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ACIDICdescribes a compound or solution with an excess of hydrogen ions.
Forms an acid when dissolved in
AIR BLADDERS:the balloon-like pockets of air found on the blades of some
heavier seaweed (algae). These air pockets
allow the blades to float near the water's surface to capture the sunlight needed for
ALGAE:simple 'plants' that have chlorophyll and photosynthesize. They do not have true stems, roots, or leaves. They
range from microscopic, single cells (like diatoms) to large, multi-celled forms (like kelp).
Single-celled algae are not plants but protists
(Kingdom Protista) and many biologists classify all algae in the Protista kingdom.
ANADROMOUSAnimals that spawn in freshwater but live in saltwater, such as salmon.
ANOXIAthe absence of oxygen. Defined as less than 0.5 mg/l dissolved
APPENDAGESA smaller body part attached to the main body, ie. an arm or leg.
AQUACULTURE:The growing of fish, shellfish, and marine plants to
AQUATIC:any organisms that lives in or near the water.
AQUIFER:an underground area of permeable rock, gravel, or sand that is
saturated with water
ARCHAEOLOGY:the study of ancient people and their cultures as revealed by
the items (artifacts) they left
ARTHROPODS:invertebrates of the phylum Arthropoda that have jointed
appendages and a chitinous, segmented
exoskeleton. Arthropods include insects, spiders, crabs, and lobsters.
BACTERIA (IUM):single-celled microorganisms that belong to the kingdom
Monera. Bacteria are among the smallest,
simplest, and oldest types of cells.|
BALLAST WATER:Water that is used to stabilize large transporter ships and is
discharged at various points on their routes; the water typically contains a
variety of species which become invasive species when discharged into
BAR-BUILT ESTUARY:Formed when sandbars build up along the coastline and
partially cut off the waters behind them from the sea.
BARNACLE ZONE:one of the life zones on the rocky shore; also called the
white zone for the color of the barnacles
that dominate this part of the shore. This zone is exposed to air for about half of the day.
BASICdescribes a compound or solution with an excess of hydroxide (OH)
ions. Forms a base when dissolved in
BENTHOS:Organisms that lie in and on the bottom of the ocean floor.
BIOAVAILABILITYthe availability of a pollutant to be used by living
BIVALVE:the type of mollusk (Phylum Mollusca) that has two hinged shells
(valves). Bivalves include clams, mussels,
BLADE:the flattened or leaf-like part of the body of an alga.
BLOOM:High concentration of phytoplankton in an area, caused by increased
reproduction; often produces discoloration of the water.
BYSSAL THREADS:the strong fibers that mussels produce to attach themselves
to rocks or hard surfaces.
CAMOUFLAGE:a means of disguise that allows organisms to blend in with their
background so that they are hidden or
CALCAREOUS:having a hard, crust-like covering composed of calcium
CALIBRATEto adjust an instrument.
CAPPING:Contaminated spoils covered with clean sediments to isolate the
contaminated material from the surrounding sea life and water.
CARAPACE:A hard outer covering such as a shell.
CARPOSPOROPHYTE:a stage in the life cycle of red algae, this small rounded
bump remains attached to the female
gametophyte. This structure, when mature, bears carpospores; also called a cystocarp.
CELSIUSa temperature scale in which the fixed points are the temperatures
at standard pressure of ice at 0 degrees
and of steam at 100 degrees. Abbreviated C.
CG-CM:Canadian Global Coupled Model.
CHLOROPHYLLpigment responsible for the green color in plants. The molecules
are primary sites of light absorption in
CNIDARIA:phylum of aquatic invertebrates (formerly called Coelenterata)
that includes Hydra, jellyfish, sea anemones,
and corals. These animals have stinging cells on their tentacles and can occur in different body forms.
They may be free-swimming medusa and/or
attached polyps hydroids).
COASTAL PLAIN ESTUARY:An estuary formed at the end of the last ice age. Ice
melted, water warmed, and sea level rose invading the low-lying coastal river
COENOCYTIC:having many nuclei not separated into individual cells.
COLORIMETRICan analysis of solutions by estimating their color by comparing
them with standard colors of known
CONCENTRATIONthe quantity of a dissolved substance in a
CONCEPTACLE:a small cavity on the surface of an alga that contains
CONDUCTto transfer electricity through matter.
