Glossary

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algae
Primitive plants that can make food from sunlight. aquifers Areas underground that hold water.

angler
Person who goes fishing.

biodiversity
The number and variety of living things found within a region. From the two words 'biological' and 'diversity'.

bloom
An excessive growth of a particular species.

carnivore
An animal which eats other animals.

condensation 
Water vapour changes from a gas to a liquid through condensation. Condensation occurs when water vapour is cooled down.

catchment
An area surrounding a waterway that drains into that waterway.

consumer
Animals are consumers because they cannot produce their own energy.

decomposers
Fungi and bacteria that break down organic matter such as leaves.

didymo
A freshwater algae sometimes called 'rock snot'.

endemic
Unique to a place an not found anywhere else.

ecosystem
A community of living things and the environment in which they live.

environment
All the external factors influencing the life and activities of people, plants, and animals e.g. other animals and plants, water, soils, weather, daylight.

evaporation
Changing from a liquid into a vapour.

fauna
Animal life in general.

food chain
An arrangement of organisms in a community according to which organism is eaten or eats another. Food chains always start with a plant (or plants).

food web
A system of food chains linked to one another. habitat The home or surroundings of an organism e.g. river.

herbivore
An animal that only eats plants. introduced species A plant or animal that has been brought by people to an area where it did not naturally live.

invertebrate
Any animal that does not have a spinal cord at any stage of its life such as worms, insects, spiders, crustaceans and molluscs.

irrigation
Water that is used for farming or growing crops.

native
Naturally found in a location, but may be found in more than one country.

niche
How an organism makes a living. It describes things such as an organism's life history, its habitat, its position in a food chain and food web and its geographic range. No two species can occupy the same niche in the same environment for a long time.

omnivore
An animal, such as humans, that can eat both plants and animals. organic matter Anything that is, or used to be, living.

organism
An individual form of life, such as a plant, animal, bacterium, protist or fungus.

photosynthesis
The chemical process which algae and green plants use to produce food. Photosynthesis needs carbon dioxide, water and sunlight.

precipitation
Clouds form, join together and grow. Water vapour condenses into water droplets as it cools. These droplets grow in size as the temperature drops until eventually they become too heavy and it rains, snows or hails, depending on the temperature.

phytoplankton
Tiny organisms, mainly single celled algae floating near the water's surface, that use photosynthesis to obtain food from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water. (From the Greek words 'phyton' or 'plant', and 'planktos' meaning 'wanderer' or 'drifter').

producer
A plant can make its own energy from the sun through photosynthesis.

riparian
Situated or taking place along or near the bank of a river.

transpiration
Plants release water through pores (holes) in their leaves. The process of transpiration returns some moisture from the soil back into the atmosphere.

urbanisation
The development and modification of a once natural landscape for human settlement.

wastewater
Water that has been used for domestic or industrial purposes and probably contains contaminants. It must be treated before it can safely be returned to a clean waterway.

water vapour
Water in its gaseous state. Water that is heated turns from a liquid to a gas.

zooplankton
Small and microscopic animals, mainly crustaceans and fish larvae, floating near or on the water's surface.