Glossary

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Sexual dimorphism
differences between males and females in external appearance or behavior
Shellfish
aquatic animal with a shell; includes mollusks and crustaceans
Shute
bony plate
Siliceous
containing silica
Siphon
tube or tube-like part of an animal through which air, food or water passes
Slough
swamp, bog, marsh or pond that is part of an inlet or backwater
Smolt
juvenile salmon that has completed rearing in freshwater and migrates into the marine environment. Becomes physiologically capable of balancing salt and water in the estuary and ocean waters.
Solitary
living singly except during breeding and/or raising young
Spawn
to produce and deposit eggs
Species
distinctive group of organisms that can successfully interbreed and produce viable offspring
Species diversity
numbers of different species and their relative abundance in a given area
Spermatophore
capsule enclosing a packet of sperm produced by males of some animals that is directly transferred to the reproductive part of a famale's body
Spiracle
dorsal openings in the head region of some cartilaginous fishes through which water is drawn and passed over the gills
Spiracles
openings that allow entrance, passage, or exit of a gas or vapor, esp. of air
Statocyst
specialized sacs or organs on the rim of the bell and tentacle bases of jellies that assist animal in maintaining balance in the water column by sensing the pull of gravity; balance organ
Stipe
stem-like part of a kelp plant that connects the holdfast to the blades
Stipe
stem-like part of a kelp plant that connects the holdfast to the blades
Stock
a biologically discrete population
Strobilia
multi-organism columnar pancake-like of very small jellies produced by a polyp; as jellies break off, the polyp is said to be 'strobilating'
Strobilization
budding: asexual transformation into reproductive process
Sublittoral (subtidal) zone
benthic zone from the low tide mark to the outer edge of the continental shelf
Subsistence
barest means needed to sustain life
Subspecies
a genetically distinct geographical subunit of a species. Also called race.
Substrate
any surface on which a plant or animal lives or on which a material sticks
Subtidal
below the intertidal, or below the level of the lowest tide. Also called sublittorial.
Supralittoral zone
narrow benthic zone on shores above high water mark that only becomes wet when there are storms or spray
Surfline
area near shore where the waves break
Surge
movement of a mass of water
Surge channel
channel along the edge of rocks or reefs in which the water level fluctuates with wave or tidal action
Suspension-feeder
an animal that filters out debris, detritus, or other particles suspended in the surrounding water
Suspension-feeder
an animal that filters out debris, detritus, or other particles suspended in the surrounding water
Sustenance
nourishment; that which sustains life
Swell
a large ocean wave that moves steadily without breaking
Swim bladder
gas-filled bladder of a fish that helps it maintain its position in the water column
Symbiosis
close relationship between two organisms of different species that is often of mutual benefit
Tactile
pertaining to the sense of touch
Taiga
forest communities found south of the tundra and north of short-grassed plainsst in cold, wet subarctic climates, consisting of a mostly coniferous evergreems (stunted spruces, firs) with birches and aspens found in drier locales.
Taxonomy
science of classifying organisms in established categories according to their biological and evolutionary characteristics; nomenclature is usually Greek or Latin in derivation
Temperate zone
moderate temperature area located between the polar and tropical zones
Tentacles
long, cylindrical projections from an organism, specialized as sensory, grasping and food collecting structure
Terrestrial
pertaining to plant or animal life on land rather than in water
Territory
area with defined boundaries established and defended by an animal, usually for breeding and/or foraging
Test
shell or casing of an organism. Skeleton of a sea urchin.
Tetrapod
animals that are four-limbed (two pairs): includes amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals
Tetrodotoxin
neurotoxin that acts specifically on nerve cells, commonly causing paralysis, especially tetrodotoxin, bactrachotoxin, and compounds found in the toxins of some bees, scorpions, and spiders
Thermocline
water layer in which temperature changes rapidly with increasing depth
Thorax
portion of the body between the head and abdomen; the chest region
Tide
periodic rise and fall of oceanic water levels (usually twice daily) along a shore caused by the unequal gravitational pull of the sun and moon on different parts of the rotating earth
Tide pool
pool of water left along the shore as the tide level falls
Tidemark
high water mark left by tidal water