CONDUCTIVITYa measurement of the ability to transfer electricity through
CONTAINER PORT:a port used by large vessels for the import and export of
CRUSTACEANS:a class of mainly aquatic, gill-breathing arthropods such as
crabs, lobsters, shrimp, and barnacles. They
usually have a hard exoskeleton and two pairs of antennae.
CSOs:Combined Sewer Overflows.
CTENOPHORE:another name for comb jellies (Phylum Ctenophora). These marine
animals have a gelatinous body and no
backbone. Even though they look similar to jellyfish (Cnidarians), they do not have stinging cells. They
get their name from the 8 rows of cilia
that look like combs.
DECOMPOSE:to rot or break down in decay.|
DEGREEa division on a temperature scale.
DENSITYmass of a substance per unit volume (i.e. pure water has a density
of 1 gram per milliliter).
DEPOSIT FEEDERS:organisms that ingest or sift through the sediment and
consumes organic matter within it.
DETRITUS:Organic or inorganic debris.
DICHOTOMOUS:splitting into two.
DISSOLVED OXYGEN:oxygen molecules (O2) dissolved in water.
DIURNAL TIDE:a tidal cycle where there is one high tide and one low tide in
one lunar day (lunar day = 24 hours, 50
DREDGING:the removal of sediments from an estuary's floor.
ECHINODERMS:a large group of invertebrates that have radial symmetry and no
heads (Phylum Echinodermata). All are
marine and benthonic (live on or in the bottom). They have an internal skeleton and a special network of
water-filled canals that move their tube
feet. Sea stars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers are all echinoderms.|
ECOSYSTEM:all the living and nonliving things that interact within a certain
area; a web of life.
EDC:Economic Development Council.
EFFLUENT:discharge of waste from a sewer or sewage system.
EIS:Environmental Impact Study.
ELECTRICITYan effect resulting from the existence of stationary or moving
EPIPHYTE:a plant or alga growing on another plant or alga.
ESTUARY:a semi-enclosed body of water where freshwater meets and mixes with
saltwater. Narragansett and Chesapeake
Bays are both examples of estuaries.
EUTROPHICATION:the process of polluting a body of water with excessive
nutrients, such as sewage or fertilizers. The
nutrients cause an excessive growth of algae that leads to oxygen being depleted from the water (result
of the decomposition of the
EVAPORATEto form a gas (vapor) from a liquid.
EVAPORITE DEPOSITSdeposit formed from minerals left behind by evaporating
water, especially salt.
EXOSKELETON:external skeleton; the hard skeleton that forms the external
surface of some animals. The exoskeleton
protects, supports, and provides a place for muscles to attach. Some mollusks, tortoises, and arthropods
(such as crabs, lobsters, barnacles, and
shrimp) have exoskeletons.
FAHRENHEITa temperature scale in which boiling of water takes place at 212
degrees and freezing of water occurs at 32
degrees. Abbreviated F|
FASCICLE: a bundle of branches that arise from a common point .
FAUNA:the animals that live in a specific environment or
FECAL MATERIAL:solid wastes produced by animals.
FILTER FEEDERS:Organisms which take water in and filter out food; during this
process, sediments and pollutants are also filtered out thus cleaning the water.
FJORD:alleys that have been cut deeper by moving glaciers and then invaded
by the sea. Fjord estuaries have a deep elongated basin that is U-shaped and a
ledge or barrier that separates the basin form the sea.
FLORA:the plants that live in a specific place or environment.
FLUORESCEthe emission of light by a substance.
FLUOROMETERan instrument that measures the emission of light from a
FOLIOSE:having a leafy appearance.
FOSSIL:the remains or traces of organisms.
FOSSIL FUEL:the hydrocarbon remains of plants or animals that have been
changed by natural processes; oil, coal and natural gas.
FRY:recently hatched fish; very young fish.
FUCOID:alga relating to or resembling the rockweeds.
GASTROPODS:one-shelled mollusks (Phylum Mollusca, Class Gastropoda). These
univalve invertebrates have a coiled
shell, a flattened foot, and a well developed head with tentacles. Snails, limpets, conchs, whelks, and
slugs are all gastropods.|
GAMETE:a mature male or female germ cell.
GAMETOPHYTE:the phase of the life history that produces gametes.
