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Essentials of Oceanography All Chapters
Study for the final! Combo of others' sets.
Terms in this set (507)
Electrons shared equally
form when electrons are shared unequally between atoms
having an indicated pole (as the distinction between positive and negative electric charges)
water molecules stick to each other
water molecules stick to other substances
Measure of total KE of the atoms and molecules in a substance
measure of the average KE of the atoms and molecules in a substance
Specific Heat Capacity
the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of substance by one degree celcius
van deer walls forces
weak interactions between molecules
heat absorbed or radiated during a change of phase at a constant temperature and pressure
latent heat of melting
amount of energy required to break the bonds
latent heat of freezing
amount of energy to form bonds
latent heat of condensation
amount of energy to form bonds
latent heat of vaporization
amount of energy required to break the bonds
properties that act to moderate changes in temperature
tendency of a substance to resist a change in temperature
oceans moderate temperature changes
land areas have greater ranges of temperatures
principle of constant proportions
Proportions of major conservative elements in seawater remain nearly constant, though salinity may change w/ location
measures specific gravity (density) of liquids
Light refracted differently depending on amount of dissolved solids
measures electrical conductivity of seawater
releases a hydrogen ion in solution (H+ donor)
combines with a hydrogen ion in solution (H+ receiver)
increases with decreasing temperatures, increases with increasing salinity, increases with increasing pressure
salinity variation with depth
abrupt change of temperature with depth
3 zones: Surface zone, pycnocline, deep ocean
zone where density increases with depth
Small sediment-covered inactive volcano or intrusion of molten rock less than 200 meters (650 feet) high, thought to be associated with seafloor spreading. Abyssal hills punctuate the otherwise flat abyssal plain.
Flat, cold, sediment-covered ocean floor between the continental rise and the oceanic ridge at a depth of 3,700 to 5,500 meters (12,000 to 18,000 feet). Abyssal plains are more extensive in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans than in the Pacific.
The continental margin near an area of lithospheric plate convergence; also called Pacific-type margin.
The discovery and study of submerged contours.
The submerged outer edge of a continent, made of granitic crust; includes the continental shelf and continental slope. Compare ocean basin.
The wedge of sediment forming the gentle transition from the outer (lower) edge of the continental slope to the abyssal plain; usually associated with passive margins.
The gradually sloping submerged extension of a continent, composed of granitic rock overlain by sediments; has features similar to the edge of the nearby continent.
The sloping transition between the granite of the continent and the basalt of the seabed; the true edge of a continent.
The point on Earth's surface directly above the focus of an earthquake.
Area of irregular, seismically inactive topography marking the position of a once-active transform fault.
A flat-topped, submerged inactive volcano.
A spring of hot, mineral- and gas-rich seawater found on some oceanic ridges in zones of active seafloor spreading.
One of several periods (lasting several thousand years each) of low temperature during the last million years. Glaciers and polar ice were derived from ocean water, lowering sea level at least 100 meters (328 feet).
Permanent cover of ice; formally limited to ice atop land, but informally applied also to floating ice in the Arctic Ocean.
Curving chain of volcanic islands and seamounts almost always found paralleling the concave edge of a trench.
Of the shore or coast; refers to continental margins and the water covering them, or to nearshore organisms.
Deep-ocean floor made of basaltic crust. Compare continental margin.
Young seabed at the active spreading center of an ocean, often unmasked by sediment, bulging above the abyssal plain. The boundary between diverging plates. Often called a midocean ridge, though less than 60% of the length exists at mid-ocean.
The continental margin near an area of lithospheric plate divergence; also called Atlantic-type margin.
A circular or elliptical projection from the seafloor, more than 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) in height, with a relatively steep slope of 20° to 25°.
The abrupt increase in slope at the junction between continental shelf and continental slope.
A deep, V-shaped valley running roughly perpendicular to the shoreline and cutting across the edge of the continental shelf and slope.
A plane along which rock masses slide horizontally past one another.
An arc-shaped depression in the deep-ocean floor with very steep sides and a flat sediment-filled bottom coinciding with a subduction zone. Most trenches occur in the Pacific.
An underwater "avalanche" of abrasive sediments thought responsible for the deep sculpturing of submarine canyons and a means of transport for sediments accumulating on abyssal plains.
The imaginary line around Earth parallel to the equator at 66°33'N, marking the northernmost limit of sunlight at the December solstice. The Arctic Circle marks the southern limit of the area within which, for one day or more each year, the sun does not set (around 21 June) or rise (around 21 December).
The hot, plastic layer of the upper mantle below the lithosphere, extending some 350 to 650 kilometers (220 to 400 miles) below the surface. Convection currents within the asthenosphere power plate tectonics.
The relatively heavy crustal rock that forms the seabeds, composed mostly of oxygen, silicon, magnesium, and iron. Its density is about 2.9 g/cm3.
The ability of an object to float in a fluid by displacement of a volume of fluid equal to it in mass.
The theory that Earth's surface features are formed by catastrophic forces such as the biblical flood. Catastrophists believe in a young Earth and a literal interpretation of the biblical account of Creation.
The transfer of heat through matter by the collision of one atom with another.
The solid masses of the continents, composed primarily of granite.
The theory that the continents move slowly across the surface of Earth.
Movement within a fluid resulting from differential heating and cooling of the fluid. Convection produces mass transport or mixing of the fluid.
