Glossary | B

Bacterioplankton
planktonic bacteria
Baleen
keratin plates or slats found in mystecyte whales that hang transversely from the roof and have fringed inner edges used in filter feeding
Barbel
a threadlike growth hanging from the lips or lower jaw of certain fishes; a touch organ. Prominent in cod and catfish.
Benthic
near or on the bottom of a body of water
Benthos
organism living on the ocean floor
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.