abiotic
nonliving components of the environment
aboveground biomass
total mass of aboveground living plants per area
abyssal zone
deepest part of the ocean at depths of 4000 m or greater
algal bloom
rapid increase of algae in an aquatic system
aphotic zone
part of the ocean where no light penetrates
benthic realm
(also, benthic zone) part of the ocean that extends along the ocean bottom from the shoreline to the deepest parts of the ocean floor
biogeography
study of the geographic distribution of living things and the abiotic factors that affect their distribution
biome
ecological community of plants, animals, and other organisms that is adapted to a characteristic set of environmental conditions
biotic
living components of the environment
canopy
branches and foliage of trees that form a layer of overhead coverage in a forest
channel
width of a river or stream from one bank to the other bank
clathrates
frozen chunks of ice and methane found at the bottom of the ocean
climate
long-term, predictable atmospheric conditions present in a specific area
conspecifics
individuals that are members of the same species
coral reef
ocean ridges formed by marine invertebrates living in warm, shallow waters within the photic zone
cryptofauna
invertebrates found within the calcium carbonate substrate of coral reefs
ecology
study of interaction between living things and their environment
ecosystem services
human benefits and services provided by natural ecosystems
emergent vegetation
wetland plants that are rooted in the soil but have portions of leaves, stems, and flowers extending above the water’s surface
endemic
species found only in a specific geographic area that is usually restricted in size
estuary
biomes where a source of fresh water, such as a river, meets the ocean
fall and spring turnover
seasonal process that recycles nutrients and oxygen from the bottom of a freshwater ecosystem to the top
global climate change
altered global weather patterns, including a worldwide increase in temperature, due largely to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide
greenhouse effect
warming of Earth due to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
greenhouse gases
atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide and methane that absorb and emit radiation, thus trapping heat in Earth’s atmosphere
haze-effect cooling
effect of the gases and solids from a volcanic eruption on global climate
heterospecifics
individuals that are members of different species
intertidal zone
part of the ocean that is closest to land; parts extend above the water at low tide
Milankovitch cycles
cyclic changes in the Earth's orbit that may affect climate
neritic zone
part of the ocean that extends from low tide to the edge of the continental shelf
net primary productivity
measurement of the energy accumulation within an ecosystem, calculated as the total amount of carbon fixed per year minus the amount that is oxidized during cellular respiration
ocean upwelling
rising of deep ocean waters that occurs when prevailing winds blow along surface waters near a coastline
oceanic zone
part of the ocean that begins offshore where the water measures 200 m deep or deeper
pelagic realm
(also, pelagic zone) open ocean waters that are not close to the bottom or near the shore
permafrost
perennially frozen portion of the Arctic tundra soil
photic zone
portion of the ocean that light can penetrate
planktivore
animal species that eats plankton
predator
animal species that hunt and are carnivores or “flesh eaters”
Sargassum
type of free-floating marine seaweed
solar intensity
amount of solar power energy the sun emits in a given amount of time
source water
point of origin of a river or stream
thermocline
layer of water with a temperature that is significantly different from that of the surrounding layers
weather
conditions of the atmosphere during a short period of time