Glossary

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Color phase
roughly analogous to hair color in humans; one of several coat colors present in a single species
Commensal
a type of symbiotic relationship in which an organism lives in a close association with another organism, with one benefiting from the association without helping or harming the other organism
Community
ecological collection of different plants and animal populations living within a given area or zone
Concave
curved or rounded inward
Consumer
heterotropic organism that feeds on other organisms
Copepod
any member of the crustacean Subclass Copepoda
Copepod
Within the water column, copepods are the most numerous multi-cellular organisms.They often referred to as the “insects of the sea”, because of their sheer numbers and similar role in food webs as insects have on land. Marine copepods are the major food item for many other planktonic species, sea-birds, some great whales, and filter-feeding sharks. Copepod means “oar footed”.
Copulation
act of sexual reproduction
Coronal muscles
structures embedded on underside of a jelly's bell that push water out of the bell; jelly moves on opposite direction of the push
Countercurrent heat exchange
a way to conserve body heat by exchanging heat from warm blood flowing to the body surface with cool blood flowing to the body core
Countershading
type of protective coloration in which an animal is dark on its top side and light on its under side
Countershading
type of protective coloration in which an animal is dark on its top side and light on its under side
Courtship
specific behavior(s) performed as a prelude to mating to attract and secure mates
Creche
a group (flock) of unrelated young birds gathered together for protection
Crepuscular
active at twilight or just before sunrise
Critical Habitat
areas of habitat that are crucial to the survival of a species and essential for its conservation and that have been formally designated as such by rule published in the Federal Register.
Crustacean
any member of the Class Crustacea of arthropods; have hard outer shell, jointed legs and gills for breathing; e.g., crabs, shrimps and barnacles
Cryptic
camouflaged, fitted for concealment
Ctenophora
phylum that contains comb jellies
Cubozoan
name proposed by some research scientists for a fourth class in Phylum Cnidaria that would include box-shaped jellies, e.g., sea wasp
Current
horizontal movement of water or air
Dead reckoning
the process of estimating one's current position based on a previously determined position, or fix, and advancing that position based on known speed, elapsed time, and course.
Debilitate
to weaken, deprive of strength
Decimate
organism such as a fungus or bacterium that causes decay of dead plants and animals
Decomposer
organism such as a fungus or bacterium that causes decay of dead plants and animals
Delayed implantation
fertilized egg remains free in the uterus prior to attachment to the uterine wall and placental formation
Demersal
living on or just above the bottom of a body of water
Dentin
a hard and bone-like tissue that forms most of the tooth
Dentin
a hard and bone-like tissue that forms most of the tooth
Deposit feeder
animal that feeds by consuming debris (detritus) on or in the seafloor
Dermal denticles
tooth like scales embedded in the skin (dermis of elasmobranches (sharks, rays, skates); placoid scales
Detritus
particles of organic and inorganic debris from decaying plants and animals
Diatom
flowering plant with two seed leaves
Dicot
flowering plant with two seed leaves
Dimorphism
biological differences between two or more types; having two different distinct forms in the same species, as in sexual dimorphism, where males and females have different characteristics
Dioecious
plants that have only male or only female flowers on individual plants
Disruptive coloration
type of camouflage where color patterns break up or disrupt body form to make an animal unrecognizable to predators or prey
Diurnal
occurring or active during the day
Diurnal tide
tide that has only one high and low tide instead of two in each tidal day of 24 hrs 50 min.
Diversity
richness of an area in relation to numbers of different types of organisms or groups of organisms in an area or zone
Dormancy
period of inactivity brought about by colder temperatures, where breathing and circulation slow slightly
Dorsal
pertaining to the back or upper surface
Downwelling
sinking of water or water masses below the surface
Drift algae
pieces of seaweed that break free of their attachment and drift


Echinoderm
any member of the Phylum Echinodermata; invertebrates that usually have a hard, spiny skeleton, radial body and water vascular system; includes sea stars, sand dollars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers
Echolocation
process that involves the emission of sounds that reflected back from objects; aids in the animal's orientation and object location; detection of object by reflected sound
Ecology
study of the relationships of organisms to each other and to their surroundings
Ecosystem
all of the life forms in a given environment with its associated abiotic (non-living) factors
El Nino
warm, tropical surface current flowing north and south along the west coasts of North and South America that usually happens every few decades
Elasmobranch
Any member of a class of fishes that includes sharks, rays, and skatesthat have a cartilaginous skeleton and plate