GCMs:general circulation models.
GEOLOGY:the study of the origin, structure, and composition of the
GIS:this abbreviation stands for Geographic Information System. GIS is a
combination of computer software and
hardware tools used for creating maps and analyzing spatial data. GIS links the map and database
information so that questions can be asked and
answers given in map or visual form.
GLACIER: A large, permanent mass of ice .
GLOBAL WARMING: An increase in Earth's average temperature caused by the
GREENHOUSE EFFECT:The trapping of heat in the atmosphere; caused by gases
such as carbon dioxide and methane.
GREENHOUSE GASES:the gases responsible for the greenhouse effect such as
carbon dioxide and methane.
GROUNDWATERwater beneath the ground that has seeped into the soil and rock
HABITAT:the place or environment where a plant or animal
HEAVY METALS:metallic elements such as cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel,
arsenic, and selenium, and their compounds.
HOLDFAST:the root-like part of a seaweed. The holdfast attaches the seaweed
to a hard surface.
HEATthe process of energy transfer from one body or system to another as a
result of difference in
HEAT CAPACITYthe quantity of heat required to produce a 1 degree Celsius
change of temperature in one gram of
HYPOXIAa deficiency in oxygen. Defined as less than 3.0 mg/l dissolved
HYPOXICdeficient in oxygen.
INTERTIDAL:area of the shore between the highest and lowest
INVASIVE SPECIES:A species that does not naturally occur in a specific area
and whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental
harm or harm to human health.
INVERTEBRATES:animals without a backbone. At least 97% of all animal
species are invertebrates; with the exception of
insects, most invertebrates are marine species.
IONpositively or negatively charged atom or group of atoms.
IPCC:International Panel on Climate Change.
IRISH MOSS ZONE:one of the life zones of the rocky shore. This lower
intertidal area is submerged most of the time
and is exposed to the air only during very low tides. This zone is dominated by the red algae, Irish
KELP ZONE:the lowest or most seaward life zone of rocky shore. This zone is
always submerged and extends seaward as
far as light can penetrate. The kelp zone is identified by the large, leathery, brown kelp that grows
KELVINa temperature scale used by scientists where 0 Kelvin is -273 degrees C.
LAGOON:a shallow, sheltered body of water that is separated from the sea by
a barrier island, sand bar, or coral
MANTLE (in zoology):the fold of skin covering the top of a mollusk body. The outer surface of the mantle secretes the shell.|
MEDULLA:the inner layers of cells; colorless and may function in storage.
MIDRIB:a strip or thickening that runs up the center of a blade.
MIGRATE:the periodic or regular movement of animals from one place to
another. Often animals migrate to feed or
MINNOW TRAP:a specialized trap or enclosure to capture small fish, such as
minnows, by attracting them to the bait in
MOLLUSKS:invertebrates in the Mollusca phylum; these animals have a soft,
unsegmented body and are bilaterally
symmetrical. Most have a muscular foot, calcareous shell, and gills. This phyla includes terrestrial as
well as fresh and salt water forms. Common
examples are clams, snails, slugs, and octopuses.
MOLT:to periodically shed hair, feathers, outer skin, or horns with the
cast off parts being replaced by newly grown
MUDFLAT:a muddy flat intertidal area that is covered by water at high tide
and exposed to the air at low tide. Mud
flats form at the edge of salt marshes or at the mouths of estuaries.
NEAP TIDE:tides occurring near the first and last quarter moons of each
month when the range of the tide is the
NEKTON:free swimming organisms that are capable of moving through the water
NON POINT SOURCE POLLUTION:occurs when a pollutant is from a source that is
not so easily identifiable such as water runoff. Example:
run-off during a rainstorm may cause
contamination from fertilizers onto the surface of the bay.
NUCLEI:the control centers of cells .
NUTRIENTS:organic or inorganic compound that is used by plants in primary
production. Examples: nitrogen and
OMNIVORE:Eating both plants and animals.|
OPERCULUM:A lid or flap of skin covering an opening. Examples are the flap of skin covering the gills of some fish and the hard calcite cover of the snail shell opening when the snail is drawn up inside the shell.
ORGANIC MATTER:Compounds that are or were once part of a living organism or
produced by a living organism.