A single closed-flow circuit of rising warm material and falling cool material.
convergent plate boundary
A region where plates are pushing together and where a mountain range, island arc, and/or trench will eventually form; often a site of much seismic and volcanic activity.
The innermost layer of Earth, composed primarily of iron, with nickel and heavy elements. The inner core is thought to be a solid 6,000°C (11,000°F) sphere, the outer core a 5,000°C (9,000°F) liquid mass. The average density of the outer core is about 11.8 g/cm3, and that of the inner core is about 16 g/cm3.
The outermost solid layer of Earth, composed mostly of granite and basalt; the top of the lithosphere. The crust has a density of 2.7- 2.9 g/cm3 and accounts for 0.4% of Earth's mass.
The temperature above which a material loses its magnetism.
The mass per unit volume of a substance, usually expressed in grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm3).
The formation of layers in a material, with each deeper layer being denser (weighing more per unit of volume) than the layer above.
divergent plate boundary
A region where plates are moving apart and where new ocean or rift valley will eventually form. A spreading center forms the junction.
A sudden motion of Earth's crust resulting from waves in Earth caused by faulting of the rocks or by volcanic activity.
A device that reflects sound off the ocean bottom to sense water depth. Its accuracy is affected by the variability of the speed of sound through water.
A fracture in a rock mass along which movement has occurred.
The relatively light crustal rock—composed mainly of oxygen, silicon, and aluminum—that forms the continents. Its density is about 2.7 g/cm3.
A sensitive device that measures variations in the pull of gravity at different places on Earth's surface.
Time required for one-half of all the unstable radioactive nuclei in a sample to decay.
A surface expression of a plume of magma rising from a stationary source of heat in the mantle.
A large mass of ice floating in the ocean that was formed on or adjacent to land. Tabular icebergs are tablelike or flat; pinnacled icebergs are castellated, or jagged. Southern icebergs are often tabular; northern icebergs are often pinnacled.
Balanced support of lighter material in a heavier, displaced supporting matrix; analogous to buoyancy in a liquid.
The brittle, relatively cool outer layer of Earth, consisting of the oceanic and continental crust and the outermost, rigid layer of mantle.
The rigid portion of Earth's mantle below the asthenosphere.
Molten rock capable of fluid flow; called lava above ground.
A device that measures the amount and direction of residual magnetism in a rock sample.
The layer of Earth between the crust and the core, composed of silicates of iron and magnesium. The mantle has an average density of about 4.5 g/cm3 and accounts for about 68% of Earth's mass.
Ascending columns of superheated mantle originating at the core- mantle boundary.
A catastrophic, global event in which major groups of species perish abruptly.
The rigid inner mantle, similar in chemical composition to the asthenosphere.
The outermost solid surface of Earth beneath ocean floor sediments, composed primarily of basalt.
An assemblage of subducting oceanic lithosphere scraped off (obducted) onto the edge of a continent.
Primary wave; a compressional wave that is associated with an earthquake and that can move through both liquid and rock.
Pacific Ring of Fire
The zone of seismic and volcanic activity that encircles the Pacific Ocean.
The "fossil," or remanent, magnetic field of a rock.
Name given by Alfred Wegener to the original "protocontinent." The breakup of Pangaea gave rise to the Atlantic Ocean and to the continents we see today.
Name given by Alfred Wegener to the ocean surrounding Pangaea.
One of about a dozen rigid segments of Earth's lithosphere that move independently. The plate consists of continental or oceanic crust and the cool, rigid upper mantle directly below the crust.
The theory that Earth's lithosphere is fractured into plates that move relative to each other and are driven by convection currents in the mantle. Most volcanic and seismic activity occurs at plate margins.
The disintegration of unstable forms of elements, which releases subatomic particles and heat.
The process of determining the age of rocks by observing the ratio of unstable radioactive elements to stable decay products.
Determining the age of a geological sample by comparing its position to the positions of other samples.
A logarithmic measure of earthquake magnitude. A great earthquake measures above 8 on the Richter scale.
Secondary wave; a transverse wave that is associated with an earthquake and that cannot move through liquid.
The theory that new ocean crust forms at spreading centers, most of which are on the ocean floor, and pushes the continents aside. Power is thought to be provided by convection currents in Earth's upper mantle.
Referring to earthquakes and the shock of earthquakes.
A low-frequency wave generated by the forces that cause earthquakes. Some kinds of seismic waves can pass through Earth. See also P wave; S wave.
An instrument that detects and records earth movement associated with earthquakes and other disturbances.
(1) The wide band at Earth's surface 105° to 143° away from an earthquake in which seismic waves are nearly absent. P waves are absent because they are refracted by Earth's liquid outer core; S waves are absent from this band and the zone immediately opposite the earthquake site because they are absorbed by the outer core.
(2) In sonar, the volume of ocean from which sound waves diverge and in which a submarine may hide.
The junction between diverging plates at which new ocean floor is being made; also called spreading zone.
The downward movement into the asthenosphere of a lithospheric plate.
An area at which a lithospheric plate is descending into the asthenosphere. The zone is characterized by linear folds (trenches) in the ocean floor and strong deep-focus earthquakes; also called a Wadati-Benioff zone.
Sinking, often of tectonic origin.
A very large mantle plume.
