (L: exstirpare; ex=out; stirps= stem; to root out) the process by which an individual, population or species is totally destroyed.
extrusion= (L: ex=out of; trudere= to thrust) a lava flow which has come out onto Earth's surface.
ex situ (conservation)= (L: ex=out; situs= site; out of place) the conservation of plant and animal taxa or their biological materials (seeds, embryos, DNA) away from their natural habitat, as in zoological parks and botanic gardens.
facies= (L: face= face/features) the sum total of features, such as rock type, mineral content, fossil content, which characterise a sediment as having been deposited in a given environment.
fault= a fracture in rocks, along which the layers have become displaced by slipping past each other.
fauna= (L: Faunus=Roman god with goattlike features, like the Greek god Pan) the animal population present in a given place or at a given time in the past.
feeding grounds = the places where an animal feeds. Usually an animal lives on its feeding ground, thus saving energy while feeding. Some reef fishes may live and sleep on or about the reef, only to forage far afield. Little is known about feeding habits, let alone feeding grounds. But we do know that a host of species and conditions must be maintained to provide for food.
feldspars/felspar= the most important group of rock-forming silicate minerals. See geologic dictionary.
filamentous algae: (L: filare= to spin; filum= thread) algae comprised of a linear group of cells joined at their end walls, forming thread-like strands.
filter feeding= a method of feeding (found only in the water) by which an animal moves water past some structure, capable of filtering particles within a certain size range. Those particles, which include the animal's preferred food, are the ingested. Examples: barnacles which filter very small plankton from the water, and baleen whales which filter plankton krill.
finger sponge = a number of sponge species which grow long or short fingers in brown, red, orange, yellow or purple colours.
fire-climax= a stable vegetation resulting from frequent burning.
firn= (?) the imperfectly consolidated granular snow found on glaciers.
fisheries interest = a vague term denoting either those who are interested in fishing or the kind of interest arising from fishing. Thus in order to manage fisheries, one needs to be interested in where the fish are, how many there are and so on.
fisheries policy = a course of action for fishing. A policy is a general plan whereas a management plan spells out the detail. So a fisheries policy would be to maintain stocks for sustainability, whereas the management plan which spells out quotas, could unknowingly be in direct conflict with it. In order to manage our fisheries, MAF has the following options: restrictions by area, seasonal restrictions, exclusion zones (marine reserves), net specifications, mesh sizes, minimum fish size or age.
fishing pressure = the pressure on our fishing stocks caused by the demand (the market), greed, economy of scale, employment (we have to make a living).
fissure eruption= an eruption of lava through a linear crack or vent in Earth's surface.
flagellate= (Gk: flagellum= whip) planktonic organism having flagella or hair-like whips. Flagella are thought to be individual species that have become part of the host species.
flash flood= a sudden flood of water down a normally dry river bed, caused by a rainstorm some distance upstream. The chance timing of spatially separated rainstorms over a catchment area, may add up to an unpredictable flash flood where rivers meet.
flood plain= a flat tract of land bordering a river and consisting of alluvium deposited by the river. When the river floods, it deposits sediments on the banks and in the river channel, thus raising the channel above the level of the flood plain. The raised banks are known as levees.
flora= (L: flos, floris = flower, named after the goddess of flowers) the plants of a particular region or period. A work systematically listing and describing such plants.
fluvial= (L: fluere= to flow; fluvius=river) pertaing to or produced by a river.
flyway= the route followed by migratory birds.
food chain/ food web= the chain of organisms in any natural community, through which energy is transferred. Each link in the food chain feeds on and thus obtains energy from the one preceding it, and is then itself eaten, providing energy for the next organism in the chain. The beginning of the chain is plant matter (plant - grazer - carnivore - superpredator - detritus - nutrients - plant). Most food chains are more complicated than this simple model and now the term food web is prefered. The food webs in the sea have many tiers because the plants in the phytoplankton are so small.
foraminifera= (L: foramen= an opening/hole; fera=bearing; ferre= to bear) are small single-celled marine organisms with perforated shells made of lime. They are important in forming chalk deposits and deep-sea oozes. Protozoans of the order Foraminifera, having perforated chalky shells through which amoeba-like pseudopodia emerge. Foraminifers usually live on the sea bottom where they can form deep layers of chalk.
fossil= (L: fodere=to dig; fossil=dug up) the remains of an organism, or the direct evidence of its presences, preserved in rocks. Usually only the hard parts are preserved. Fossilisation is the process by which fossils are formed. See time table.
founder effect= nonselective changes in the genetic makeup of a colonising population during its establishment by a few  founding individuals.
fragmentation= the process by which habitats are increasingly subdivided into smaller units, resulting in their increased insularity as well as in losses of total habitat area. See also edge effect, allee effect.
fucalean= (L: fuco= false, counterfeit) one of two types of large brown algae within the class Phaeophycea, the other being the laminarians or true kelps. Often referred to as sea wracks, bladder weeds or stringy seaweeds, these are the most abundant algae in NZ.
full marine reserve = a non-exploitive marine reserve, a no-take reserve. The Marine Reserves Act allows for a variety of marine reserves, even allowing for extraction of some kind. Many people believe that reserves are about sustainabiltity, thus allowing for managed extraction (USA, Australia). But history has shown that there's something wrong with the way we manage. So there's a definite place for a no-take reserve, which would not be influenced by our mistakes. However, this concept assumes that the reserve will automatically get better over time (no putting in). Many of our marine reserves are deteriorating and with some this deterioration is even accelerating! (Long Bay, Leigh) The biggest threats to our marine environment comes from runoff. If we want to save the reserves, we have to improve our land management, at least in the areas affecting the reserves. The term 'full marine reserve' should be set aside for those reserves that we have targeted to become pristine wilderness areas, akin to our concept of 'paradise'. For those reserves we have to do more than just nothing.
fundamental processes = essential, natural series of steps. Science is involved in understanding the natural processes. Starting from the fundamental ones, it builds further upon these to understand less fundamental ones. However, in the sea, science has missed a few steps. The sea is very inaccessible and experiments cannot be controlled. Hence our understanding of even fundamental processes in the sea is incomplete. For instance we don't know how the main nutritional cycles work. We can't put a finger on the most important creatures of all, the sub-microscopic plankton. And all else depends on these! Of most creatures in the sea we don't know what they eat, what eats them or even how old they grow.
gallery forest= a long, narrow strip of forest bordering one or both banks of a river.
game fishing = sportfishing for big fish. It is done for the fight and the adrenalin and the honour obtained. For sharks, a boat trawls a burley bait (mashed bait in a leaking bag) through the water. When a shark arrives, the real bait is thrown in. Depending on the species of shark, there'll be a small or a big fight. Marlin fights harder but is not attracted by burley. Several lures are trolled behind the boat. The Marlin can strike any of these.
gamete= (Gk: gamos=marriage) a mature germ cell able to unite with another in sexual reproduction. Gametes are formed during meiosis when the germ cell splits its chromosones. Thus gametes have only half the normal number of chromosomes. The union of two such cells (egg and sperm) forms a normal cell which is a unique individual.
gametophyte= (Gk: gamos= marriage; phyton= plant) the gamete-bearing phase in the life cycle of some algae.
gastropod= (Gk: gaster/gasteros= stomach; podos= foot; belly-footed) an animal of the class Gastropoda in the phylum Mollusca, which move along on a muscular foot: snails, slugs, limpets and abalone.
gene= (Gk: genea=race) a unit of the material of inheritance, the basic unit of heredity. Numbers of genes occur on each chromosome in the cell nucleus. Each gene controls one or more traits in an organism, and the way they are inherited.
genetic diversity= the variety and frequency of different genes and/or genetic stock.
genetics= the study of inheritance of living things.
gene pool= all the genes in a population. Some animals within a pool of one species, have slightly modified genes, which at a given time may prove better suited to changing conditions. In that manner, the species is saved from extinction, being able to adapt. As a species' gene pool diminishes (e.g. by there being fewer individuals), its chance for survival also diminishes.
genus= (L: genus= birth, race, stock) a group of species that are closely related (plural genera). In taxonomic classification, the genus is the first grouping of species, sometimes divided in subgenus/subgenera.
general insurance = a general measure to provide for a contingency. The idea is that we don't know what could possibly happen to a fish stock, a community or habitat. If we had several places in the sea that were safe from human greed or error, then these places might survive against all odds. From the survivors, the stocks could rebuild themselves in the course of time. It is an idea that has not been tested. Dr Ballantine thinks that having ten percent of everything, could protect against a major disaster. The reality is, however, that also marine reserves are not free from natural disasters (or deterioration in water quality).
genuine priority = a proper interest having prior claim to consideration. Consciously or unconsciously we give priority to actions. We often do things because we CAN or because we've always done so, but not because we thought carefully about them. When considering all facts, we should genuinely give more consideration to non-exploitive uses as opposed to exploitive uses, because non-exploitive uses don't use up the resource.