ORGANISM:any living individual, whether it is a protist, plant, or
PARENCHYMATOUS:a description of a organism that has developed in three
dimensions, caused by cell divisions.|
PARTIALLY MIXED ESTUARY: An estuary where the salt water is mixed upward and
fresh water is mixed downward.
PART PER THOUSANDa unit of salinity where 35 parts per thousand is equal to
35 grams of salt in 1000g of seawater.
PATHOGENS:any microscopic organism that can cause a disease.
PELAGIC:organisms that swim or drift in the water, these organisms are
distinct from those living on the
PERICARP:this structure encloses the carposporophyte and is formed by a layer
of cells from the female gametophyte.
PERIWINKLE ZONE:the second highest (from land) life zone found on the rocky
shore. Periwinkles are abundant in this
part of the rocky intertidal shore but since they are mobile, this zone is often indistinct. For this
reason, some biologists don't include this as
one of the life zones on the rocky shore.
pHthe measure of concentration of hydrogen ions in solution. This
concentration determines the acidity of the
PHOTOSYNTHESIS:A process where plants use the sun's energy to combine carbon
dioxide and water into simple foods.
PIGMENTa compound that gives color to a tissue and has a variety of
PLANKTON:pelagic organisms that drift or float passively in the water and
are carried wherever currents and tides
take them. Plankton are often microscopic and are an important food source for other aquatic community.
There are two types of plankton-
phytoplankton (plants and autotrophs) and zooplankton (animals).
PLATE TECTONICS:theory and study of Earth's lithospheric plates, their
formation, movement, interaction, and destruction; the attempts to explain
Earth's crustal changes in terms of plate movements.
POINT SOURCE POLLUTION:occurs when a pollutant is discharged at a specific
source, the source can be easily
identified. Example: Leaking pipe, the cause of pollution can be observed.
POLYCHAETE:annelid or segmented worms that have flat extensions with stiff,
sometimes sharp, bristles sticking
outward from each body segment (Phylum Annelida, Class Polychaeta). Most marine worms are
PORTS:Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System.
PRECIPITATEa suspension of small solid particles produced in a liquid by a
PREDATORAn animal that preys upon others.
PREYAn animal hunted or caught for food.
QPP:Quonset Port Partners.|
RECEPTACLE:the swollen or inflated portion of a branch or branch tip found on
Fucoids. These inflated branches may have conceptacles on them.|
RED TIDE: red coloration, usually of coastal waters, caused by large
quantities of phytoplankton; some red tides are caused by polluted waters,
other are not.
REFRACTIONchange in direction, or bending of a wave.
REFRACTOMETERany of various instruments used to measure the refraction of a
substance or medium.
REFUGE:shelter or protection from danger.
RESISTANCEa measure of opposition to the flow of electrical
RESTORATION:the act of bringing something back to its original
RIFW:Rhode Island Fish and Wildlife.
ROCKWEED ZONE:a life zone at the intertidal area of a rocky shore. This
life zone is submerged at every high tide and
is dominated by brown seaweed, such as knotted wrack and rockweed. For this reason this zone is often
called the brown zone.
RUN-OFF:water from rain, melted snow or agricultural or landscape
irrigation that flows over the land surface and
discharges to surface waters.
SALINITY:the total amount of salt dissolved in seawater; the units most
often used are parts per thousand (ppt) but
practical salinity unit (psu) is now the accepted standard in oceanography. An average salinity value for
seawater is 35 ppt (psu) or 35 parts of
salt in 1000 parts of water.|
SALTcrystaline ionic compounds such as NaCl.
SALT POND:New Englander's term for a coastal lagoon; a body of salt or
brackish water that is located behind a
barrier beach or island and is connected to the sea by a natural (temporary) or man-made (permanent)
opening called a breachway.
SALT WEDGE ESTUARY:Occurs when the mouth of a river flows directly into salt
SATURATEDcontaining the maximum amount of a dissolved substance at a given
SCAVENGER:An animal that feeds on dead or decaying matter.
SEA-LEVEL:level of the sea surface; used as a reference for measuring height
on land or depth in the ocean.
SEAWEED:any of the larger (multicellular) forms of algae that live in the
SEDIMENT:particulate organic and inorganic matter that accumulates in loose,
SEINE:rectangular net used to collect fishes or other animals from shallow
water; also called a beach seine. One of
the long sides of the net is weighted and the other long side has floats. The net is pulled through the
water by the short sides so that the side
with floats rides on the surface and the weighted side moves along the bottom.
