Glossary of Marine Biology



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Teleplanic larva. Larva capable of dispersal over long distances, such as across oceans


Temperate. Pertaining to the latitudinal belt between 23º 27' and 66º 33' north or south latitude


Tentacle-tube-foot suspension feeder. Suspension feeder that traps particles on distinct tentacles or tube feet (in echinoderms)


Terminal anchor. In hydraulically burrowing organisms: any device used to anchor the leading portion of the burrower, permitting muscular contraction to drag the rest of the body into the sediment


Territoriality. Defense of a specified location against intruders


Tertiary production. The production of living material per unit area (or volume) per unit time by organisms consuming the herbivores. Usually expressed as grams carbon per meter square per year


Thermocline. Depth zone within which temperature changes maximally


Thermohaline circulation. Movement of seawater that is controlled by density differences that are largely explained in terms of temperature and salinity


Tidal current. A water current generated by regularly varying tidal forces


Tides. Periodic movement of water resulting from gravitational attraction between the earth, sun, and moon


Top-down control. Refers to food webs where control of a population is mainly explained by consumption by a species or group of species at higher levels of the food chain (e.g., population change of population of mussels controled by seastar predation).


Trade winds. Persistent winds at low latitudes in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, blowing toward the west and the equator


Trench. Deep and sinuous depression in the ocean floor, usually seaward of a continental margin or an arcuate group of volcanic islands


Trophic level. In a food chain, a level containing organisms of identical feeding habits with respect to the chain (e.g., herbivores)


Tropical. Being within the latitudinal zone bounded by the two tropics (23º 27' north and south latitude)


Turbidity. The weight of particulate matter per unit volume of sea water


Ultraplankton. Planktonic organisms that are less than 2 micrometers in size


Uniform spatial distribution. Situation in which individuals are more evenly spread in space than would be expected on the basis of chance alone


Upwelling. The movement of nutrient-rich water from a specified depth to the surface


Vents. See Hydrothermal vents


Vertically homogeneous estuary. An estuary in which, at any given location, wind or tidal mixing homogenizes salinity throughout the water column


Vitamin. Chemical substances required in trace concentrations acting as a cofactor with enzymes in catalyzing biochemical reactions


Viviparous (development). Refers to development of an organism through the juvenile stage within a parent


Wash zone. The depth zone in which sediments are disturbed by wave action near the shoreline


Water mass. A body of water that maintains its identity and can be characterized by such parameters as temperature and salinity


Watershed. The land area that is drained by a river or estuary and its tributaries


Westerlies (prevailing westerlies). Persistent eastward-equatorward winds in midlatitudes in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres


Windward [side]. The side of an island that faces a persistent wind


Within-habitat comparison. A contrast of diversity between two localities of similar habitat type


Wrack zone. A bank of accumulated litter at the strandline


Year-class effect. The common domination of a species population by individuals recruited in one reproductive season


Zonation. Occurrence of single species or groups of species in recognizable bands that might delineate a range of water depth or a range of height in the intertidal zone


Zooplankton. Animal members of the plankton


Zooxanthellae. A group of dinoflagellates living endosymbiotically in association with one of a variety of invertebrate groups (e.g., corals)