geophysics= the study of physical phenomena bearing on the structure, physical conditions and evolutionary history of Earth. Branches of geophysics include the study of earthquakes, magnetic fields, gravity, etc.
geosyncline= a major structural and sedimentational unit of Earth's crust. It consists of an elongated basin filled with sediment which causes the floor to subside. Subsequent earth movements may produce a mountain chain from the geosynclinal structure.
gorgonian: (Gk: Gorgon= each of the snake-like sisters that formed the terrible Medusa) a type of flexible horny tree-like coral of the order Gorgonacea with eight-armed polyps.
grazer: a herbivore that eats whole plants and mainly one or a few species. See also browser.
grazing capacity= the optimum number of animals that can be supported on a particular pasture or range. See also carrying capacity.
grazing succession= a sequence of grazing by different species, each of which tending to make the habitat suitable for the next.
greywacke= (German: grauwacken; grau= grey; ) is a hard and durable grey rock with no structure (like layers). It was re-formed (metamorphosed) from sedimentary rock (with layers) under pressure and heat, between 65 and 270 million years ago. It forms the foundation of many ranges and shores of NZ. It is now also called turbidite, believed to have been laid down by deep sea turbidity currents.
groundwater= water that has accumulated beneath the surface of the soil above the first impenetrable layer. The soil is at field capacity if more rainwater can no longer be absorbed by the soil. Sometimes deep groundwater can be tapped as if it were an aquifer, providing integrated water storage to bridge periods of drought.
groundwater forest= a forest, watered by seeepage, located in an arid area.
habitat = the natural home of an organism. It is the typical place (and community) where an organism lives. What makes one habitat different from another are usually physical factors such as temperature, salinity, clarity, wave action, currents, amount of light, quality of the light, substrate, topography and less important ones. Once a community establishes itself, it often changes its surroundings, just like humans do.
hadal (zone)= (Gk: Hades= the God of the underground) the zone of ocean deeper than 6000m, usually associated with the deep troughs. See also abyssal. eco04.gif.
haemoglobin/ hemoglobin= (Gk: haima=blood) (haematin + globulin) pigment concerned with respiration, found in the red blood cells of vertebrates and in some invertebrates. It is an iron-containing pigment closely related to chlorophyll.
halophyte= (Gk: hals, halos=salt) a plant able to grow in a salty environment or salty soil.
halogen= (Gk: halos= salt; gignomai= to be born, become) any of the group of non-metallic elements, like fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, which form halides by simple usnion with a metal (like sodium chloride= salt).
hanging valley= a tributary valley in a mountainous region, which joins the main valley by a sudden sharp descent caused by glacial erosion.
haploid= (Gk: haplous= single; eidos=form) haploid organisms have a single set of chromosomes. See diploid.
hemisphere = (Gk: hemi=half; sphaira= sphere) half sphere. If one looks at the world from space, only a hemisphere is seen. But this hemisphere could be centred anywhere. When centred on the vast Pacific Ocean, the 'water' hemisphere shows far more sea than land. NZ happens to lie in that region. When centred above NZ, the hemisphere shows much water.
herbivore= (L: herba= plant; vorare=to devour) an animal that eats plants. Grazers, browsers.
heritage = anything that is inherited. The word is also used symbolically: young people 'inherit' the world as it was 'handed down' to them by the grown-ups. Kauri trees and Kiwi and the Waikato River are part of the heritage of all New Zelanders. But so is the underwater world with species that live only here in NZ waters: Spotty, Seahorse, Kahawai, Toheroa ... The list is long.
hermaphrodite= (Greek mythology: Hermes the god of commerce, and Aphrodites the goddess of love, had a son named Hermaphrodites. He became joined in one body with the nymph Salmacis, becoming both female and male within one body.) Hence an animal which is both male and female, either at the same time or at different times in their lives. See protandrous and protogynous.
hermatype: (as above, meaning two bodies in one) corals are hermatypic if their tissues contain algal cells (zooxanthella). This turns them into the most metabolically efficient animals on Earth, since they derive food direct from the algae in their bodies, which derive it direct from sunlight. Furthermore, they do not need to spend energy for grazing, hunting or catching food. The wastes of the coral animal are immediately reused by the algae. An animal with an inbuilt food chain.
heterocercal= (Gk: heteros=other; circa= round, all around)  a tail fin with unequal upper and lower lobes. See homocercal
heterotrophic= (Gk: heteros= other; trophos= feeder; other-feeder) requiring a supply of food from the environment. All animals and a few plants are heterotrophic. (opposite: holophytic, autotrophic, phototrophic)
heuristic= (Gk: heurisko= to find) allowing or assisting to discover; finding out for oneself; learning by trial and error.
hibernate= (L: hiems= winter; hibernus= wintry; hibernare) to spend the winter in a dormant state.
hierarchy= (Gk: hieros= sacred; arkhes= ruler) a system in which grades or classes of status or authority are ranked one above the other, as in organisations, governments, religions. Being able to rank objects in a certain order helps scientific thinking.
holdfast= a thing or place that holds something secure, a sucker-like root that secures a seaweed to the rock.
holiday home owners = people who own a holiday home away from where they work and live. The beachside 'bach', a small shed with the slightest of comfort, was traditionally New Zealander's 'getaway'. Such a holiday home is built in an area that is rich in space and nature but devoid of people. However, as time passes by, more and more holiday homes are built, which changes the character of the place. Those who notice so most, are the 'locals', reason for some animosity between the two groups. Both can be loud objectors against a marine reserve in their area, even though the reserve is going to safeguard the things they value most (a pristine area to enjoy outside the daily rat-race).
holistic/wholistic= (Gk: holos= whole) treating the whole rather than the symptoms.
holophytic= (Gk: holos=whole; phyton=plant) feeding like a green plant, by making organic compounds from inorganic ones, and using energy from the sun by means of photosynthesis.
holoplankton= (Gk: holos=whole; + plankton) plankton organisms which exist as plankton all their lives, like dinoflagellates, diatoms, etc. Other planktonic organisms such as fish and crab larvae, spend only their early youth as plankton.
holotype= (Gk: holos=the whole; typos=figure, type) the species used for naming and describing a species. Holotypes are carefully stored in museums around the world, because they are the ultimate reference for any named species.
holozoic= (Gk: holos= whole; zoios= animal) feeding like an animal, i.e. heterotrophic.
homocercal= (Gk: homos=the same; circa= round, all around) a tail fin with equally sized upper and lower lobes
hormone= (Gk: hormao= to impel; hormon= impelled) an organic substance produced in minute quantity in one part of an organism, then transported to other parts of the organism where it exerts a profound effect. Hormones can act as messengers between one part of an organism and others.
host= the organism in or on which a parasite lives.
hydrology= (Gk: hydros=water; logos=word/reason) the study of all water on or in Earth.
igneous= (L: ignis=fire) a descriptive term for rocks formed by the solidifying of magma on or beneath Earth's surface. Igneous rocks are usually crystalline.
indeterminate: this word is used in grading the severity of threat to an endangered species. When graded 'indeterminate', the species is under severe threat but adequate data is unavailable.
indigenous: (L: indi=in; gen=born; indigena=born into) originating naturally in a region; not introduced. But it may also occcur naturally in other regions.
individual = a single member of a class. A specimen.
infralittoral= (L: infra=below/beneath; litus/litoris= shore) the photic plant habitat zone below low tide. eco03.gif.
interpret = to explain the meaning of. There's a difference between explaining and interpreting. The word is now also loosely used for what a tour guide does.
invertebrate= the general term for an animal without a backbone. The group of invertebrata includes one-celled animals, sponges, jellyfish, worms, snails, starfish, insects and so on.
irruption= (L: in=in; rumpere= to break; forcible entry) a spontaneous migratory movement occasioned by an animal population suddenly increasing and outgrowing its food supply, thereby creating conditions that no longer support life.
island biogeography= the theory developed by R H MacArthur and E O Wilson in 1967, which proposes that the number of species inhabiting an island is a function of island area and distance from the mainland, and is determined by the relationship between the rates of species immigration and extinction.
isolate = (L: insula= island) to keep apart, to exclude. An isolated island like the Kermadec's Raoul Island, was a hard place to live. It was hard to get to in the first place, then to land on it, let alone to do any trade with.Thus it was spared somewhat.
isopod= (Gk: isos= equal; podos= foot; equal-footed) a crustacean of the order Isopoda with flattened bodies and 7 pairs of legs of nearly equal length: slaters, sea lice. Many lead a parasitic life.
isostacy= (Gk: isos=equal; stasis= station) the tendency for the Earth's crust to maintain a state of near-balance. For instance, when erosion of a mountain area occurs, or when a large ice sheet melts, compensation in the form of new uplift occurs. It explains variations in relative levels of sea and land.
jellyfish= a marine coelentherate of the class Scyphozoa having an umbrella-shaped jelly-like body and stinging tentacles.
Jurassic= a geological time period extending from 195 to 136 million years ago. See time table.