An isolated segment of seafloor, island arc, plateau, continental crust, or sediment transported by seafloor spreading to a position adjacent to a larger continental mass; usually different in composition from the larger mass.
A plane along which rock masses slide horizontally past one another.
transform plate boundary
Places where crustal plates shear laterally past one another. Crust is neither produced nor destroyed at this type of junction.
The theory that all of Earth's geological features and history can be explained by processes occurring today and that these processes must have been at work for a very long time.
See subduction zone.
(1880-1930) German scientist who proposed the theory of continental drift in 1912.
Wilson, John Tuzo
(1908-1993) Canadian geophysicist who proposed the theory of plate tectonics in 1965.
high angle of incidence
solar energy concentrated over small area
low angle of incidence
solar energy spread over greater area
% of incident radiation reflected to a space
distribution of solar energy
atmosphere absorbs radiation (thickness varies with latitude), less reaches Earth at poles
oceanic heat flow
ice high albedo, low angle of incidence
angular distance of sun from equatorial plane
the mass of air surrounding the Earth
warm air is dense than cold air, humid air is less dense than dry air
rising and cooling air
observed deflection of a moving object, caused by the moving frame of reference of the spinning earth
surface winds of hadley cells, subtropical highs to equator
surface winds of ferrel cells, 30-60*
large volumes of air with distinct properties, uniform temperature, humidity, density
boundaries between air masses, area where storm develops
may cause unusual weather, steering air masses
warm air blown on top of retreating edge of cold air
cold air advances, causes lifting of air masses
Idealized three cell model
More complex in reality due to: 1. seasonal changes 2. distribution of continents and ocean 3. differences in heat capacity between continents and oceans
Equatorial region - light variable winds
strong steady winds usually from the east, 5-30*
30* light variable winds, dry clear fair weather
winds generally from the west, 30-60* brings storms
variable winds, stormy cloudy weather year round 60*
60-90*, cold dry winds usually from the east
polar high pressure
poles 90* variable winds
Equatorial Climate zone
rising air, weak winds, doldrums
tropical Climate zone
strong winds, light precipitation, rough seas - extends to tropics of cancer and Capricorn
subtropical Climate zone
high pressure, descending air, weak winds
temperate Climate zone
strong westerlies, severe storms common
polar Climate zone
high pressure, sea ice most of the year
subpolar Climate zone
extensive precipitation, summer sea ice
Long term atmospheric conditions in a region
Short term atmospheric conditions in a localized region
from ocean to land
from land to ocean
disturbances in atmospheric circulation, with strong winds and precipitation
air moves from low to high, around a high, clockwise in n. hemisphere, and counterclockwise in southern
air moves from high to low -- around a low, counterclockwise in n. hemisphere, clockwise in southern
storm with rotating masses of low air pressure, strong winds torrential rain
extra tropical cyclones
form between two air masses (polar and ferrel cells)
develop between 1 warm, humid air mass, low pressure cell
low pressure cell, powered by latent heat of condensation (released by water vapor during cloud formation), air rises low pressure air deepens, surface winds feel moisture
The movement of different air masses (along an air-air interface) creates these waves, especially common when cold fronts move into an area.
Beaufort Wind Scale
assigns a numerical value to wind conditions and the appearance of the sea. 0=calm, mirror-like sea, no wind. 12 = hurricane force winds
A tiny wave with a wavelength of less than 1.73 centimeters (0.68 inch), whose restoring force is surface tension; the first type of wave to form when the wind blows.
Circular orbital motion
The motion of water particles caused by a wave as the wave is transmitted through water.
A form of wave interference in which two waves come together in phase, for example, crest to crest, to produce a greater displacement from the still-water line than that produced by either of the waves alone.
The portion of an ocean wave that is displaced above the still-water level.
the distance over which waves change from a choppy "sea" to uniform swell. can be up to several hundred kilometers.
Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART)
A system that utilizes sea floor sensors capable of picking up the small yet distinctive pressure pulse from a tsunami at the surface.
An ocean wave traveling in water that has a depth greater than one-half the average wavelength. Its speed is independent of water depth.
A form of wave interference in which two waves come together out of phase, for example, crest to trough, and produce a wave with less displacement than the larger of the two waves would have produced alone.
The energy that causes waves to form.
Defined as the number of wave crests passing a fixed location per unit of time and is the inverse of the period:
Frequency (f) = 1/period (T)
Fully developed sea
The maximum average size of waves that can be developed for a given wind speed when it has blown in the same direction for a minimum duration over a minimum fetch.
A wave for which the dominant restoring force is gravity. Such waves have a wavelength of more than 1.74 centimeters (0.7 inch), and their speed of propagation is controlled mainly by gravity. .
Pattern produced when two or more wave systems collide is the sum of the disturbance that each wave would have produced individually.
A wave that develops below the surface of a fluid, the density of which changes with increased depth. This change may be gradual or occur abruptly at an interface.
The world's first commercial wave power plant that can generate up to 500 kilowatts of power. It is located on Islay, a small island off the west coast of Scotland, and began generating electricity in November 2000.
A wave phenomenon when particle vibration is parallel to the direction of energy propagation.
A pattern of wave interference in which there is a combination of constructive and destructive interference.