SEMIDIURNAL TIDEa tidal cycle where there are two high tides and two low
tides in one lunar day (lunar day = 24
hours, 50 minutes).
SEPTIC SYSTEM:an underground system that breaks down sewage from homes.
Septic systems are used where homes are not
hooked up to a city (municipal) sewer system. The system includes a septic tank where solid sewage is
broken down by bacteria and a leach field
into which water flows from the tank.
SESSILE:an animal that lives permanently attached to the bottom or to a
SIPHON:a tube like structure used by organisms for drawing in or forcing out water.
SMOG:An atmospheric condition in which visibility is reduced due to air
pollution that contains high levels of particulates or photochemical oxidants.
SOLUBILITYthe amount of solute that dissolves in a solvent to form a
solution usually depends on
SPECIES:a group of similar individuals that can breed among themselves. A
biological category used to classify
SPRING TIDES:tides of greater than average tidal range that occur twice a
month at the new and full
SPOROPHYTE:the phase of the life history that produces spores.
STIPE:The "stem" of the organism. May be cylindrical or flattened. Function
not specialized for transport as in plant stems.
SUBTIDAL:the area of the shore bottom that is always covered by water and
is never exposed at low tide.
SUPERSATURATIONthe state of a solution where the concentration of the
dissolved substance exceeds the equilibrium
concentration at that temperature.
TECTONIC ESTUARY:formed when the sea fills in the "hole" or basin that was
formed by the sinking of land due to folding and faulting in the Earth's crust.|
TEMPERATUREthe property of a region or body which determines whether or not
there will be a flow of heat into or out
of the body.
TERRESTRIAL:organisms living or found on land.
TETRASPORE:a reproductive spore produced by some red algae.
THALLUS (thalli, pl.):a simple plant body, such as multicellular algae, that is not
differentiated into stem and
THERMISTORa device that measures temperature by measuring the resistance to
electric flow in a metal as the
THERMOMETERan instrument used to measure the temperature of a
TIDE:the daily rising and falling of the ocean's surface. This change in
the water's height is caused by the combined
gravitational pull of the moon and sun on the Earth's surface.
TIDE CHART:a list showing the times each day when the tide will be high or
TIDE POOL:a low spot in the rocks or sand that holds seawater when the tide
TITRATIONa method of volumetric analysis in which an amount of one agent is
added to a known amount of another slowly
from a burette in order to reach a point of equal acidity. Used to calculate an unknown volume from a
known volume of liquid.
TRAWLING:A process where nets are towed through the water by boats to collect
TUNICATE:marine invertebrates that are also chordates (Phylum Chordata).
They have a sac-like body and don't move
because they attach to the bottom or a surface (like boats and docks). They're commonly called sea
UNEP:United Nations Environment Programme.|
UNIVALVE:a one shelled mollusk; gastropod.
VECTOR BORNE DISEASE:a disease that is spread by non-human organism such as a
tick, to a human being.|
VERTEBRATE:animals with backbones (vertebral columns) and whose brain is
encased in a skull; Vertebrata is in the
largest subphylum of Chordata.
VIRUS:A very small particle made up of nucleic acid with a protein covering,
or protein coat; not cells but can reproduce in the cells of living organisms.
VOCs:Volatile Organic Compounds.
WAMPUM:beads made from two types of shells. The white beads were made from
Northern whelk shells and the purple beads
were made from quahog (clam) shells.|
WATER POLLUTION:The change to water that is harmful to organisms.
WATERSHED:a region or area drained by a particular body of
WEATHERING:the processes that decay or break up rocks by a combination of
physically fracturing or chemically
WELL-MIXED ESTUARY:An estuary with strong tidal mixing and low river flow
that mix the sea water throughout the shallow estuary. Salinity is the same
top to bottom and decreases from ocean to river.
WETLANDS:areas that are covered by water at least part of the year. These
areas have a specific type of soil, can be
covered by either fresh or salt water, and are heavily vegetated.
WMO:World Meterorological Organization.
ZONATION:series of life zones that indicate the presence of organisms
within a particular range of time or
ZONE:a geographic area where only certain organisms live.