kai-moana = Maori word for seafood. Kai=food; Moana=sea. The Maori blame the Pakeha for the sad state of our fisheries. It is true that the white man with his technology has been dominant in our fisheries. But the true reason for overfishing comes from the sheer number of people (locally and overseas) demanding seafood and exports. The pressure of demand has pushed caution out of the way. Maoris also pride themselves that they have always practised conservation. But archaeological finds show clearly that this was not the case.
keartin= a tough fibrous protein, containing much sulphur, occurring in the vertebrate skin and also in hair, horn, feathers, hoof, etc.
keystone species= a species on which a large number of other species depend (feed).
lacustrine= (L: lacus=lake) pertaining to a lake. Living in or growing by a lake.
lahar= (Javanese) torrential flow of water and debris from a volcano. Often lahars are caused by the sudden melting of snow tops by volcanic eruptions.
laminarian: (L: lamina= scale, thin layer) the true kelps of the order Phaeophycea: giant kelp, stalked kelp
landscape ecology= a new branch of ecology dealing with the processes that determine pattern and function on a landscape scale.
larvae = (L: larva= ghost, mask) the just hatched marine organisms. Unlike land animals, sea creatures are born from very small eggs and have to fend for themselves while often millions of times smaller than adult size. Although born in astronomical numbers, very few survive the first year. Those who do are called 'recruits'. The death of all these larvae is part of the ecosystem - they serve as food for other organisms. In the cause of its life, a snapper larva may grow a million times its birth weight, changing diet often, according to its new size. Larvae are usually markedly different from later stages such as the juvenile or adult.
lateral line: (L: latus= the side; lateral= of the side) a sensory organ of fishes that appears as a line running along the side of the body. It consists of a canal studded with sensory organs and connected to the outside by pores through scales. The lateral line detects low frequency vibrations and pressure differences.
lava= (L: lavare=to wash) rock that has flowed in liquid form from a volcano or a fissure in Earth's crust. Pillow lava occurs when lava flows out under water, and the outer skin is rapidly chilled, forming a balloon-like or tunnel-like shape.
leaching= the washing out of soluble substances from soil or rock, by water percolating through.
learning curve = a hypothetical curve of knowledge (vertically) against time (horizontally). In the beginning, knowledge increases slowly but exponentially until it can't go any faster. Then it proceeds at a constant rate, until most is known and only the difficult bits need to be found. Then it flattens out. When training rats in a maze, indeed a similar curve is obtained from zero percent to hundred percent performance. Fast learners follow a steeper curve than slow learners.
leptocephalus= (Gk: leptos=fine, small, delicate; kephale=head; small-headed) the leaf-shaped larval form of all eels.
levee= (French: lever= to rise; levée= risen up) a natural or manmade embankment along a river or canal.
Life cycle= the cyclical sequence of different stages through which organisms pass during their lives. Stages usually include egg, larva, juvenile and adult. Adults reproduce to create the next generation of eggs, thus completing the cycle.
life history= the significant features of the life cycle of an organism.
limestone= a sedimentary rock consisting essentially of carbonates (CO3). Organic limestone is produced from shells and skeletons of animals secreting calcium carbonate (CaCO3). An example of this form of limestone is chalk.
lipids= (Gk: lipos=fat) any of a group of organic compounds that are insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents, including fatty acids, oils, waxes, and steroids.
lithosphere= (Gk: lithos = stone) the crust of Earth, inside which is the mantle and the core.
littoral: (L: litus= shore) pertaining to the shore of a lake, sea or ocean. The intertidal zone. The environment between the highest and the lowest tide levels. Littoral faunas and floras have special characteristics enabling them to survive their continuously changing conditions. supralittoral= above the intertidal zone. See also infralittoral, below the littoral zone. eco03.gif. eco04.gif.
longliners = fishermen using longlines. A longline is a long fishing line (100-1000m) baited with many hooks. It is laid down above the bottom from one weighted buoy with a flag on top, to another. Several small weights and floats may be used to keep the longline near the bottom. Fish caught by longline are of high quality. They have not been crushed in a net. They arive on board in good condition and are rapidly killed by spiking the brain in the Japanese 'ike' way, then they are rapidly cooled in brine (ice and salt).
macroalgae= (Gk: makros=long/large; + alga) seaweeds, including the larger plants of the sea that grow attached to the bottom, from high tide level on the shore down as deep as sufficient sunlight for photosynthesis penetrates. There are three classes of algae: green, brown and red algae. Large algae such as sea weeds, kelps, seagrass.
macrobenthos= (Gk: makros=large; + benthos= sea depth) organisms larger than 1mm, found on the sea/lake bottom. See also meiobenthos and microbenthos.
magma= (Gk: masso=to knead; magma= kneaded) molten, fluid rock, charged with gases and formed within the crust or upper mantle of the Earth. It may solidify into igneous= (L: ignis= fire) rock. Extruded onto Earth's surface, it becomes lava.
maintaining diversity = maintaining variety. Since each species lives in its own habitat, maintaining diversity also involves maintaining diversity of habitat.
mandible= (L: mandere= to chew) one of  two horizontally apposed teeth-like appendages on the underside of the head of a crustacean, used to crush and tear prey. Also used to denote the jaw, especially the lower jaw in mammals and fishes.
mangroves = an area with mangrove trees. The mangrove trees in New Zealand are flowering trees that have adapted to standing in the tide. This tree has overcome many problems relating to keeping salt out of its tissues while also being able to 'drink' salt water through its roots. The mangrove trees grow only in the Northern half of the North Island, being sensitive to cold. They grow in the upper reaches of an estuary where the mudflat habitat is found. Although the mudflats are assisted by mangrove trees, they don't depend on them. So mudflats are found in estuaries all over NZ.
mantle= the portion of the Earth lying betweent he crust and the core, from a depth of 35 Km to 2900 Km.
marina = specially designed harbour with moorings for pleasure craft. Many people have boats and these need moorings. In marinas they are moored such that they take up the least amount of space. Marinas are built in sheltered places, always near where people live. Marinas represent a non-destructive use of the water but they have to be built first. Fortunately the disturbed underwater communities recover quickly. Even so, marinas evoke heavy opposition from locals.
marine biologist = a graduate trained in the biology of the sea. To become a marine biologist, one must follow a university course. During the course one gets trained in the basic biology of plants and animals. A certain amount of mathematics, physics, chemistry and biochemistry is also learned. In the last years the study focuses on marine subjects. A marine biologist is trained to follow a study through with field work, laboratory work, mathematical analysis and precise reporting.
marine farms = the cropping or rearing of marine organisms. (Oysters, Mussels, Salmon and recently also Paua). Each species has its own preferred method of farming.
marine industries = industries involved with the sea, ranging from boat building to fisheries.
marine laboratory = a building fitted out for experiments relating to the sea. A marine laboratory must have a circulating saltwater system. Salt water is pumped from the sea and circulated through experimental and holding tanks. A gravity-feeding salt water storage is kept in case of pump or power failure. A marine laboratory also has access to an area in the sea that is protected for the sake of conducting marine experiments in the sea. It also has one or more boats and an array of diving equipment.
marine snow= organic aggregates of living and dead matter and jelly/mucus, to which bacteria may adhere. Marine snow is much larger (0.5-2cm) than the microscopic organisms living on it, so that it can easily be caught by larger fish living in the dark deep zones.
maritime = connected with the sea or seafaring.
market = a demand for a commodity or service. A market-driven economy (as NZ has become in recent years) is driven by the demand for its products or services. The demand is in turn created and increased by 'marketing', and advertising. The overriding profit motive is insensitive to conservation.
medusa= (Greek mythology: Medousa is a Gorgon with snakes instead of hair) free-swimming bell- or umbrella- shaped form of a coelenterate (e.g. jellyfish). The medusa produces sexually and the fertilised eggs grow into polyps.
meiobenthos= (Gk: meion= less; benthos= sea depth) benthic (bottom-living) organisms in size between 0.1 and 1mm; the larger microbes, consisting of foraminiferans, turbellarians, polychate worms, filling the roles of nutrient recylers, decomposers, primary producers and predators.
meristem= (Gk: meros=part; merizo= to divide; meristos= divisible) a region of actively growing cells in algae. From the meristem new fronds grow.
meroplankton= (Gk: meros= part/partial; + plankton) plankton organisms which spend only part of their lives in the plankton, like the larvae of many sessile benthic organisms (sea squirts, sponges, oysters, etc) and free moving ones (snails, crabs, lobsters, etc.).
mesopelagic= (Gk: mesos=middle; pelagos= ocean) living in the open sea between 200 and 1000m depth
Mesozoic= (Gk: mesos=middle; zoion= animal) the geological era from 225 to 65 million years ago. It comprises the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The most spectacular elements of the mesozoic fauna were giant reptiles such as dinosaurs. See time table.
microalgae= (Gk: mikros= small; + alga) the microscopic plants (single-celled or colonies of cells) of the sea that are found wherever there is enough light for photosynthesis. They include a high diversity within the taxonomic classes: green, yellow-green, yellow-brown, golden-brown, brown, red, and blue-green algae.
microbe= (Gk: mikros= small; bios= life) a minute living being, a micro-organism.
microbenthos= (Gk: mikros= small; + benthos= sea depth) benthic (bottom-living) organisms smaller than 0.1mm, including diatoms (producers), bacteria (decomposers and producers) and ciliates.
microbial symbiont= a micro organism (bacterium, protozoan, yeast) living in a symbiontic relationship in or on a host organism. Like those inside the rumen (stomach) of cattle to digest cellulose. See also symbiosis.
migration= (L: migrare= to move/travel) moving actively from one place to another by crawling, swimming, flying. The extent of the ocean horizontally is vast, and places which differ in temperature, are located far apart. Horizontal migrations (transoceanic migrations) are done most successfully by large organisms (enjoying economics of scale), which also have sufficient reserves to survive long periods of famine. Many organisms in the sea migrate vertically from the dark aphotic zone lacking food to the sunlit zone where food abounds. Such migrations take only 100-800m each day.
mimicry= the adoption by one species of animal of the colour, habits or structure of another species to gain protection or camouflage. Mimicry is particularly common among insects.
