Glossary of Terms and Acronyms

Go to: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N OP Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Algae
Any of many aquatic photosynthetic organisms, whose size ranges from a single cell to giant kelps and whose form is very diverse.
Assimilation
As used in the Arctic Ecosystem model, assimilation is the efficiency with which zooplankton consume phytoplankton. Zooplankton are "sloppy feeders. that is, they don't manage to consume all of the phytoplankton biomass when grazing, leaving behind partially consumed phytoplankton.
Atmosphere
The whole mass of gases surrounding the earth or other celestial bodies. Today's atmosphere is made up primarily of nitrogen (78%), free oxygen (21%) and greenhouse gases which can capture solar radiation: water vapor, which ranges from less than 1% in arid regions to over 3% in moist areas, carbon dioxide (0.035%) and methane (0.00018%). In the past the composition of the Earth's atmosphere has varied.

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B

Bacteria
Tiny microorganisms that reproduce by cell division and usually have a cell wall. Bacteria can be shaped like a sphere, rod, or spiral and can be found in virtually any environment.
Bering Sea
The marinal sea located between Russia and Alaska from the Bering Strait in the north to the Aleutian Islands in the south.
Biomass
The amount of living material in unit area or volume, usually expressed as mass or weight.
Bloom
Period of explosive population growth of the phytoplankton community.

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C

Climate
Long term characteristics of weather.

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D

Detritus
As used in Arctic Ecosystem model, detritus is the remains of deceased phytoplankton and zooplankton.

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E

Ekmax
Ekmax is the maximum photoadaptation parameter. Ekmax reflects the amount of photosynthesis a plant can undergo at a certain light level. Lower Ekmax values mean that phytoplankton approach their maximum levels of photosynthesis at lower light levels.

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F

Feedback
Factors which increase or amplify (positive feedback) or decrease (negative feedback) the rate of a process. An example of positive climatic feedback is the ice-albedo feedback.
Food Web
The complex arrangement of who-eats-who in an ecosystem. Food chains are linked together to form food webs.
Foraging Fish
Foraging fish feed on zooplankton, as opposed to other fish.

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G

Glucose
A type of sugar; the chief source of energy for living organisms.
Greenhouse Effect
The process by which the equilibrium temperature of the earth is increased due to presence of gases in the atmosphere that absorb outgoing longwave radiation.
Growth0
Growtho is the temperature-specific growth rate (o), which determines the temperature-dependent maximum growth rate (max). When o is low, it means that phytoplankton dont grow well at a given water temperature. When it is high, it means they grow much better.

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H

Half-saturation Coefficient
When we examine a property like the growth rate of phytoplankton, it approaches a maximum value as the concentration of the available nutrients increases. The half-saturation coefficient is the nutrient concentration where the growth rate equals half of its maximum.

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I

Ice Algae
Single-celled (unicellular) algae, which develop in the lowermost sections of sea ice, often forming chains and filaments. Ice algae are an important component of the Arctic marine food web.
Ice Retreat
When sea ice melts in the spring and summer, it melts faster at the edges. Thus the edge of the sea ice retreats toward the more-permanent multi-year sea ice.

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J

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K

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L

Light Limited
Photosynthesis is light limited. That is to say that no matter how favorable the other environmental conditions are (nutrients, temperature, etc) the amount of photosynthesis that occurs is limited by the available light.

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M

Monod
Jacques Monod was a French researcher who studied microbial growth rates. He developed an equation relating growth rate to concentration of limiting nutrient, which bears his name. We call this the "Monod Equation" and speak of "Monod growth rates".
Mortality
Estimate of the proportion of a population which dies during a specified period.

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N

Nanoplankton
Larger phytoplankton (2 to 20 µm diameter).

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P

Photosynthesis
The process in green plants and certain other organisms by which carbohydrates are synthesized from carbon dioxide and water using light as an energy source. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) are combined in the presence of sunlight and the green pigment chlorophyll, to produce food (C6H12O6) and oxygen (O2).
Phytoplankton
Plankton is a loose term used to refer to small (need a magnifying lens to see clearly) plants and animals that live in the upper layers of the ocean. phytoplankton refers to the plankton that use photosynthesis to make needed compounds. There are a range of pigments that different phytoplankton use, both to gather solar energy and to protect themselves from high-energy solar radiation.
Picoplankton
Very small phytoplankton (<2 µm diameter).
Predatory Fish
Predatory fish consume other fish.

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Q

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R

Remineralization
The process of converting dead material back into nutrients that are available for consumption by living organisms.

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S

Sea Ice
Any form of ice found at sea which has originated from the freezing of sea water.
Sediments
Sediment is naturally-occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion and is subsequently transported by the action of fluids such as wind, water, or ice, and/or by the force of gravity acting on the particle itself.
Sloppy Feeding
When zooplankton graze on phytoplankton, some of the phytoplankton are only partially consumed. This inefficiency is called sloppy feeding.

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T

Taxa
A grouping of organisms given a formal taxonomic name such as species, genus, family.

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U

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V

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W

Water Column
A conceptual column of water from sea surface to bottom sediments. It is a useful concept when examining changes with depth.

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X

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Y

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Z

Zooplankton
Zooplankton are very small animals that live in the water. They differ from phytoplankton in that they do not photosynthesize.

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References:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/ctl/glossary.html
http://www.hhs.gov/nvpo/glossary.htm
http://science.larc.nasa.gov/biomass_burn/glossary.html
http://www.nps.gov/archive/grsa/resources/curriculum/glossary.htm
http://sfbay.wr.usgs.gov/access/wqdata/guide/glossary.html
http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary/
http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/essay_krembsdeming.html
http://www.nas.nasa.gov/About/Education/Ozone/glossary.html
http://www.dbcp.noaa.gov/seashelp/HtmlIceGlossary.htm
http://www.pca.state.mn.us/gloss/glossary.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/