The jargon associated with mangroves can be an impediment to comprehension. MAP is in the process of developing a dynamic glossary that will facilitate the understanding of this site. In the meantime, we are making available static glossaries for your use.
MAP Curriculum Glossary
Structural or functional changes to an organism in response to a new condition or environment; evolutionarily speaking, the organism is better suited to reproduce and survive due to these changes. For example, ducks have webbed feet that help them to swim.
Simple unicellular or multicellular plants that have no vascular tissue and therefore no leaf, stem, or root systems.
A crustacean of the order Amphipodos that includes scuds or sideswimmers, which are found in most pond or mangrove water.
An invertebrate animal characterized by jointed legs, a segmented body, and an exoskeleton of chitin; includes lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and insects.
Minute single-celled organisms, most of which are parasitic; bacteria are the primary organisms responsible for decay and fermentation.
Having the ability to be broken down into simpler components by living organisms.
The diversity of life on Earth, reflected in the number and variety of species and populations, and the communities that they form.
Sporadic occurrence of huge populations of algae.
Salty water, but less salty than seawater.
To produce young, to propagate.
A hole or passageway beneath the surface, or to make such a hole.
Bird vocalizations that are not songs; made during courtship, feeding, and migration, as well as to warn.
Protective coloration or shape that helps to hide an animal from its predators or prey.
The basic unit of which all living organisms are composed, usually consisting of a nucleus and a mass of cytoplasm bound by a membrane.
Green pigment in plants that absorbs light energy needed in photosynthesis.
The number of eggs laid by a female during one nesting cycle.
Having a body temperature that varies with the temperature of the surroundings. For example, fish are cold-blooded.
A group of living organisms in a given area that interact with each other; the living component of an ecosystem.
The struggle among organisms for food, space, and other requirements for existence.
The protection, management, and wise use of all living and non-living cultural and human resources.
A sac at the bottom of the esophagus in many birds used to store food for later digestion.
Movements of water created by winds, tides, or differences in salinity or temperature between water masses.
Organisms, primarily bacteria, which breakdown dead organic matter into simpler substances.
An animal that feeds on detritus.
Material resulting from the decomposition of dead organic matter.
Microscopic algae with a two-part siliceous cell; important members of the phytoplankton.
Molecular oxygen present in water (not the O in H2O.)
Soft feathers next to a bird’s body which provide insulation.
To remove sand, sediments, mangroves, etc. from the bottom using a scoop or shovel-like device or large suction pipe.
The movement of the tidal current away from shore; a decrease in the height of the tide.
A species that is in immediate danger of becoming extinct.
A skeleton that is produced within the body and remains embedded there.
All the conditions or influences within a particular ecosystem that affect the organisms of that ecosystem.
Brackish water influenced by the tides, where the mouth of the river meets the sea.
An external skeleton, like the shells of mollusks or arthropods.
No longer living. The Dodo is an extinct species.
All the animals living in a particular place.
A type of suspension feeding in which food particles are obtained by filtering them from a water current. For example, mangrove oysters filter-feed.
To take the first flight. Birds that have just fledged are often called fledglings.
All the plants living in a particular place.
The passage of energy (food) from producers (plants) up to herbivores and carnivores.
Many interlocking and interdependent food chains.
Coal, oil, and other energy sources formed over millions of years from the remains of plants and animals. The burning of fossil fuel is a major source of pollution.
A snail, limpet, nudibranch, or sea slug.
The muscular part of a bird’s stomach which grinds hard-to-digest food.
global climate change
The predicted change in the Earth’s climate brought about by the accumulation of pollutants in the atmosphere. The effects of global climate change include altered weather patterns and rising sea levels.
The trapping of heat by gases, such as carbon dioxide, in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Water which fills the spaces between rocks and soil particles underground. Groundwater is replenished when rainwater trickles through the soil. Surface water, such as lakes and rivers, is often replenished by groundwater.
The specific physical place where an animal or organism lives, e.g., in a hole, under a rock, on a mangrove root.
A plant-eating animal.
An organism in which, or on which, another lives; in certain symbiotic relationships the host is the larger of the two partners.
Not fully developed.
To take into the body, especially solid substances.
An animal which eats insects or other invertebrates.
A coastal area between the high-tide and low-tide zones which is alternately covered with water and exposed to the air.
An animal or plant which has been brought into areas where the species never lived before. Introduced species often compete with and cause problems for native species.
An animal without a backbone.
The juvenile stage of many animals. The larva is usually different in appearance from the adult and may lead a very different way of life.
The process by which materials on or in soil are dissolved and carried by water seeping through the soil. Leaching may contaminate groundwater supplies.
Zooplankton over 1 mm in size.
In birds, the two halves of the beak. In other vertebrates, the lower jaw.
A general term applied to several tropical and subtropical salt-tolerant plants.
Fully developed, adult.
Very large plankton such as jellyfish and sunfish.
Energy changes which sustain life within an organism.
A change in form that an animal undergoes as it develops from egg to adult.
Invertebrates including gastropods (such as conch and snails), bivalves (clams and mussels), and cephalopods (squid and octopus).
Seasonal movement from one region to another. For example, a warbler might migrate from the North America to South America for the winter.
To shed and regrow an exoskeleton or other outer body coverings; for example, when a crab sheds and replaces its carapace.