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries = (MAF) the department charged with the interests in agriculture and fisheries. It has been split up into MAF, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and MoF, Ministry of Fisheries.
Miocene= the geological epoch from 26 to 7 million years ago. See time table.
mitigation= (L: mitis= mild; mitigare) to make milder or less intense or severe; to moderate.
mitochondrion= (Gk: mitos= thread; chondros= granule; chondrion= small granule) a thread-like body, several of which occur in every living cell. Mitochondria are associated with enzymes, especially those to do with cell respiration. Mitochondrial DNA is quite separate from nucleus DNA and is passed only from mother to offspring. Measuring the many (harmless) mutations in mitochondrial DNA, scientists are able to substantiate kinship between groups of organisms and thus influence their ranking in the taxonomic classification of living things.
mollusc/ mollusk= a member of a large phylum of invertebrate animals (Mollusca), characterised by soft, unsegmented bodies and usually having a calcareous shell. Shells, snails, slugs, clams, octopus, squid, etc.
monocotyledon= (Gk: monos= single; kotule=cup; kotuledon= cup shaped cavity)  a flowering plant characterised chiefly by a single seed leaf (cotyledon) and by an endogenous (growing from within) mode of growth. See also dicotyledon.
monoculture= the intensive or protracted culture of a single species of plant or animal.
monoecious= (Gk: monos= single; oikos=house) having both male and female reproductive organs on the same individual. See hermaphrodite and dioecious.
monogamous= (Gk: monos= signle; gamos= marriage) having only a single mate. See also polygamous.
monotypic= a genus comprising only one species, or a species not divisible into subspecies.
mucilaginous: (L: mucus = slime) secreting slime.
mutation= (L: mutare=to change) a sudden change in a gene, caused by a change in the molecules of DNA. The gene so changed can reproduce itself in the usual manner. If the mutation occurs in the DNA of sex cells, the mutant gene can be inherited by the offspring.
mutualism= (L: mutare= to change/revert; reciprocal) a symbiontic relationship between different organisms in which both partners benefit.
mycorrhizae= (Gk; mykes= mushroom; rhiza=root) a largely symbiotic relationship between fungi and vascular plants giving the plant increased uptake of water and nutrients (nitrogen), in return of sugars and carbohydrates for the fungus.
mysid= () a small shrimp-like crustacean belonging to the order Mysidacea. They carry their eggs in a pouch.
nacre= (Spanish: nacar) the mother-of-pearl from any shelled mollusc. Many molluscs make shells consisting of limestone (calcium carbonate, CaCO3), but they cover the insides of their shells in a much harder substance, which protects them against shell-boring worms and attacks from outside. It also gives them a much better surface to attach their bodies to. However, both forms of limestone dissolve in acids like hydrochloride stomach acid (HCl). Boring whelks use this acid for drilling round holes into the shell, entering the shell through this hole with their long proboscis (trunk). Fragments of nacre are often found in the sea sand. Mother-of-pearl has long been commercially valuable. It has been used for ornamentation, in the manufacture of buttons, and in the inlay for various works of art, particularly those made of wood and silver. People of many island cultures have bartered mother-of-pearl for other goods. Today, mother-of-pearl is commonly used in making jewellery, such as pearl necklaces, and for decorative pocketknife handles, etc.
native= a local inhabitant, born there. Not necessarily synonymous with endemic (e.g. Cabbage Trees and Pukeko are also found in Australia).
natural population level = the population level attained in a natural way. Central to this concept is the notion that there exists such a thing as 'a population level'. Indeed in complex communities of many species, population levels remain somewhat constant. But in disturbed communities (such as exploited ones), population levels can oscillate quite profoundly.
natural process = natural course, as opposed to human-made or human-induced series of changes.
natural refuge = a natural shelter from pursuit or danger. It could be said that the sea has no more natural refuges. Where could one hide from exploitation? Isn't the sea accessible and fishable and exploited everywhere? Hence the need for marine reserves.
nauplius= (Gk: Nauplios is the son of the god of the sea, Poseidon or Neptune for the Romans) the first larval forms of many crustaceans (naupliosoma).
nekton= (Gk: nekho= to swim; nektos= swimming) animals that swim actively in the water, including fishes and whales. Free swimming plankton organisms like krill, are called either micronekton or macrozooplankton.
nematocyst= (Gk: nema= thread; nematode= thready thing; cystis= bladder) a cyst like structure of nettle cells in cnidaria, comprising a poisonous barbed thread discharged on touch.
nemertian= (Gk: nema= thread) a predatory worm belonging to the Phylum Nemertea. These roundworms range from a millimetre to 30m! Those found in Antarctica are some of the largest.
neoclassical economics= (Gk/L: neos=new; classis= assembly) the dominant school of economic thought, is founded on the idea of economic man: individual producers and consumers who behave predictably because they make calculated decisions according to their consciously developed “objective function” to maximize profits or utility, respectively.
neritic= (Gk: Nereus is the sea god; Nereis his daughter) inhabiting the sea over the continental shelf (Neritic province).
niche= (French: cove, cell, cubby-hole), an ecological term for the role an organism plays in a community and environment, including the habitat it occupies and the food it eats. Niche organisms are not the mainstream organisms making up the bulk of the food web, but their existence is incidental although they may depend on some mainstream organisms. Nich organisms add considerably to biodiversity.
nivation= (French. nive=snow) the disintegration of rocks around a patch of snow, brought about by alternate freezeing and thawing.
nocturnal= (L: nox=night; nocturnal= of the night) (of an animal): active at night and resting during the day.
nomenclature= (L: nomen= an ancient Roman's second name; calare= to call; name call) the scientific naming of species and other scientifically recognised categories of animals and other organisms in which they are classified.
non-destructive use = having one's cake by not eating it. Examples of non-destructive use are: education and eco-tourism. Is sustainable use destructive use?
non-target species = species that were not targeted in the fisheries. By-catches. While fishing for Orange Roughy, with a quota for this 'target' species, also other species are found in the nets. Since non-target species are also caught in the process of fishing for others, we cannot get a clear idea of their natural population levels.
no-take = non-extractive. To leave things alone and not even disturb them.
nucleus= (biol): a ball of dense material bounded by a membrane and containing the chromosomes. Nuclei are found in the cells of all living organisms except viruses, and they are the controlling mechanisms of the cells.

observation = the act of noticing. Scientists need to be able to make observations that are not disturbed by the actions of others.
oceanic (province)= the area of the oceans outside the continental shelf. eco04.gif.
odontoceti= (Gk: odont= tooth; ketos= whale) see toothed whales.
offshore = synonymous to 'away from the mainland'. The further offshore a place is, the harder it is to get there to exploit it.
Oligocene= a geological epoch lasting from 38 to 26 million years ago. See time table.
omnivorous= (L: omni=all/ of all things; vorare= to devour) eating both plant and animal food. Omnivores are not specific to any food source, and this gives them ecological resilience, while spending little energy on foraging. It allows them to inhabit many biomes.
ontogeny= (Gk: on,ont=beings; geny= production/development/forming) the whole course of development of an individual's life history.
Ordovician= a geological period lasting from 500 to 440 million years ago. See time table.
organism= (Gk: organon=tool; Fr: organisme= living being) an individual living creature
orogeny= (Gk: oros=mountain; geny=forming) a period of mountain building which could last for millions of years. orogenesis is the process of mountain building, such as folding, faulting and thrusting of the earth's surface.
osmosis= (Gk: osmos=to push) the transport of molecules in a liquid through a semi-permeable membrane into a more concentrated solution, until the concentration of molecules on both sides of the membrane are the same. Osmosis plays a decisive part in controlling the water distribution in living things. In diffusion, molecules travel from a more concentrated solution to a less concentrated one.
ostracod= (Gk: ostrakon= shell; shelly thing) a small relative of the lobster resembling bivalved shellfish but having crustacean legs in the shell. They are common in sediments and often swim at night.
otoliths= (Gk: otos=ear; lithos=stone) the internal earbones of a fish, often sectioned to show growth rings that can be used for estimating age.
outdoor education = education outside the classroom in outdoor pursuits.
ovoparous, oviparous= (L: ovum=egg) a form of reproduction in which eggs are produced and hatched outside the female's body. See viviparous and ovoviviparous.
ovoviviparous= a form of reproduction in which eggs are produced and stored inside the female's body so that the young are born fully developed.