The movement of air across the ocean surface (along an air-water interface) that creates waves
wave phenomena in which energy moves along the interface between fluids of different denisty. wave form is propagated by movement of fluid particles in orbital path
A line constructed perpendicular to a wave front and spaced so that the energy between lines is equal at all times. Orthogonals are used to help determine how energy is distributed along the shoreline by breaking waves.
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC)
- monitors data from all over the Pacific Rim
- seismic, wave heights, weather ...
- estimates the likelihood of tsunami hazard and the travel time
- issues warnings based on available data via sirens and communication to local officials
Impressive Curling breakers that form on moderately sloping beaches. (best for surfing)
The process by which the part of a wave in shallow water is slowed down, causing the wave to bend and align itself nearly parallel to the shore.
An unusually large wave that occurs unexpectedly amid other waves of smaller size. Also known as a superwave, monster wave, sleeper wave, or freak wave.
The area where wind-driven waves are generated. Characterized by choppiness and waves moving in many directions. The waves have a variety of periods and wavelengths (most of them short) due to frequently changing wind speed and direction.
A wave on the surface having a wavelength of at least 20 times water depth. The bottom affects the orbit of water particles and speed is determined by water depth.
To become shallow
A type of breaking wave that forms on gently sloping beach, which gradually extracts the energy from the wave to produce a turbulent mass of air and water that runs down the front slope of the wave
A long-wavelength wave created by a massive object or series of objects falling into water; a type of tsunami
A wave, the form of which oscillates vertically without progressive movement. The region of maximum vertical motion is antinode. On either side are nodes, where there is no vertical motion but maximum horizontal motion.
Still water level
The horizontal surface halfway between crest and trough of a wave. If there were no waves, the water surface would exist at this level. Also known as zero energy level.
An irregular wave pattern caused by mixed interference that results in a varied sequence of larger and smaller waves.
The nearshore zone of breaking waves.
The sport of riding on the crest or along the tunnel of a wave, especially while standing or lying on a surfboard.
A compressed breaking wave that builds up over a short distance and surges forward as it breaks. It is characteristic of abrupt beach slopes.
A free ocean wave by which energy put into ocean waves by wind in the sea is transported with little energy across great stretches of ocean to the margins of continents where the energy is released in the surf zone.
A wave moving from deep water to shallow water that has a wavelength more than twice the water depth but less than 20 times the water depth. Particle orbits are beginning to be influenced by the bottom.
A .wave in which particle motion is at right angles to energy propagation.
The part of an ocean wave that is displaced below the still-water level.
A seismic sea wave. A long-period gravity wave generated by a submarine earthquake or volcanic event. Not noticeable on the open ocean but builds up to great heights in shallow water.
The depth at which circular orbital motion becomes negligible. It exists at a depth of one-half wavelength, measured vertically from still water level.
The separation of waves as they leave the sea area by wave size. Larger waves travel faster than smaller waves and thus leave the sea area first, to be followed by progressively smaller waves.
Vertical distance between a wave crest and the adjoining trough.
The elapsed time between the passage of two successive wave crests (or troughs) past a fixed point. A wave's period is the inverse of its frequency.
The reflection of progressive waves by a vertical barrier. Reflection occurs with little loss of energy.
The rate at which a wave travels. It can be calculated by dividing a wave's wavelength by its period.
Ratio of wave height (H) to wavelength (L). If a 1:7 ratio is ever exceeded by the wave, then the wave breaks.
A series of waves from the same direction. Informally known as a wave set.
The horizontal distance between two corresponding points on successive waves, such as from crest to crest.
the land along the edge of a body of water
the shore of a sea or ocean
the mechanical process of wearing or grinding something down
the wearing away of land and the removal of beach or dune sediments
coasts that are steady or growing because of sediment
areas frequently battered by large waves
coasts that are rarely exposed to intense wave action
formed when waves erode and undercut rock to produce steep slops
small chambers formed in coastal cliffs by wave action and salt spray weathering
the slightly sloped foot at a base of a sea cliff
a long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea between high cliffs
a pebbly or sandy shore
the movement of water up a beach when a wave breaks
the wave that spreads behind a boat as it moves forward
a narrow ledge or shelf typically at the top or bottom of a slope
The top of the berm,the highest point on most beaches
sand on the shore-ward side of the berm crest, sloping away from the ocean.
the part of the seashore between the high-water mark and the low-water mark
a vertical wall of variable height marking the landward limit of the most recent high tides
a shallow depression of the sea floor parallel to the shore.
submerged/exposed accumulation of sand
the transport of sedimentsHYYU along a coast at an angle to the shoreline
a water current that travels near and parallel to the shoreline
sand forming small pools of water near the shore
Bay Mouth Bar
a sand bar that completely crosses a bay
an arm off of a larger body of water
low, narrow, sandy islands that form offshore from a coastline
a body of water cut off from a larger body by a reef of sand or coral
a chain of islands off the Atlantic coast of northern Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina
a ridge of sand that connects an island to the mainland or to another island
deposits of sand and soil at the mouth of a river
a long, canoe shaped hill made of till and shaped by an advancing glacier
till deposited on the edge of gacier
a reef consisting of coral consolidated into limestone
a large coral reef formation that closely borders the shoreline
a coral reef running parallel to the shore but separated from it by a channel of deep water
a ring-shaped reef, island, or chain of islands formed of coral
the tidal mouth of a large river, where the tide meets the stream
Salt Wedge Estuaries
a very deep river mouth with a very large volume of freshwater flow beneath which a wedge of saltwater from the ocean invades.
estuaries with strong tidal mixing and week river inflow
Partially Mixed Estuaries
deeper estuaries, greater river flow
u-shaped valleys below sea level.
barriers that break the force of waves
One of a class of pigments (such as fucoxanthin, phycobilin, and xanthophyll) that are present in various photosynthetic plants and that assist in the absorption of light and the transfer of its energy to chlorophyll; also called masking pigment.
