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Marine Biology Definitions

Marine Biology Definitions for Modules 1-5


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Animals that possess a backbone
Binomial Nomenclature
Identifying an organism by its genus and species name
Extension of the body containing thin-walled blood vessels that allow for easy absorption of oxygen from the outside surface
An organism that regulates its internal concentration of salts
Bilateral Symmetry
A body form in which only one longitudinal cut through the organism's center results in identical halves
Continental Slope
The steeper section of a continental edge, extending seaward from the continental shelf
A group of cells surrounded by a shell made of spicules
The movement of molecules from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration
A jelly-like substance between the inner layer and the outer layer of cells in a cnidarian
A complete morphological change from larval to adult form
Prokaryotic, single-celled, microscopic organisms
An organism whose body temperature is controlled by its surrounding environment
Mid-ocean Ridge
A continuous chain of underwater volcanic mountains encompassing the earth
Continental Rise
The gently sloping area at the base of the continental slope
Photosynthetic organisms that drift in the water
Oceanic Crust
The portion of earth's crust that primarily contains basalt, is relatively dense, and is about 5 km thick
Organisms that cannot make their own food and must obtain it from other organisms
Alternation of Generations
A life cycle that alternates between a sexual stage (gametophyte) and an asexual stage (sporophyte)
A free-swimming cnidarian stage, appearing bell-like or umbrella-like
The process by which a living organism takes energy from its surroundings and uses it to sustain itself, develop, and grow
Continental Crust
The portion of the earth's crust that primarily contains granite, is less dense than oceanic crust, and is 20-50 km thick
Spring Tide
A time of largest tidal range due to the gravitational pull of the aligned sun and moon (during the full moon and new moon)
Sexual Reproduction
Reproduction that involves the union of gametes from two organisms: a male and a female
Asexual Reproduction
Reproduction accomplished by a single organism
An immature stage of an animal that appears different from the adult stage
Radial Symmetry
A body form in which any longitudinal cut (along the length) through the organism's central axis results in identical halves
Haploid Cell (1n)
A cell that contains half the normal number of chromosomes (one from each pair)
An organism whose body temperature changes with its surrounding environment
Seafloor Spreading
The process that creates new sea floor as plates move away from each other at the mid-ocean ridges
A close relationship between two species where at least one benefits
The diffusion of water across a selectively permeable membrane
A body cavity within organisms containing specialized tissue
Cells within a sponge that produce its skeletal structure, perform digestion, and repair cell damage
Large, mostly circular systems of surface currents driven by the wind
Referring to the bottom (or belly) surface of an animal
Coriolis Effect
The way in which the rotation of the earth bends the path of winds and resulting sea currents
Organisms that are able to produce their own food
Diploid Cell (2n)
A cell that has chromosomes which come in pairs
Plate Tectonics
A process involving the movement of large plates on the earth's mantle
Referring to the top (or back) surface of an animal
The process by which an organism uses the energy from the sun to produce its own food
Specific Heat
The amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of a substance by 1.00 degrees Celsius
A large opening on a sponge through which filtered water is expelled
A relationship between two or more organisms of different species where both benefit
An animal that maintains a controlled internal body temperature using its own heating and cooling mechanisms
A relationship between two organisms of different species where one benefits and the other is neither benefited or harmed
Neap Tide
A time of smallest tidal range due to the moon and sun being located at right angles to each other (during quarter moons)
An organism that results from the symbiosis between a fungus and an alga
An animal whose internal body temperature is a result of internal sources of heat
Animals that do not possess a backbone
A relationship between two or more organisms of different species where one benefits and the other is harmed
The making of organic material from inorganic substances using chemical energy
The process by which food is converted into useable energy for life functions
Organisms that break down dead organic matter into smaller molecules
Continental Shelf
The gently sloped shallow section of the edge of a continent, extending from the shore to the point where the slope gets steeper
Tiny floating organisms that are either small animals or protozoans
An attached cnidarian stage, appearing sac-like or barrel-like
An organism that allows its internal concentration of salts to change in order to match the external concentration of salts in the surrounding water
The total amount of salt dissolved in a solvent
The complete body of an alga, not differentiated into true leaves, stems, or roots
The tendency of living organisms to control or regulate changes in their internal environment
Spherical Symmetry
A body form in which any cut through the organism's center results in identical halves

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