palaeobotany= (Gk: palaios= ancient) the branch of palaeontology relating to fossil plants.
palaeontology= (Gk: palaios= ancient; on/eimi= being/to be; logos= reason) the science of forms of life existing in former geological periods, as represented by fossil plants and animals.
paleocene epoch: (Gk: palaios= ancient; cainos= new) between 54.8 and 65 million years ago. See time table.
paleozoic era: (Gk: palaios= ancient; zoion= animal) 248 to 570 million years ago.
palustrine= (L: palus= marsh) relating to a marsh.
panarchy= (Gk: pan= all/ the whole of; arkes=ruler; ruled by all) describes the evolving nature of complex adaptive systems, encapsulating how novelty and change coexist in a context of persistence and stability. It resolves the paradox of change and stability.
paradigm= (Gk: para=beside/ past/ beyond ; deiknumi=show) an example or pattern (set) of thinking. By looking at a problem from a distance, often new insight can be gained.
parapatric= (Gk: para= biside/beyond; patria/patrius= fatherland) referring to populations with contiguous but not overlapping geographic ranges. See also sympatric and allopatric.
parasite= (L/Gk: para= beside, past, beyond; sitos=food; parasitos= someone who eats at someone else's table) an organism living in or on another organism, the host, at the latter's expense, and without being of use in return.
parthenogenesis= (Gk: parthenos=virgin; genesis= origin/formation) the development of an ovum, without being fertilised, into a new individual. Reproduction by a male gamete without fertilisation, as is normal for invertebrates and lower plants.
pathogen= (Gk: pathos= suffering; genes= born/become/kind; of the suffering kind) disease-causing micro-organism, bacterium or virus.
pectoral fins= (L: pectus= breast; pectoris= of the breast) paired fins on the front part of a fish's body, usually below or immediately behind the gill slits. (breast fins)
pelagic= (Gk: pelagos=ocean) living in the open sea, and not normally associated with the bottom. eco04.gif.
pelvic fins= (L: pelvis=basin, hipbone) paired fins on the lower surface of a fish's body, either near the anus or immediately below the gill slits. (hipfins)
peneplain= (L: paene= almost) a tract of land reduced almost to a plain by erosion.
Permian= geological period lasting from 280 to 225 million years ago. See time table.
petrification/ petrifaction= (Gk: petros=stone; petra=rock) the gradual replacement of a dead organism by an inorganic substance (usually lime) so that the original is apparently 'turned to stone'. A form of fossilisation.
pharyngial teeth= teeth in the pharynx
pharynx= part of the gut immediately behind the mouth cavity, which in fishes is usually muscular and armed with teeth to crush and cut up food items.
phenotype= (Gk: phaino= shine, show; phainomai= to appear; typus= impression) individuals genetically grouped together by similar traits such as form, function or behaviour (as opposed to chemical or DNA properties).
photic: relating to light. The photic zone in the sea is where light is strong enough to enable plants to photo-synthesise. Because some plants are more sensitive to light than others, it is difficult to say to which depth the photic zone extends. This is further complicated by plankton organisms migrating up and down and by water masses being mixed by currents. eco04.gif.
photophores= light-emitting organs possessed by some fishes
photosynthesis= the process by which plant cells make glucose from carbon dioxide, water and sunlight, using chlorophyll as catalyst. during the process, solar energy is stored in the carbohydrate molecules. This energy becomes available to animals eating and digesting the plant material, and to organisms which break down dead material.
phototroph= (Gk: photos=light; trophos= feeder; feeding off light) single-celled bacteria and protists in the sea ranging between 0.5-1.0 micrometre producing most of the ocean's primary production. These ultra small organisms grow fast, providing food to the smallest of planktonic heterotrophs (other-feeders). See also autotroph= self-feeder.
phyllosoma= (Gk: phyllon= leaf; soma= body; leaf-bodied) the second and subsequent larval stages of a crayfish when it looks like a leaf rather than a crayfish.
phylogeny= (Gk: phylon=tribe; genesis=origin) evolutionary history of an organism; racial history.
physical environment = material conditions affecting the life and growth of plants and animals. Temperature, salinity, dissolved nutrients, suspended particles, topography, substrate and so on.
physiology= the study of the chemical processes occurring in living things.
phyto-plankton = (Gk: phyton=plant) suspended microscopic plant organisms, ususlly drifting in the sunlit surface waters.
pioneer species= the first species to colonise a barren area, beginning a new successional sequence.
placoid scales= (Gk: plax/placos=flat plate) small scales consisting of a hard base and a tooth-like backward projection, embedded in the skin of sharks.
plankton= (Gk: planktos= wandering/ drifting) a collective term for the small plants and animals which float and drift in surface waters. Phytoplankton is the plant component and zooplankton the animal component. Netplankton is the plankton caught in a 70 micron mesh (a hair's width) and is easily visible under a good microscope. Nannoplankton comprises much smaller forms of plankton visible only with a very high-powered microscope, usually a scanning electron microscope (SEM). In geology nannoplankton is very important in correlating the oldest sedimentary rocks. Picoplankton is even smaller.
pleiomorphism= the occurrence of an organism in a number of different forms.
Pleistocene= a geological epoch lasting from 2 million to 20,000 years ago. See timetable.
pleuston= (Gk: pleura= side of the body) living on the surface of the water. Some jellyfish like the by-the-wind sailer and Portuguese man-of-war, and some snails live just underneath or on top of the ocean's surface.
plutonic= (Gk: Plouton, L: Plutonius, Pluto god of the underworld) geological term describing rocks formed deep in Earth.
polder= (Dutch) a tract of low-lying land, reclaimed from the sea, and protected by dykes. The Dutch reclaimed land by building a dyke around a lake or sea arm, and a ring canal on its outside. Water was then pumped from the lake into the ring canal (by windmills), and discharged into rivers or sea. The dried up lake then became a polder. Many Dutch live in polders beneath sea level.
policy = a course or principle of action (course, rule, plan, scheme).
pollution= (L: polluere= to defile, contaminate) the contamination of a natural ecosystem by wastes from human activities. The contaminants may be nutrients, that initially stimulate growth of primary producers, or they may be chronic toxins.
polyandrous= (Gk: polloi= many; andros= man) characterised by a single female having more than one male partner. See also polygynous.
polygynous= (Gk: polloi= many; gyne=woman) characterised by a sinlge male having more than one female partner. See also polyandrous.
polyp= (L: polypus= many-footed) one of two basic body forms in the Phylum Cnidaria (stinging flower animals), the other being the medusa. Some cnidarians are exclusively polyps whether solitary (anemones) or colonial (corals). Others are solely medusae (some planktonic forms) and still others alternate between polyp and medusa (many hydroids and most jellyfish).
population = (L: populus=people; populare=to inhabit) the inhabitants of a place, usually meaning the number of specimens of one species. It is often very difficult to estimate the population of a species: obscurity, migrations, occurring in few but dense patches and so on.
population viability= (L; vita= life) the concept of a minimal number of individuals representing the threshold between survival versus extinction.
precipitation= (L: prae=before; caput=head; praecipitare= to throw head-long) atmospheric condensation appearing in the form of mist or fog or falling as rain, snow or hail.
predator= (L: praeda= booty/plunder) an animal whose way of life is based upon killing other animals for food.
primary production= the production of new organic material by photosynthesis; the basis of the food chain.
principle = (L: principium= source, foundation) fundamental truth or law as the basis for reasoning.
process = (L: pro=for/forward ;cedere= to go; procedere= to go forward) the progress or course of something. A natural or involuntary series of changes. Growing old is a one way process. Most natural processes, however, have a cause and an effect. The effect is usually the cause of another process such that natural processes are intertwined in complicated ways.
production = (L: pro=for/forward; ducere=to lead; to lead toward) the act or an instance of producing; the process of being manufactured. Mankind has often seen extraction from the sea as a form of production. But extraction from the sea is like harvesting without seeding. Nature does the growing and the nurturing whereas mankind does only the harvesting. It is more akin to hunting.
productivity= the rate of biological production in an ecosystem. Primary productivity is the rate of transformation of solar or chemical energy to living material (biomass). Production refers to the amount produced, whereas productivity is the rate of production.
profit = (L: pro=for/toward; facere=to do; for doing) financial gain. Not so long ago before refrigeration and global marketing, people took from the sea as much as they needed. Once their hunger was stilled, the need for fishing subsided. It was a process with negative feedback, which led to stability. But fishing for profit has changed all that. Now it is a process with positive feedback: the more profit, the more need for more fishing. It leads to instability and overfishing.
