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You are here: /main/research expeditions/CReefs 2006/Glossary

Census of Marine Life, Census of Coral Reefs Expedition to French Frigate Shoals (October 2006)

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(Mahalo to The Free Dictionary and Wikipedia)

Algae (Limu in Hawaiian) - Algae (singular alga) encompass several different groups of usually relatively simple living organisms that capture light energy through photosynthesis, converting inorganic substances into simple sugars using the captured energy. Algae have been traditionally regarded as simple plants, and indeed some are closely related to the higher plants. Others appear to represent different protist groups, alongside other organisms that are traditionally considered more animal-like (that is, protozoa). Thus algae do not represent a single evolutionary direction or line, but a level of organization that may have developed several times in the early history of life on earth.

Alien Species - Plants and animals moved from their native habitats to new locations by humans, either accidentally or intentionally, are considered to be alien or introduced species.

Crustacean - The crustaceans (Crustacea) are a large group of arthropods (55,000 species), usually treated as a subphylum [1]. They include various familiar animals, such as lobsters, crabs, shrimp and barnacles. The majority are aquatic, living in either fresh water or marine environments, but a few groups have adapted to terrestrial life, such as terrestrial crabs, terrestrial hermit crabs and woodlice. The majority are motile, moving about independently, although a few taxa are parasitic and live attached to their hosts (including sea lice, fish lice, whale lice, tongue worms, and Cymothoa exigua), and adult barnacles live a sessile life - they are attached head-first to the substrate and cannot move independently.

Cryptofauna - Cryptofauna are animals that are rarely seen and may be extinct or mythological.

Epifauna - Epifauna are non-photosynthetic, benthic organisms that live upon the surface of sediments or soils.

GenBank - The GenBank sequence database is an open access, annotated collection of all publicly available nucleotide sequences and their protein translations. This database is produced at National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) as part of an international collaboration with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Data Library from the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and the DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ). GenBank and its collaborators receive sequences produced in laboratories throughout the world from more than 100,000 distinct organisms. GenBank continues to grow at an exponential rate, doubling every 10 months. Release 155, produced in August 2006, contained over 65 billion nucleotide bases in more than 61 million sequences. GenBank is built by direct submissions from individual laboratories, as well as from bulk submissions from large-scale sequencing centers.

Infauna - Infauna are aquatic organisms (usually animals, but sometimes algae) that live within particulate media such as sediments or soil. They are most common in the subtidal and deeper zones.

Invertebrate - Invertebrate is a term coined by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck to describe any animal without a spinal column. The group includes 97% of all animal species—all animals except vertebrates (fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals). Lamarck divided these animals into two groups, the Insecta and the Vermes, but they are now classified into over 30 phyla, from simple organisms such as sponges and flatworms to complex animals such as arthropods and molluscs.

Macrofauna - Macrofauna are benthic or soil organisms which are at least several centimeters in length.

Meiofauna - Meiofauna are small benthic invertebrates that live in both marine and fresh water environments. The term Meiofauna loosely defines a group of organisms by their size, larger than microfauna but smaller than macrofauna, rather than a taxonomic grouping. In practice these are organisms that can pass through a 1 mm mesh but will be retained by a 45 mm mesh, but the exact dimensions will vary from researcher to researcher. Whether an organism will pass through a 1 mm mesh will also depend upon whether it is alive or dead at the time of sorting.

Microbes - A microorganism or microbe is an organism that is microscopic (too small to be visible to the naked eye). Microorganisms are often described as single-celled, or unicellular organisms; however, some unicellular protists are visible to the naked eye, and some multicellular species are microscopic. The study of microorganisms is called microbiology.

Microfauna - Microfauna are microscopic or very small animals (usually including protozoans and very small animals such as rotifers.

Morphospecies - The traditional way to discern one species from another is to use differences in body appearance, i.e., differences in morphology which could involve shape, size, texture or colour of external and/or internal body structures. Species named in this way are sometimes referred to as morphospecies. Different morphospecies tend to 'look different'.

Plankton - The name plankton is derived from the Greek word meaning "wanderer" or "drifter" (Thurman, 1997). While some forms of plankton are capable of independent movement and can swim up to several hundreds of metres vertically in a single day (a behavior called diel vertical migration), their horizontal position is primarily determined by currents in the body of water they inhabit. By definition, organisms classified as "plankton" are unable to resist ocean currents. This is in contrast to nekton organisms that can swim against the ambient flow of the water environment and control their position (e.g. squid, fish, krill and marine mammals).

Taxonomy - In today's usage, Taxonomy (as a science) deals with finding, describing and naming organisms. This science is supported by institutions holding collections of these organisms, with relevant data, carefully curated: such institutes include Natural History Museums, Herbaria and Botanical Gardens.

Ship Logs

Ship Logs:
Day-by-day activities of the expedition.

Daily or semi-daily personal journal entries by the particpants in the expedition. These journals do not necessarily reflect the positions of any of the agencies connected with this project.

Interviews with expedition participants, scientists, vessel crew, educators, etc.

Highlights or special information such as interesting discoveries, articles or related research.

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