Collective term for nonvascular plants possessing chlorophyll and capable of photosynthesis. (Singular, alga.)
A flowering vascular plant that reproduces by means of a seed-bearing fruit. Examples are sea grasses and mangroves.
Convergence zone encircling Antarctica between about 50° and 60°S, marking the boundary between Antarctic Circumpolar Water and Subantarctic Surface Water.
A naked diatom cell without valves; often a dormant stage in the life cycle following sexual reproduction.
Single-celled prokaryotes, organisms lacking membranebound organelles.
Biologically produced light.
Algal equivalent of a vascular plant's leaf; also called a frond.
A very small planktonic alga carrying discs of calcium carbonate, which contributes to biogenous sediments.
The depth in the water column at which the production of carbohydrates and oxygen by photosynthesis exactly equals the consumption of carbohydrates and oxygen by respiration. The break-even point for autotrophs. Generally a function of light level.
A small planktonic arthropod, a major marine primary consumer.
Earth's most abundant, successful, and efficient singlecelled phytoplankton. Diatoms possess two interlocking valves made primarily of silica. The valves contribute to biogenous sediments.
One of a class of microscopic single-celled flagellates, not all of which are autotrophic. The outer covering is often of stiff cellulose. Planktonic dinoflagellates are responsible for "red tides."
A whiplike structure used by some small organ-isms and gametes to move through the environment. (Plural, flagella.)
One of a group of planktonic amoeba-like animals with a calcareous shell, which contributes to biogenous sediments.
The siliceous external cell wall of a diatom consisting of two interlocking valves fitted together like the halves of a box.
A brown or tan accessory pigment found in many species of brown algae and some species of diatoms.
In multicellular algae, an air-filled structure that assists in flotation.
A complex branching structure that anchors many kinds of multicellular algae to the substrate.
Permanent members of the plankton community. Examples are diatoms and copepods. Compare meroplankton.
Informal name for any species of large phaeophyte.
Euphausia superba, a thumb-size crustacean common in Antarctic waters.
Animal plankters larger than 1 to 2 centimeters (12 to 1 inch). An example is the jellyfish.
A large flowering shrub or tree that grows in dense thickets or forests along muddy or silty tropical coasts.
See accessory pigment.
The planktonic phase of the life cycle of organisms that spend only part of their life drifting in the plankton.
Consisting of more than one cell.
Algae with bodies consisting of more than one cell. Examples are kelp and Ulva.
A compound or ion that is needed by autotrophs for primary productivity and that changes in concentration with biological activity.
Describing photosynthetic autotrophs without vessels for the transport of fluid. Examples are algae.
oxygen minimum zone
A zone in which oxygen is depleted by animals and not replaced by phytoplankton.
Brown multicellular algae, including kelps.
A reddish accessory pigment found in red algae.
Plantlike, usually single-celled members of the plankton community.
Extremely small members of the plankton community, typically 0.2 to 2 micrometers (4 to 40 millionths of an inch) across.
Informal name for a member of the plankton community.
Drifting or weakly swimming organisms suspended in water. Their horizontal position is to a large extent dependent on the mass flow of water rather than on their own swimming eff orts.
A sudden increase in the number of phytoplankton cells in a volume of water.
Conical net of fine nylon or Dacron fabric used to collect plankton.
The kingdom to which multicellular vascular autotrophs belong.
Red, multicellular algae.
Any of several marine angiosperms. Examples are Zostera (eelgrass) and Phyllospadix (surfgrass). Sea grasses are not seaweeds.
Informal term for large marine multicellular algae.
A tiny, single-celled phytoplankter with a siliceous skeleton.
Multicellular algal equivalent of a vascular plant's stem.
The body of an alga or other simple plant.
Extremely small plankton, smaller than nanoplankton.
Consisting of a single cell.
Algae with bodies consisting of a single cell. Examples are diatoms and dinoflagellates.
In diatoms, each half of the protective silica-rich outer portion of the cell. The complete outer covering is called the frustule.
Plant having vessels for transport of fluid through leaves, stems, and roots. Examples are sea grasses, mangroves, and maple trees.
A yellow or brown accessory pigment that gives some marine autotrophs a yellow or tan appearance.
Animal members of the plankton community.
The class of jawless fishes: hagfishes and lampreys.
Describing coral species lacking symbiotic zooxanthellae and incapable of secreting calcium carbonate at a rate suitable for reef production.
A multicellular organism unable to synthesize its own food and often capable of movement.
The kingdom to which multicellular heterotrophs belong.
The phylum of animals to which segmented worms belong.
The phylum of animals that includes shrimp, lobsters, krill, barnacles, and insects. The phylum Arthropoda is the world's most successful.
The class of the phylum Echinodermata to which sea stars belong.
The class of birds.
The interleaved, hard, fibrous, hornlike filters within the mouth of baleen whales.
