Glossary

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Bilateral symmetry
arrangement of body parts in which if the animal is divided along the midline, there are two halves that are approximately equal mirror images of each other
Bioaccumulation
absorption and accumulation of toxic chemicals in living organisms. Toxins are stored in fatty tissues of animals and are passed along to their predators
Biogeographic
geographical distribution of plants and animals
Bioluminescence
production of visible light by living organisms using a chemical process; light produced is 'cold light'
Biomass
total weight of living organisms or population in a given area or volume
Biome
major plant and animal community characterized by climatic and soil conditions
Biota
plants and animals of a region
Biotic
factors pertaining to life; living
Bipedal
two-footed; to walk on two feet
Bivalve
any member of the Class Bivalvia of mollusks having two valves or shells hinged together, e.g., mussel, clam, oyster or
Blade
leaf-like part of seaweed
Blubber
layer of fatty tissue below the epidermis (skin) of some marine mammals
Boreal
northern
Brachiation
using primarily the arms for locomotion
Brackish water
water that is mixture of salt and fresh water in differing amounts; in salt marshes usually 12-18 parts salt/1000 parts water
Broadcast
release of sperm and egg into the water where fertilization and development may occur
Browser
animal eating leaves and twigs from shrubs and trees; aquatic from rocks and coral
Budding
swelling or projection on the body of some lower animals that develops into a new individual; form of asexual reproduction
bycatch
unwanted marine creatures that are caught by fishing gear while fishing for another species. or the NMFS definition: discarded catch of any living marine resource plus unobserved mortality due to a direct encounter with fishing gear.
Calcareous
containing calcium carbonate (chalk)
California current
cold ocean current that flows southward along the west coast of the US to the northern part of Baja.
Cambrian
the earliest period of the Paleozoic era, about 600 million years ago: rocks formed at this period contain earliest fossil remains of jellies
Camouflage
behavior, shape, coloration and/or pattern that helps an organism to blend in with its surroundings
Canopy
top layer of the kelp forest where fronds float on the sea surface and shade the ocean floor; also applies to rain forests where canopies shade the ground

Carnivore
an animal or plant that primarily eats animal tissue
Cartilage
firm but flexible connective tissue
Cast
compact mass of non-digestible waste products matter (fur, bones, plastic, etc.) regurgitated by some birds; pellet
Catadromous
fishes that spawn in the ocean whose offspring migrate to fresh water where they grow and mature
Caudal
posterior; toward the tail
Caudal peduncle
fleshy portion of the body just in front of the tail or caudal fin
Celestial equator
an imaginary great circle in the sky drawn concentric to the Earth's equator
Celestial navigation
position fixing technique that was devised to help sailors cross the featureless oceans without having to rely on dead reckoning to enable them to strike land. Uses angular measurements (sights) between the horizon and a common celestial object;,most often the sun. Skilled navigators can use the moon, planets, or one of 57 "navigational stars" whose coordinates are tabulated in nautical almanacs.

Cephalopod
any member of the Class Cephalopoda of mollusks; has a distinct head with a beak and muscular tentacles around the mouth; octopus, squid and cuttlefish
Cerrate
projections from body surface of nudibranchs (sea slugs); external gills
Cetacean
any member of the Order Cetacea; whales, dolphins and porpoises
Chlorophyll
any of approximately 12 kinds of green pigments present in most plant cells; use carbon dioxide and water present in the environment to convert the energy from sunlight into carbohydrates that are then used by other organisms as a source of energy
Chordate
any member of the Phylum Chordata; animals that have a notochord, gill slits and dorsal nerve chord at some point of development
Chorion
protective membrane around the eggs of insects
Chromatophores
pigment containing or producing cells that, cntrolled by the nervous system, contract or expand in shape changing the color of the organism. Highly developed in octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish.
Ciguatoxin
toxin produced by microscopic organisms growing on marine algae. This type of algae is commonly found in or around tropical reef areas, and is ingested by fish. The toxin accumulates in the flesh of the fish, and when eaten by humans the result is ciguatera fish poisoning
Cilia
minute hair like strand some animals use to produce a current for feeding or to move themselves. (Singular cilium)
CITES Appendix II
CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Appendix II applies to species that, although not threatened with extinction now, might become so unless trade in them is strictly controlled and monitored. CITES Appendix II also includes some non-threatened species, in order to prevent threatened species from being traded under the guise of non-threatened species that are similar in appearance.
Claspers
modified pair of appendages on pelvic fins of male sharks, skates and rays used to pass sperm to the female
Cloaca
intestinal, urinary and reproductive opening in birds, reptiles, amphibians and many fish
Cnidae
specialized stinging cells called nematocysts in jellies, spirocysts and plychocysts in anthrozoans (sea anemones, corals, sea pansies, sea pens). Used for capturing prey and/or defense from predators.
Cnideria
taxonomic Phylum to which medusa jellies, sea anemones, corals, and related animals belong; formerly called Coelenterata
Cnidoblast
precursor cell of cnidocyst
Cnidocyte
specialized cells containing the cnidae; located on tentacles and oral arms of jellies

Cold-blooded
having an unregulated body temperature closely controlled by the temperature of the environment; exothermic
Colony
group of all the same animals, living together in a way that benefits each member of the group