prokaryote= (Gk: pro=for/ in favour; karyon= kernel) an organism in which the chromosomes are not separated from the cytoplasm by a membrane (bacterium). See also eukaryote.
pronk= to make stiff-legged leaps high into the air. Certain mountain goats pronk.
prosimian= (L: pro= before; simia=ape; simus= flat-nosed) a suborder of primates (the highest order of vertebrates, which includes monkeys, apes and man) that accommodates the three shrews, lemurs, lorisers, tarsiers, bushbabies, and their relatives.
protandrous hermaphrodite= (Gk: protos=first; andros=man/male) animal that starts life as a male but later changes sex. See also protogynous and hermaphrodite and simultaneaous hermaphrodite.
protista= unicellular organisms of the kingdom Protista. They have a distinct internal cellular structure. Examples: protozoa and unicellular algae, but NOT bacteria and blue-green algea, which are more primitive.
protogynous hermaphrodite= (Gk: protos=first; gyne=woman; gynos=female) animal that starts life as a female but later changes sex.
protozoa= (Gk: protos= original/first; zoion= animal; first animal) a group of single-celled protista, which require an organic food source because they cannot synthesise food from nutrients and sunlight. Therefore they are often considered more animal-like than plant-like.
pseudopod (-ium)= (Gk: pseudes= false; pseudos= falsehood; false, purporting to be + podos= foot) a temporary protusion of citoplasm for movement, feeding, etc.
public democratic process = the writer means 'in a democratical way'. The public should have a say in how we are exploiting our natural resources. Unfortunately the pendulum has swung far towards free enterprise and exploitation for short term gain. Through the imperfections in our democracies, vested commercial interests often have it their way.
public domain = belonging to the people as a whole; not subject to private interest or copyright. Check out what has happened to our forests, fisheries, energy generation, fresh water supply, waste water treatment, oil and gas reserves.
public meeting = a meeting to inform the public about plans that may affect them, in order to obtain feedback. For the establishment of marine reserves it is important that people give their support. People oppose a marine reserve because it may restrict them in what they used to do. They are often misinformed and fearful.
public-spirited = having a willingness to engage in community action.
puerulus= (L: puer= boy; puerilis= immature, childish) the transparent, non-feeding post-larval stage of a crayfish that swims back inshore in search of a suitable settlement habitat. It already looks like a miniature crayfish.
pyroclastic rock= (Gk: pyr=fire; klastos= broken in pieces) fragments of volcanic material blown into the air during an explosion. Some are thrown out of the volcano as solid fragments (rocks); others (e.g. pumice, scoria) are made from liquid globules, which have solidified in the air and landed on Earth as solids.

Quaternary= the most recent geological era, from 2 million years ago to present. The Quaternary consists of Pleistocene and Recent periods. See time table.
questionnaires = a formulated series of questions, especially for statistical study. The problem with questionnaires (and referendums) is that it is assumed that the reader has been informed objectively and that widespread discussion has preceded the questionnaire. Questionnaires by their very nature are not meant to inform.

radiolarians= (L: radius= spoke (in a wheel); radiolus= small spoke) any marine protozoan of the order Radialaria, having a siliceous skeleton and radiating pseudopodia.
rain shadow= the leeward side of a mountain range receiving little or no rain owing to the prevailing rain-bearing winds having already deposited it on the weather side. Furthermore, falling winds compress and warm up, thereby becoming dry.
raised beach= a wave-cut platform, withor without covering of beach deposits, raised above the present sea level.
range= the distributional area in which a species occurs.
raptor= (L: rapere= to seize; rapt= seized; raptor= ravisher/plunderer) bird of prey, like owl, falcon, etc..
rare: used for species that are neither endangered nor vulnerable but may be at risk because of low populations and low densities. In 1980 Rabinowitz described seven classes of rarity, depending on abundance, habitat specificity and geographic distribution.
recent= the geological era from 20,000 years ago to present.
receptacle= (L: capere= to take; recipere= to recieve; receiving end) the part of an alga bearing reproductive structures.
reclamation = to bring under cultivation what was under water. The shores of sheltered harbours are shallow and flat, ideal for expanding the city.
recruitment= (L: crescere= to grow; recrescere= to grow again) appearance of new organisms in a population. In fishery it means the entry of fishable individuals.
reef fish = the fish living on or around rocky or coral reefs. In the narrow fringes around our coast live the highest number of marine species (most bio-diverse). These species are threatened by industrial pollution, sewage and land erosion, particularly near dense human populations.Although varied, reef fish are seldom numerous and reproduce slowly. They are thus very sensitive to overfishing.
refugium/refugia= (L: re= again, anew; fugere= to flee) refuge, sanctuary. A shelter from pursuit or danger or trouble. In an ecological sense, a refuge is an important quality of an ecosystem. It enables threatened species (by humans or predation) to shelter and survive in their niches. From here they can multiply. Refuges provide resilience against wholesale predation. A refugium is an area which has escaped from major climatic changes that have occurred all around (e.g. 'just missed the glacier').
regional park = a park managed by a regional authority. Regional parks are usually found around big cities and they are important recreational assets for the city dweller. A regional park is a kind of reserve that is protected in some way or other. It stands to reason then to consider the marine environment adjacent to an existing regional park urgent candidate for conservation.
relict= (L: relinquere= to leave; relict= left behind) remnant pockets of plants or animals which are all that remains of once much larger populations. A geological or other object surviving in its primitive form. An animal or plant known to have existed in the same form in  previous geological ages (relictual species).
remnant = (French: remenoir= to remain) a small remaining quantity. A joke asks how to end up with a small fortune? To start with a big fortune. Likewise, mankind has interfered so much with his environment that all our coastal environments are but remnants of the richness that once was.
representative reserves = a reserve typical of a common environment. We are inclined to protect the exceptional, thereby doing injustice to the typical. Typical environments such as plain sandy or muddy seabottoms are equally worthy of protection.
representing = being typical of.
residence = an abode, a place where people live. Residential dwelling is accompanied by major changes to our environment: landscaping, roading, reticulation. It is cheaper to house people close together in a city-like environment. This also concentrates the problems.
resilience= (L: re= again; salire= to jump; resalire= to rebound; springiness) the degree to which an (eco) system's structure and functioning can be disturbed and yet rebound to its original state. elasticity, flexibility.
resource= (L: re-, red- = again, anew; surgere= to rise) 1) the means availabe to fulfil an end, to fulfil a function 2) stock or supply that can be drawn on.
Resource Management Act = an act of the NZ parliament that spells out policies towards sustainable use of all resources.
RMA=Resource Management Act
respiration= L: re= again, repeatedly; spirare= to breathe) breathing air. The process of taking in oxygen and giving off carbon dioxide by living things. The term is also applied to the act of breathing in higher animals.
restoration ecology= (Gk: stauros= paling, palisade, fence of posts; L: restaurare= to restore, rebuild) the study of theoretical principles and applications in population and community ecology aimed to restore and rehabilitate highly disturbed or degraded ecosystems to their more natural state.
rhetoric= (Gk: rhetorike) The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing by logic, intuition, art, music, poetry, revelation, metaphor, story-telling, myth, exaggeration, and even illogical means.  Language designed to persuade.
riparian= (L: ripa= bank) pertaining to the bank of a river or lake.
rocks = a hard material of the earth's crust. Seaweeds and sitting (sessile) organisms need to attach themselves to a secure base material (substrate). Rocks can be depended on because they wear slowly. But there are several kinds of rock, each inviting different lifeforms and providing different topography: granite (very hard and smooth), greywacke (hard with vertical cracks and caves), sandstone (layered soft stone with deep undercuts and overhangs) and so on.
rugose= (L: ruga=wrinkle; rugosus= wrinkled) wrinkled or corrugated.
run-off = an amount of rainfall which is carried off an area by streams and rivers. Runoff contains dissolved chemicals (nutrients, fertiliser, pollution) and suspended particles from soil erosion. Run-off is New Zealands biggest threat to its marine environment.
salinisation= (L: sals= salt) the process by which soluble salts accumulate in or on the soil.
salinity= concentration of salt in water, usually measured in parts per thousand (ppt). Seawater salinity is about 37 or 3.7%.
salp= any free-swimming oceanic tunicate (seasquirt)
sandstone= a sedimentary rock with more than 50% of sand-sized grains of minerals or rock. Can have a silt or clay matrix or a carbonate cementing the grains together.
saprophyte= (Gk: sapros=putrid; phyton=plant) an organism depending on dead organic remains for its food, e.g. mushrooms and many forms of bacteria. The activities of saprophytic bacteria are immensely important, as they make available to living organisms much of the content of the dead matter in an acceptable form. Part of the plankton is also saprophytic but very little is known about it.
scallop dredges = apparatus to scoop up Scallops. Scallops are clams that lie flat on their convex (round) side, burrowed slightly in the sea bottom. A Scallop dredge has combed teeth (tines) that scrape through the bottom to bring the Scallops to the surface and into the trailing catch bag. In doing so, it ploughs the seabottom, causing environmental changes similar to ploughing land.