Body structure having left and right sides that are approximate mirror images of each other. Examples are crabs and humans. Compare radial symmetry.
The class of the phylum Mollusca that includes clams, oysters, and mussels.
The order of mammals that includes seals, sea lions, walruses, and sea otters.
A tough, elastic tissue that stiffens or supports.
The class of the phylum Mollusca that includes squid, octopuses, and nautiluses.
The order of mammals that includes porpoises, dolphins, and whales.
A complex nitrogen-rich carbohydrate from which parts of arthropod exoskeletons are constructed.
A marine mollusk of the class Polyplacophora.
The class of fishes with cartilaginous skeletons: the sharks, skates, rays, and chimaeras.
The phylum of animals to which tunicates, Amphioxus, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals belong.
A pigmented skin cell that expands or contracts to affect color change.
The phylum of animals to which corals, jellyfish, and sea anemones belong.
Type of cell found in members of the phylum Cnidaria that contains a stinging capsule. The threads that evert from the capsules assist in capturing prey and repelling aggressors.
A heterotrophic organism.
Any of more than 6,000 species of small cnidarians, many of which are capable of generating hard calcareous (aragonite, CaCO3) skeletons.
A camouflage pattern featuring a dark upper surface and a lighter bottom surface.
The class of phylum Arthropoda to which lobsters, shrimp, crabs, barnacles, and copepods belong.
Camouflage; may be active (under control of the animal) or passive (an unalterable color or shape).
The resistance to movement of an organism induced by the fluid through which it swims.
The phylum of exclusively marine animals to which sea stars, brittle stars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers belong.
The class of the phylum Echinodermata to which sea urchins and sand dollars belong.
The use of reflected sound to detect environmental objects. Cetaceans use echolocation to detect prey and avoid obstacles.
An organism incapable of generating and maintaining steady internal temperature from metabolic heat and therefore whose internal body temperature is approximately the same as that of the surrounding environment; a cold-blooded organism.
An organism capable of generating and regulating metabolic heat to maintain a steady internal temperature. Birds and mammals are the only animals capable of true endothermy. A warm-blooded organism.
A strong, lightweight, form-fitted external covering and support common to animals of the phylum Arthropoda. The exoskeleton is made partly of chitin and may be strengthened by calcium carbonate.
The carnivoran suborder that includes sea otters.
Simultaneous passage, through a semipermeable membrane, of oxygen into an animal and carbon dioxide out of it.
The class of the phylum Mollusca that includes snails and sea slugs.
The thin boundary of living cells separating blood from water in a fish's (or other aquatic animal's) gills.
Describing coral species possessing symbiotic zooxanthellae within their tissues and capable of secreting calcium carbonate at a rate suitable for reef production.
The class of the phylum Echinodermata to which sea cucumbers belong.
Animal lacking a backbone.
A system of sensors and nerves in the head and midbody of fishes and some amphibians that functions to detect low-frequency vibrations in water.
The class of mammals.
Free-swimming body form of many members of the phylum Cnidaria.
Segmentation; repeating body parts.
Tendency for large reptiles to eat entire cities.
The phylum of animals that includes chitons, snails, clams, and octopuses.
To shed an external covering.
The suborder of baleen whales.
The phylum of animals to which roundworms belong.
Stiffening structure found at some time in the life cycle of all members of the phylum Chordata.
The suborder of toothed whales.
The class of the phylum Echinodermata to which brittle stars belong.
The ability to adjust internal salt concentration.
The class of fishes with bony skeletons.
The time span, from about 2 billion to 400 million years ago, during which photosynthetic autotrophs changed the composition of Earth's atmosphere to its current oxygen-rich mixture.
One of the major groups of the animal kingdom whose members share a similar body plan, level of complexity, and evolutionary history (see Appendix VI). (Plural, phyla.) (The major groups of the plant kingdom are called divisions.)
The carnivoran suborder that contains the seals, sea lions, and walruses.
The phylum of animals to which flatworms belong.
The largest and most diverse class of phylum Annelida. Nearly all polychaetes are marine.
One of two body forms of Cnidaria. Polyps are cup-shaped and possess rings of tentacles. Coral animals are polyps.
The phylum of animals to which sponges belong.
An organism consumed by a predator.
Body structure in which the body parts radiate from a central axis like spokes from a wheel. An example is a sea star. Compare bilateral symmetry.
The class of reptiles, including turtles, crocodiles, iguanas, and snakes.
Specialized tissue responsible for concentration and excretion of excess salt from blood and other body fluids.
Tendency of small fish of a single species, size, and age to mass in groups. The school moves as a unit, which confuses predators and reduces the eff ort spent searching for mates.
Consumer of primary consumers.
The order of mammals that includes manatees, dugongs, and the extinct sea cows.
An animal that feeds by straining or otherwise collecting plankton and tiny food particles from the surrounding water.
A gas-filled organ that assists in maintaining neutral buoyancy in some bony fishes.
The osteichthyan order that contains the cod, tuna, halibut, perch, and other species of bony fishes.
A type of suspension-feeding invertebrate chordate.
Chaotic fluid flow.
A chordate with a segmented backbone.
Resistance to fluid flow. A measure of the internal friction in fluids.
System of water-filled tubes and canals found in some representatives of the phylum Echinodermata and used for movement, defense, and feeding.