A slimy secretion containing protein, which serves to moisten and lubricate membranes; is often used by filter- and suspension-feeders for trapping food particles.
A species which occurs naturally in an area.
The place where an organism lives and the activities it carries out; its address and “job”. For example, the niche of a Whistling-Duck could be described as: nighttime feeder in ponds, plant eater, daytime rooster in trees, ground-nester, non-migrator.
The study of birds. An ornithologist is a scientist who studies birds.
The process which occurs when cattle, sheep, goats, or other animals graze too much in too small an area for too long a period. Overgrazing often results in soil erosion, the destruction of vegetation, and other problems.
The breast muscles. In most birds, the pectoral muscles are very powerful. They raise and lower the wings during flight.
The manufacture of complex chemicals from carbon dioxide and water using light as the source of energy. This is usually a property of plants, the green pigment chlorophyll being essential in the process.
The collective name for small, drifting plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton). These aquatic organisms are the basis of mangrove and ocean food webs.
A bird’s feathers referred to collectively.
An air-containing organ. In black mangroves it is a vertical extension of the root which contains air; in a Man-o-War (frigatebird) it is an air-filled bladder inflated to attract a mate.
To hunt, kill, or collect a plant or animal illegally.
Pollution which comes from a particular source, such as from a factory or a sewage treatment plant. Non-point pollution, which doesn’t come from a single identifiable source, includes materials that wash off streets, yards, farms, and other surfaces.
A human-caused change in the physical, chemical, or biological conditions of the environment which creates an undesirable and harmful effect on living things.
Members of the same species living in a community.
A carnivorous animal. Its victim is called the prey.
When a bird cleans, straightens, and fluffs its feathers.
An animal that is killed for food.
An organism which can produce organic substances from inorganic ones; plants.
Seeds of mangroves resulting from the pollination of flowers. They start to germinate while they are still attached to the tree and remain on the tree until they are mature, when they fall and are dispersed by water until finding a suitable substrate to settle.
Roots growing out from stems, often tree trunks, at an angle that tends to support the plants. Red mangrove trees have many prop roots.
The file-like tongue of many snail-like mollusks, used for rasping their food.
Adapted for seizing prey.
A species that has a small number of individuals and/or has a limited distribution. A rare species may not be threatened or endangered.
An offshore ridge of materials such as rocks or coral which lies close to the surface of the water.
In invertebrates, the regrowth of a missing part or the restoration of a new individual from part of the original.
In plants, a horizontal stem on or under the ground that produces stems and roots; in animals (coral), a horizontal outgrowth which gives rise to new individuals.
Breeding ground of gregarious birds or mammals. Gregarious means they live or nest in groups.
A place where birds rest at night, often in large numbers.
The saltiness of water, measured in parts per thousand.
An area of soft, wetland periodically flooded by salt water.
An animal which feeds on dead or dying organisms.
Many similar aquatic organisms swimming together.
A type of tunicate (invertebrate) which may attach to another object such as a Red mangrove root.
The material which settles through the water column to the bottom.
In flowering plants, an embryo covered by a seed coat.
Attached to the bottom of rocks, pilings, Red mangrove roots, and so on.
Hard exoskeleton of certain animals, especially mollusks and marine arthropods.
The notes repeated by a bird over and over in a regular pattern. Birds use song to help defend territories and sometimes to attract mates.
A basic taxonomic group consisting of individuals of common ancestry who strongly resemble each other physiologically and who interbreed, producing fertile offspring.
Zone above the high tide line which is regularly wet by the salt spray of the surf.
Tide of maximum range occurring at the new and full moon.
In coelenterates (such as coral or jellyfish), cells that contain stinging structures.
Pertaining to the zone below the low-tide line.
Nearly tropical in location and climate.
A subdivision of a species consisting of individuals different from the rest of the species but which can still interbreed with other members of the species.
The bottom, which may be muddy, rocky or sandy; also called the substratum.
Pertaining to the zone below the low-tide mark.
The evolutionary sequence whereby plant and animal communities replace one another until they reach a stable “climax” community; for example, a saltwater pond filling in and becoming a land-based community.
Feeding upon particles, either plankton or detritus, suspended in the water.
An association in which two dissimilar organisms live closely together.
Pertaining to the sense of touch.
Two intermediate latitudinal zones of the Earth’s surface: between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle, and the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circles.
The space an animal or bird defends from other animals or birds (usually the same species) for mating or feeding.
In invertebrates, the region of the body between the head and abdomen.
A species whose numbers are low or declining. A threatened species is not in immediate danger of extinction, but is likely to become endangered if it isn’t protected.
The difference in amplitude (height) between consecutive high and low tides.
Tsunami, or a huge sea wave caused by an oceanic disturbance.
The periodic ebb and flow of ocean waters caused by the gravitational pull between the Earth and the moon and the Earth and the sun.
Depression in a rock (or created by rocks) within the intertidal zone which traps water as the tide recedes.
Cells of similar structure which are grouped together and perform a specific function.
The region between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
Sedentary filter-feeding animals whose larvae superficially resemble tadpoles, and which have many features which link them to the vertebrates.
Composed of one cell.
A mollusk with a one-piece shell; a gastropod.
In invertebrates, a distinct piece of a shell.
Animals with backbones, including fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.
Being able to maintain a constant body temperature independent of the outside temperature. For example, all birds are warm-blooded.
Material eliminated from the body.
The animals of the plankton.