Marine Biology Glossary
Science / Marine Biology Glossary
Abiotic Factor: The physical, chemical and other non-living components of the environment that an organism lives in. These factors include all aspects of climate, geology, and atmosphere that affect ecologi . . . View Full Definition
Abyssal Plain: The deep ocean floor, an expanse of low relief at depths of 4,000 to 6,000 m
Abyssopelagic Zone: 'Abysso' meaning 'no bottom', this zone of the ocean begins 4000 m below the surface of the ocean and extends down to the sea floor. This zone is home to a variety of unique critters that ar . . . View Full Definition
Acclimation: Given a change of a single parameter, a readjustment of the physiology of an organism, reaching a new steady state
Accuracy: Is the correctness of a measure when comparing to a known standard. See also resolution and precision.
Adaptation: Any change in the structure or function of an organism which makes it better suited to its environment. For example, the torpedo body shape of a tuna allows for fast swimming in the open ocean.
Age Structure: The relative abundance of different age classes in a population
Aggregated Spatial Distribution: A case where individuals in a space occur in clusters too dense to be explained by chance
Ahermatypic: Non-reef-building (referring to scleractinian corals)
Allele: One of several variants that can occupy a locus on a chromosome
Allopatric Speciation: The differentiation of geographically isolated populations into distinct species
Allozyme: A variant of an enzyme type. These may be variants of a specific enzyme (e.g., cytochrome c) that are the products of a single genetic locus.
Amensal: Negatively affecting one or several species
Amino Acids: Basic structural unit of proteins
Anadromous Fish: Fish that spends most of its life feeding in the open ocean but that migrates to spawn in fresh water
Anoxic: Lacking oxygen.
Arrow Worms: Members of the phylum Chaetognatha, a group of planktonic carnivores
Asexual Reproduction: Reproduction of the individual without the production of gametes and zygotes
Assimilation Efficiency: The fraction of ingested food that is absorbed and used in metabolism
Assortative Mating: The mating of a given genotype mates with another genotype at a frequency disproportionate to that expected from random encounter.
Atoll: A horseshoe or circular array of islands, capping a coral reef system perched around an oceanic volcanic seamount
Attenuation (Of Light): Diminution of light intensity; explained, in the ocean, in terms of absorption and scattering
Autotroph: An organism that synthesizes organic molecules from inorganic starting materials through photosynthesis or chemosynthesis. Autotrophs are ecologically important as primary producers as they . . . View Full Definition
Auxotrophic Algae: Algae requiring a few organically derived substances, such as vitamins, along with dissolved inorganic nutrients for photosynthesis.
Bathypelagic Zone: The zone of the ocean that extends from 1000m to 4000m below the surface of the ocean. Visit the Bathypelagic Zone on oceanlink for pictures and cool facts about life at this depth.
Word of the Day:
Malty: An aromatic sensation created by a moderately volatile set of aldehydes and ketones that produces sensations reminiscent of toasted grains.