Unicellular dinoflagellates that are symbiotic with coral and that produce the relatively high pH and some of the enzymes essential for rapid calcium-carbonate deposition in coral reefs.
A "no-tide" point in an ocean caused by basin resonances, friction, and other factors around which tide crests rotate. About a dozen amphidromic points exist in the world ocean. Sometimes called a node.
The point in the orbit of a satellite where it is farthest from the sun; opposite of perihelion.
The point in the orbit of a satellite where it is farthest from the main body; opposite of perigee.
A tidal cycle of one high tide and one low tide per day.
dynamic theory of tides
Model of tides that takes into account the effects of finite ocean depth, basin resonances, and the interference of continents on tide waves.
Water rushing out of an enclosed harbor or bay because of the fall in sea level as a tide trough approaches.
equilibrium theory of tides
Idealized model of tides that considers Earth to be covered by an ocean of great and uniform depth capable of instantaneous response to the gravitational and inertial forces of the sun and the moon.
Water rushing into an enclosed harbor or bay because of the rise in sea level as a tide crest approaches.
The high-water position corresponding to a tidal crest.
The low-water position corresponding to a tidal trough.
Tide caused by gravitational and inertial interaction of the moon and Earth.
mean sea level
The height of the ocean surface averaged over a few years' time.
A tide influenced by the weather. Arrival of a storm surge will alter the estimate of a tide's height or arrival time, as will a strong, steady onshore or off shore wind.
A complex tidal cycle, usually with two high tides and two low tides of unequal height per day.
The time of smallest variation between high and low tides occurring when Earth, moon, and sun align at right angles. Neap tides alternate with spring tides, occurring at two-week intervals.
The line or point of no wave action in a standing pattern. See also amphidromic point.
The point in the orbit of a satellite where it is closest to the main body; opposite of apogee.
The point in the orbit of a satellite where it is closest to the sun; opposite of aphelion.
The height of the ocean surface. See also mean sea level.
A tidal cycle of two high tides and two low tides each lunar day, with the high tides of nearly equal height.
A time of no tide-induced currents that occurs when the current changes direction.
Tide caused by the gravitational and inertial interaction of the sun and Earth.
The time of greatest variation between high and low tides occurring when Earth, moon, and sun form a straight line. Spring tides alternate with neap tides throughout the year, occurring at two-week intervals.
The splash zone above the highest high tide; not technically part of the ocean bottom.
A high, often breaking wave generated by a tide crest that advances rapidly up an estuary or river.
Mass flow of water induced by the raising or lowering of sea level owing to passage of tidal crests or troughs. See also ebb current; flood current.
The reference level (0.0) from which tidal height is measured.
The difference in height between consecutive high and low tides.
The crest of the wave causing tides; another name for a tidal bore; not a tsunami or seismic sea wave.
Periodic short-term change in the height of the ocean surface at a particular place, generated by long-wavelength progressive waves that are caused by the interaction of gravitational force and inertia. Movement of Earth beneath tide crests results in the rhythmic rising and falling of sea level.
The inner portion of the shore, lying landward of the mean spring tide high water line. Acted upon by the ocean only during exceptionally high tides and storms.
The flow of water down the beach face toward the ocean from a previously broken wave.
A long, narrow, wave-built island separated from the mainland by a lagoon.
Bay barrier (bay-mouth bar)
A marine deposit attached to the mainland at both ends and extending entirely across the mouth of a bay, separating the bay from the open water. Also known as a bay-mouth bar.
Sediment seaward of the coastline through the surf zone that is in transport along the shore and within the surf zone.
A series of rivers, beaches, and submarine canyons involved in the movement of sediment to the coast, along the coast, and down one or more submarine canyons.
The wet, sloping surface that extends from the berm to the shoreline. Also known as the low tide terrace.
Beach replenishment (beach nourishment)
The addition of beach sediment to replace lost or missing material. also called beach nourishment.
The interruption of sediment supply and resulting narrowing of beaches.
The dry, gently sloping region on the backshore of a beach at the foot of the coastal cliffs or dunes.
An artificial structure constructed roughly parallel to shore and designed to protect a coastal region from the force of ocean waves.
A strip of land that extends inland from the coastline as far as marine influence is evidenced in the landforms.
The landward limit of the effect of the highest storm waves on the shore.
A low-lying deposit at the mouth of a river, usually having a triangular shape as viewed from above.
A shoreline dominated by processes that form deposits (such as sand bars and barrier islands) along the shore.
An ancient beach now beneath the coastal ocean because of rising sea level or subsidence of the coast.
Drowned river valley
The lower part of a river valley that has been submerged by rising sea level or subsidence of the coast.
A shoreline resulting from the emergence of the ocean floor relative to the ocean surface. It is usually rather straight and characterized by marine features usually found at some depth.
A shoreline dominated by processes that form erosional features (such as cliffs and sea stacks) along the shore.
Eustatic sea level change
A worldwide raising or lowering of the sea.
The portion of the shore lying between the normal high and low water marks; the intertidal zone.
A low artificial structure built perpendicular to the shore and designed to interfere with longshore transportation of sediment so that it traps sand and widens the beach on its upstream side.
A series of closely spaced groins.
Any form of artificial structure built to protect a coast or to prevent the movement of sand along a beach. Examples include groins, breakwaters, and seawalls.
A steep-faced irregularity of the coast that extends out into the ocean.
