Glossary

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adaptation
A feature which is especially important for an organism's survival eg the adaptation of horses' teeth to the grinding of grass, or their ability to run fast and escape predators.

algae
Primitive plants that can make food from sunlight.

benthic
The lowest level of a body of water such as an ocean, lake, or stream.

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

carnivore
An animal which eats other animals.

coast
Land next to the sea.

Commercial fishing
The activity of catching fish and other seafood for profit.

conservation
Looking after natural resources such as trees, water, soil, etc for future generations.

consumers
Consumers are organisms that need to eat (i.e. consume) food to obtain their energy. Animals are consumers so too are fungi and many bacteria are also consumers.

crustacean
A hard shelled animal with several pairs of legs, two pairs of antennae, and eyes at the ends of stalks eg crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles.

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

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

ecosystem-based management
An environmental management approach that recognizes all interactions within an ecosystem, including humans, rather than considering single issues, species, or ecosystem services in isolation.

estuary
The tidal mouth of a large river, where the tide meets the stream.

endemic
Plants and animals that exist only in one country or region.

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.

fiord
A long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, carved out by a glacier which has since retreated.

fish
Any cold-blooded animal with a back-bone that typically has jaws, fins, scales, a slender body, a two-chambered heart, and gills for providing oxygen to the blood.

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 eg rocky shore.

herbivore
An animal that only eats plants.

introduced species
A plant or animal 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.

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

nautical mile
A unit of measurement used at sea equal to 1852 metres. A nautical mile is based on the circumference of the earth and is equal to one minute of latitude.

nutrient
A substance that provides nourishment essential for the maintenance of life and for growth.

omnivore
An animal, such as humans, that can eat both plants and animals.

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

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').

pollution
The presence of unwanted matter or energy (heat, noise, etc.) that have harmful effects on living or non-living matter.

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

Recreational fishing
Also called sport fishing, is fishing for pleasure or competition.

reef
A ridge of coral or rock in water, with the top just below or just above the surface.

seaweed
Any of many marine algae, such as kelp.

sediment
Material, originally suspended in a liquid, that settles at the bottom of the liquid when left standing for a long time. Material eroded from rocks that is transported by water, wind, or ice and deposited elsewhere.

species
Animals of the same type. The members of the same species can interbreed and produce fertile offspring.

sustainable
Using natural resources without destroying the ecological balance of an area.

terraces
Area of naturally flat ground beside the sea.

tide
The cyclical rise and fall of the sea occurring about every twelve hours. Tides are caused by the combined effects of the rotation of the Earth and the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun.

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