scenario=  (L: scena= tent, stage, scene) a postulated sequence of future events.
schist= a metamorphic rock in which most of the minerals are arranged in a parallel fashion; the rock splits along the parallel lines and has a characteristic striated appearance.
schlerophyll= (?) plants with thickened and tough leaves.
scoria= (Gk: skor=dung; skoria= refuse) slag-like fragments of pyroclastic material that have been ejected from a volcano in liquid form. Piles of scoria can form cones or mounds (Rangitoto Island).
seabed = the ocean floor.
seaweeds = any of various algae growing in the sea. Plants form the basis of all foodwebs. Seaweeds can be likened to the forests and pastures on the land. But there are major differences. Most marine plantlife is found in the phytoplankton drifting in the top layer of all oceans. On land no such equivalent exists. Seaweeds don't need roots to tap moisture and nutrients from the soil. They soak these up with their flat thin fronds.
sedentary= (L: sedere= to sit; sedentarius= sitting) those animals that live attached to the substratum but may be able to move somewhat like anemones. See also sessile.
sediment = (L: sedere=to sit; sedimentum=deposition) matter that is carried by wind or water and is then deposited on the surface of the land or the sea bottom.
sedimentary rock= rock formed by consolidation of sediments.
sediment-dominated = mainly sediment.
semi-permeable membrane= a membrane that allows not all of a liquid to pas through it, but only some of the substances dissolved in it. The permeability of different membranes varies.
semi-transparent layer = partly allowing light to pass through. Run-off in the Milford Sounds contains very little clay (sediment) particles but dissolved tannins (like tea water). The clear layer of 'tea' acts like a colour filter, changing the quality of the light and thus the most important requirement for plant life. Sessile organisms such as Black Coral which normally live much deeper, are found within diving depth inside these sounds.
sequester= (L: sequestrare= to commit for safekeeping) to set apart. Sequestrate= to chemically bind an ion so that it cannot react. Carbondioxide sequestration= the permanent binding of this gas, taking it our of circulation.
sessile= (L: sedere= to sit) fixed, not mobile. Sessile animals include barnacles and corals.
settlement= the process by which a larva or juvenile leaves the pelagic environment and adopts a benthic existence.
sewage scheme = a systematic plan to treat sewage. Sewage contains half-fermented food that needs to be broken down further by bacteria. In the process much oxygen is needed. Hence the requirement of vast shallow ponds, usually reclaimed from an estuary.
shallows = the marine environment located close to the surface. Here the influences of waves, wind, tides, sun and cooling are most pronounced. Yet in these exacting circumstances an amazingly rich community is found, which is easy to study.
shell banks = shells heaped up by currents and winds.
sial= the upper part of Earth's crust, composed mainly of silica (Si) and aluminimu (Al). The SIAL lies above the heavier SIMA, in which silica and magnesium predominate.
sill= a horizontal sheet of igneous rock found between other rocks, and formed whent he molten igneous rock forced itself into cracks and crevices.
silt= (Norwegian: sylt) sediment deposited by water.
siltation= the deposition of fine-grained sediments (mud and sand). The finer the sediment, the longer it takes to settle or strand, and the more readily it is disturbed.
Silurian= geological period from 440 to 395 million years ago. See time table.
simultaneous hermaphrodite= an animal that is at the same time a functioning male as well as a funtioning female.
slough= (?) (say: sluf) a tract of soft muddy ground. A marshy or reed-covered pool, pond or inlet. To slough= to collapse or slide into a depression.
solstice= (L: sol= sun; stare= to stand) the two occasions when the sun is furthest north or south of the equator. Summer solstice is 21st June, winter solstice is 22nd December, for the Northern Hemisphere.
sorus/sori= (Gk: sorus= heap) a group or patch of reproductive structures (usually sporangia) on the blade of an alga.
source = a place or thing from which something originates (like a spring).
speciation= the process by which new species are formed.
species= (L: specere=to look; species= appearance, kind, beauty) a natural group of organisms, the members of which interbreed to give similar offspring. The smallest unit of classification commonly used. The abbreviation for the singular is sp. for the plural spp. The definition of species not only specifies that all members interbreed but also that they can not interbreed with other species. Where subspecies are recognised, these could physically interbreed but are geographically separated.
species diversity= the number of species in a region.
speciation= the formation of one or more species from a common ancestor.
species list = a list of species encountered in an area. This is the most basic scientific observation: just checking off which plant and animal species are found. One level further is also recording abundance: the number of encounters of each species. A further level still is describing communities. Most of our knowledge of the sea has not gone further than species lists.
specimen = an individual taken as an example of a class, especially when used for scientific examination. See also holotype.
spiracle= (L: spirare= to breath) the first gill slit in many fish, usually closed up in the adult. In higher animals the spiracle becomes part of the middle ear. The spiracle developed in a dorsal opening into the gill cavity of sharks and rays that enables water to be drawn through the gills when the mouth is closed or when lying on the bottom.
sponge = aquatic animal of the phylum Porifera, with pores in its body wall and a rigid skeleton. Sponges are very primitive animals, colonies of individuals, that evolved early in the history of the earth. They are attached to the substrate and filter the water for phyto plankton.
spore= a reproductive body or bundle of cells which becomes detached from the parent and grows into a new individual. A spore is usually very small and has a thick, resistant wall. Spores may be produced in large numbers to increase the population; however, some organisms may form resting spores during unfavourable conditions. Spores are produced by all groups of plants, by bacteria and by protozoa. A sporophyll is a leaf bearing a spore-producing organ. A sporophyte is the spore-bearing stage in the life cycle of some plants. A spore may contain half the number of chromosomes of its parents (similar to a reproductive cell), and grow into an alternative form of that species. This alternate form then produces sexual reproductive cells (gametes) that fuse to produce an individual of the original spore-producing type. This latter type of life cycle exhibits alternation of generations, which is typical of many plants (ferns, mosses) and algae.
sporangium/sporangia= a uni- or multi-cellular structure in which spores are produced and may be contained.
stability= (L: stare= to stand; stabilis= stable, firm) the ability of an (eco) system to retain its structure and functioning in the presence of disturbances. See also resilience.
starfish = an echinoderm of the class Asteroidea with five or more arms.
stipe= (L: stipes= log, tree trunk) the stalk that keeps the fronds of large brown algae off the reef, particularly noticeable in the stalked kelp and bullkelp.
stochastic= (Gk: stochos= aim, guess; stochazomai= to aim at; to guess) determined by a random distribution of probabilities. Random, haphazardly.
stock refuge = a place where stock can shelter from pursuit or danger or trouble. How would this work in the sea?
stock support = to keep stock from falling or failing.
stratum, strata= (L: stratum= a bed cover, blanket, pavement) a layer of rock laid down on top of another. Stratigraphy is the study of stratified rocks, especially their sequence in time.
stress= an environmental factor that has a negative effect on an organism, a species or a community.
stromatolite= (Gk: stroma= framework/ cover; lithos= stone) a calacareous fossil frame made by many ancient reef-building algae.
sub-antarctic = regions immediately North of the antarctic circle.
sub-tidal = the area beneath low tide level. eco03.gif. eco04.gif.
succession= (L: sub= under/close to/ toward; cedere= to yield/go) alternating populations of life forms after a large disturbance in the ecosystem. Fast growing organisms (opportunists like weeds), also reproduce fast while living short. They are well suited for occupying space rapidly. These organisms often change the environment (like soil) to prepare colonisation by other slower growing species. Various populations of species succeed one another before a stable equilibrium is reached.
supra-littoral= the zone between neap high tide and spring high tide. eco03.gif.
suspended organic matter= floating particles derived from the breakdown of seaweeds, plankton, fish and other organisms, typically occurring with bacteria and other micro-organisms.
suspension feeding= filtering food suspended in the water, like sponges and seasquirts do.
sustainability= (L: sub=under/toward; tenere= to hold; keeping toward) activity maintained continuously over a long period. Sustainability is an ambiguous word, since it is used for economic sustainability= paying its way, but not necessarily forever. Environmental sustainability= maintaining the environmental but not necessarily composition and quality. Sustainable development= see above.
sustainable development= development with a view of being sustainable. It is an ambiguous (double-meaning) expression, since development involves increased or new exploitation, which is not sustainable because the Earth is limited.
sustainable yield= the number of animals of the amount of plant material that may be periodically removed from a population without affecting total supply. The amount of exploitation that can be sustained.
sustaining the stocks = maintaining the stocks.
symbiosis= (Gk: syn=with, together, alike; bios=life; living together) the living together of two different organisms to their mutual advantage. The term is applied especially to situations where one organism lives inside the other. (e.g. algae living inside a fungus, together forming a lichen) (e.g. algae living inside coral polyps).
sympatric= (Gk: syn=with; patria/patrius= fatherland, native land) referring to populations, species or other taxa that occur together within the same geographical area and with the potential of gene exchange and competition. (opposite: allopatric, parapatric).
synanthropes= (Gk: syn-= with/together/alike; anthropos= human) the species living together with humans, like rats, fleas, lice.
syncline= (Gk: syn= with; klino=to lean) downward fold int he rocks of Earth's crust.
system = (Gk: syn=with; hystemi= to set up; systema) a set of processes and things working together. A complex whole of organised material and immaterial things.
systematics= the study of the classification of living things, with particular emphasis on their evolutionary relationships.