A structure built from the shore into a body of water to protect a harbor or a navigable passage from being closed off by the deposition of longshore drift material.
A deposit of sediment that forms parallel to the coast within or just beyond the surf zone.
A current located in the surf zone and running parallel to the shore as a result of waves breaking at an angle to the shore.
Longshore drift (longshore transport)
The load of sediment transported along the beach from the breaker zone to the top of the swash line in association with the longshore current. Also called longshore transport or littoral drift.
A low area of the beach that separates the beach face from the longshore bar.
A wave-cut bench that has been exposed above sea level.
The zone of a beach that extends from the low tide shoreline seaward to where breakers begin forming.
The comparatively flat submerged zone of variable width extending from the breaker line to the edge of the continental shelf.
The strategy of moving a structure that is threatened by being claimed by the sea.
A strong narrow surface or near-surface current of short duration and high speed flowing seaward through the breaker zone at nearly right angles to the shore. It represents the return to the ocean of water that has been piled up on the shore by incoming waves.
Large blocky material used to armor coastal structures.
An opening through a headland caused by wave erosion. Usually develops as sea caves are extended from one or both sides of the headland.
A cavity at the base of a sea cliff formed by wave erosion.
An isolated, pillar like rocky island that is detached from a headland by wave erosion.
A wall built parallel to the shore to protect coastal property from the waves.
The area seaward of the coast, which extends from the highest level of wave action during storms to the low water line.
The line marking the intersection of water surface with the shore. Migrates up and down as the tide rises and falls.
A small point, low tongue, or narrow embankment of land commonly consisting of sand deposited by longshore currents and having one end attached to the mainland and the other terminating in open water.
Stranded beach deposit
An ancient beach deposit found above present sea level because of lowering sea level.
Submerged dune topography
Ancient coastal dune deposits found submerged beneath the present shoreline because of a rise in sea level or submergence of the coast.
A shoreline formed by the relative submergence of a landmass in which the shoreline is on landforms developed under subaerial processes. It is characterized by bays and promontories and is more irregular than a shoreline of emergence.
A beach that is characteristic during summer months. It typically has a wide sandy berm and a steep beach face.
A thin layer of water that washes up over exposed beach as waves break at the shore.
A sand or gravel bar that connects an island with another island or the mainland.
A gently sloping surface produced by wave erosion and extending from the base of the wave-cut cliff out under the offshore region.
A cliff produced by landward cutting by wave erosion.
A beach that is characteristic during winter months. It typically has a narrow rocky berm and a flat beach face.
The variety of different species within a habitat.
Describing water intermediate in salinity between seawater and fresh water.
The size at which a particular population in a particular environment will stabilize when its supply of resources— including nutrients, energy, and living space—remains constant.
A stable, long-established community of self-perpetuating organisms that tends not to change with time.
Distribution of organisms within a community in small, patchy aggregations, or clumps; the most common distribution pattern.
A symbiotic interaction between two species in which only one species benefits and neither is harmed.
The populations of all species that occupy a particular habitat and interact within that habitat.
deep scattering layer (DSL)
A relatively dense aggregation of fishes, squid, and other mesopelagic organisms capable of reflecting a sonar pulse that resembles a false bottom in the ocean. Its position varies with the time of day.
A feeding relationship in which an organism is limited to feeding on one species or, in extreme cases, on one size phase of one species.
Accumulation, usually of sediments.
See deep scattering layer.
Study of the interactions of organisms with one another and with their environment.
All the limiting factors that act together to regulate the maximum allowable size, or carrying capacity, of a population.
A body of water partially surrounded by land where fresh water from a river mixes with ocean water, creating an area of remarkable biological productivity.
Describing an organism able to tolerate a wide range in salinity.
Describing an organism able to tolerate a wide variance in temperature.
An organism capable of tolerating extreme environmental conditions, especially temperature or pH level.
The place where an individual or population of a given species lives; its "mailing address."
The marine zone between the highest high-tide point on a shoreline and the lowest low-tide point. The intertidal zone is sometimes subdivided into four separate habitats by height above tidal datum, typically numbered 1 to 4, land to sea.
Able to move about.
A symbiotic interaction between two species that is beneficial to both.
Description of an organism's functional role in a habitat; its "job."
A symbiotic relationship in which one species spends part or all of its life cycle on or within another, using the host species (or food within the host) as a source of nutrients; the most common form of symbiosis.
A group of individuals of the same species occupying the same area.
The number of individuals per unit area.
Distribution of organisms within a community whereby the position of one organism is in no way influenced by the positions of other organisms or by physical variations within that community; a very rare distribution pattern.
Attached; nonmotile; unable to move about.
An exclusive relationship between two species. Parasites are usually species-specific; that is, they can usually parasitize only one species of host.
Describing an organism unable to tolerate a wide range in salinity.
Describing an organism unable to tolerate wide variance in temperature.
The changes in species composition that lead to a climax community.
The co-occurrence of two species in which the life of one is closely interwoven with the life of the other; mutualism, commensalism, or parasitism.
Distribution of organisms within a community characterized by equal space between individuals (the arrangement of trees in an orchard); the rarest natural distribution pattern.
Physical movement, often sudden, violent, and of great force, caused by the crash of a wave against an organism.
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Essentials of Oceanography All Chapters
Essentials of Oceanography All Chapters
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