Glossary

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adaptation

Physical and behavioural changes over time to fit new environments or conditions.

biodiversity

Many different types of plants and animals.

braided river

River made up of interconnecting channels that divide and then come back together.

catchment

The entire area from which drainage water is received by a body of water such as a river or swamp.

ecosystem

A community of organisms together with the environment that they inhabit and depend on.

endemic

Plants and animals that live only in New Zealand.

ephemeral

Lasting for only a short period of time.

fertilizer

Substance added to soil to increase its ability to support plant growth.

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.

groundwater

Water found beneath the surface of the land.

habitat

Living place of plant or animal.

inter-montane

Lying between mountains.

invertebrate

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

kettle hole

Bowl-shaped hollow in the loose rocks that have been left by a melting glacier.

migration/migrate

A seasonal journey from one region to another.

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.

nutrients

Elements or compounds essential as raw materials to sustain life.

peat

Accumulation of partially decomposed remains of plants and animals.

pollution

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

riparian

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

sediment

Material, originally suspended in a liquid, that settles at the bottom of the liquid when it is left standing for a long time.

Material eroded from rocks that is transported by water, wind, or ice and deposited elsewhere.

sustainable

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

tarn

Small mountain lake.