tannins = a group of complex organic compounds found in certain tree barks, used in leather production and ink manufacture.
taxis= the movement of a whole organism in response to a directional stimulus. Thus geotaxis is movement in response to gravity; phototaxis is movement in response to light; chemotaxis is movement in response to a chemical substance.
taxon/ taxa= (Gk: tasso= to arrange) any group of organisms representing a particular unit of classification. In ascending order of inclusiveness, the taxa are: species, genus (plural genera), family, order, class, phylum, kingdom.
taxonomy= (Gk: tasso=to arrange; -nomia=distribution) the study of the classification of living things, with emphasis on the identification and naming of specimens.
tectonics= structural geology.
tectonic plates= the vast semi-rigid plates making up the Earth's surface and which move slowly.
terrestrial= of or living on the land.
territory= the area of a habitat occupied by an individual or its social group.
tertiary= a geological period lsting from 65 to 2 million years ago.
tetrasporophyte= (Gk: tettares= four; phyton= plant) a spore-producing thallus (Gk: thallos= green shoot) in the life history of some red algae in which the sporangia, called tetrasporangia, produce tetrads (clusters of four) of spores.
theory= (Gk: theoros= spectator) a supposition or system of ideas explaining something, especially one based on general principles independent of the particular things to be explained. Scientific theory is derived from observations, and it is able to predict other outcomes. A (minimal but adequate) set of rules explaining the general. A theory allows one to think in abstract terms, independent of the examples.
tides = the periodic rise and fall of the sea due to the attraction of the moon and the sun.
toothed whales= (see odontoceti) carnivorous sea mammals possessing individual teeth, like dolphins, killer whales, pilot whales, etc.
topography = (Gk: topos=place; graphia=writing) a detailed description of natural features.
trace element= an element which is essential to the continuing health of an organism, but needed in only small amounts.
transect= (L: trans=across/beyond; secare=to cut; sect=cut; cross-cut) a line or strip of vegetation selected for monitoring communities and how they change over time.
translocation= (L: trans=across; locus=place; locare= to place; to place across) a conservation technique whereby individuals, populations or species are moved to another area with similar habitat. (introduction, reintroduction)
trawlers = fishing boats that catch fish by trawling nets. Trawling is a very efficient method of fishing but it is indiscriminative and fish are crushed in the net, resulting in low and short-lasting quality. Traditionally, nets are trawled directly over the sea bottom to catch bottom (benthic) species but modern trawlers can catch fish in mid water by using clever electronic fishfinders.
Triassic: a geological period from 225 to 195 million years ago. See time table.
trophic= (Gk: trophe=nourishment; trephos= to feed) pertaining to nutrition. Trophic level= the position of an organism in the food chain, determined by the number of transfers of energy that occur between the nonliving energy source and that position. Trophic levels include producers (photosynthesisers and chemosynthesisers) and several levels of consumers (animals eating plants, animals eating animals, etc.)
tsunami= (Jap: tsu= harbour; nami=wave) a seawave or waves caused by an earthquake.
tube feet= slender, flexible, often suckered tubes extending from the internal systems of canals that make up the echinoderm water vascular system. They are used for locomotion and feeding. Some are sensitive to flavours and smell.
tubercle= (L: tuber= lump, swelling; tuberculum= small lump) a small knoblike process in the skin of an animal.
turbidity current= the rapid movement, down an underwater slope, of a mass of sediment and water. The sediment deposited as a result is called turbidite.
turfing algae= small algae that form meadows of dense 'lawns' on rock surfaces, and are fed on by grazing animals.

ultrabasic rock= an igneous rock consisting essentially of ferromagnesium minerals, to the virtual exclusion of quartz and feldspar. See glossary of geologic terms.
understorey= the species and assemblages found beneath a forest canopy such as formed by large brown algae.
underwater surveys = a scientific method to qualify and quantify marine life. A marine scientist makes use of transect lines, quadrats and collecting devices. Much of this work could be done by trained amateurs.
ungulate= (L: unguis= nail/claw/hoof; ungula= small hoof/claw) a hoofed mammal.
univalve= a shell composed of a single piece (snails, limpets, etc.)
upwelling= area in the ocean where nutrient-rich bottom water surfaces. It produces blooms of phytoplankton and with it dense populations of fast-reproducing fishes, preyed upon by carnivores, sea mammals and sea birds. The productivity of upwellings compares to that of estuaries, and is typically ten times higher than that of the continental shelf. Upwellings off Chile once supported 10% of the total world fishery.
urea= the main excretion product of protein breakdown in mammals; it also occurs in some plants. Uric acid is the excretory product of birds, reptiles and insects. Urine is the fluid, containing urea or uric acid, made by vertebrates.

vascular plants= plants with specialised tissues for transporting water, minerals and other nutrients from  roots to leaves, and with tissues for transporting synthesised sugars from leaves to stems and roots. Seagrasses are vascular plants, but otherwise all marine plants are nonvascular. This is not surprising, since plants growing submerged in water do not have much need for special mechanisms to transport liquids within their bodies.
vegetative reproduction= (vegetative propagation) asexual reprocuction in plants by the detachment of some part of the plant body, and its growth into a separate plant (as in plant cuttings). In animals vegetative reproduction is uncommon and occurs only in simple animals such as anemones, some starfish, etc. It is usually referred to as asexual reproduction.
veliger= a free swimming larval stage in molluscs.
ventral fins= an alternative name for pelvic fins, on the underside of the body.
vicariance= (L: vicinus= neighbouring; vicarius= a substitute, interchange) the existence of closely related taxa or biota in different geographical regions that have been separated by the formation of a natural barrier to dispersal.
virtually = almost, to all intents and purposes.
virus= (L: virus= slimy liquid, poison) a disease-producing agent, parasitic in an organism, unable to multiply outside its host. A virus is very small and is visible only under an electron-microscope (after enormous effort). Some viruses can be crystallised without losing their ability to infect. A virus is a package of DNA without the cell machinery to metabolise or reproduce. For this it relies entirely on a very specific host. By commandeering the host cell's machinery, the virus is capable of reproducing rapidly (because it is so small), burst out of the host cell and infect many others. Virus infections are therefore always 'hostile' and experienced as a disease. Taxonomists do not know where to put viruses in the systematic classification.
visual barrier = impossible to see through.
viviparous= () a form of reproduction where the young are nurtured by a placenta within the female's body and are born fuly developed. See ovoviviparous and ovoparous
volcanic activity = activity produced by a volcano. Volcanic activity produces fresh, uneroded rock, home to sea creatures. Volcanic activity may hinder fishing and thus effectively protect underwater life. Anchoring on the sheltered side of a volcano places oneself in the smoke, which could be life-threatening.
vomer= a narrow bone on the roof of the mouth. Vomerine teeth= teeth on the vomer
vulnerable: used for species that are likely to become endangered in the near future if the cause for their stress continues. This includes over-expoited species whose populations are in decline.

waterfront = the part of a town facing the harbour or river.
watershed= the ridge or crestline separating two drainage areas. (Hence the turning point in affairs)
weather side= the windward side of a mountain. As rising winds cool, their moisture precipitates as rain or snow. See also rain shadow.
weathering= the process by which rocks are broken down and decomposed by the action of factors such as wind, rain, ice, sunshine and also by plants and bacteria. Weathering can alter a rock's form, texture and composition. (erosion, abrasion)
web of food chains = first there were food chains, then food webs and now webs of food chains. We are discovering that the natural world is not simple. The concept of a food chain is essentially that of 'recycling' by nature: nutrients feed the phytoplankton which feeds the zooplankton which feeds fish larvae which feed bigger and bigger fishes. All dead organisms are consumed by bacteria which produce the nutrients to feed the plants. The cycle is closed. There are many interrelating cycles.
wintering ground= an area in which animals spend the winter.

xerophyte= (Gk: xeros=dry; phyton= plant) a plant adapted to living under arid conditions.


zonation= community stratification. Physical factors like wave exposure and light vary with depth. Species and assemblages then occupy bands (zones) according to where they survive best, which is usually a compromise between optimal living conditions and competition with other species, and predation. eco03.gif. eco04.gif.
zooplankton= small, sometimes microscopic animals that drift in the ocean. It includes protozoa, crustaceans, jellyfish and other invertebrates that drift at various depths in the water column. Compare with phytoplankton.
zooxanthella= (Gk: zoion= animal; xanthos= yellow; +cell) algal cells embedded in coral tissue. See coral.
zygote= (Gk: zygos=yoke) the fertilised egg cell, formed by the fusion of a male and female sex cell.

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