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26 terms

APES: Chapter 6 Vocab

Aquatic Biodiversity
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barrier islands
Long, thin, low offshore islands of sediment that generally run parallel to the shore along some coasts
benthos
Bottom-dwelling organisms
coastal wetland
Land along a coastline, extending inland from an estuary, that is covered with salt water all or part of the year
coastal zone
Warm, nutrient-rich, shallow part of the ocean that extends from the high-tide mark on land to the edge of a shelflike extension of continental land masses known as the continental shelf
coral reef
Formation produced by massive colonies containing billions of tiny coral animals, called polyps, that secrete a stony substance (calcium carbonate) around themselves for protection. When the corals die, their empty outer skeletons form layers and cause the reef to grow. They are found in the coastal zones of warm tropical and subtropical oceans.
cultural eutrophication
Overnourishment of aquatic ecosystems with plant nutrients (mostly nitrates and phosphates) because of human activities such as agriculture, urbanization, and discharges from industrial plants and sewage treatment plants
decomposers
Organism that digests parts of dead organisms and cast-off fragments and wastes of living organisms by breaking down the complex organic molecules in those materials into simpler inorganic compounds and then absorbing the soluble nutrients. Producers return most of these chemicals to the soil and water for reuse. Decomposers consist of various bacteria and fungi
estuary
Partially enclosed coastal area at the mouth of a river where its fresh water, carrying fertile silt and runoff from the land, mixes with salty seawater
euphotic zone
Upper layer of a body of water through which sunlight can penetrate and support photosynthesis
eutrophic lake
Lake with a large or excessive supply of plant nutrients, mostly nitrates and phosphates
freshwater life zones
Aquatic systems where water with a dissolved salt concentration of less than 1% by volume accumulates on or flows through the surfaces of terrestrial biomes
inland wetlands
Land away from the coast, such as a swamp, marsh, or bog, that is covered all or part of the time with fresh water
intertidal zone
The area of shoreline between low and high tides
lakes
Large natural body of standing fresh water formed when water from precipitation, land runoff, or groundwater flow fills a depression in the earth created by glaciation, earth movement, volcanic activity, or a giant meteorite
mangrove swamps
Swamps found on the coastlines in warm tropical climates. They are dominated by mangrove trees, any of about 55 species of trees and shrubs that can live partly submerged in the salty environment of coastal swamps
mesotrophic lake
Lake with a moderate supply of plant nutrients
nekton
Strongly swimming organisms found in aquatic systems
oligotrophic lake
Lake with a low supply of plant nutrients
open sea
The part of an ocean that is beyond the continental shelf
phytoplankton
Small, drifting plants, mostly algae and bacteria, found in aquatic ecosystems
plankton
Small plant organisms (phytoplankton) and animal organisms (zooplankton) that float in aquatic ecosystems
runoff
Fresh water from precipitation and melting ice that flows on the earth's surface into nearby streams, lakes, wetlands, and reservoirs
surface water
Precipitation that does not infiltrate the ground or return to the atmosphere by evaporation or transpiration
ultraplankton
Photosynthetic bacteria no more than 2 micrometers wide
watershed
Land area that delivers water, sediment, and dissolved substances via small streams to a major stream (river).
zooplankton
Animal plankton. Small floating herbivores that feed on plant plankton (phytoplankton