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Reduced by a degree or intensity, elimination of pollution.
Non-living thing. Usually refers to the physical and chemical components of an organism's environment. Also called inorganic
Abiotic Factor
An environmental factor which is nonliving such as water, soil, temperature, sunlight
The process of absorbing or of being absorbed -- to incorporate or take up -- to take in.
Acid Rain
Rain (and snow, fog, dust particles, etc.) containing acids that form in the atmosphere when sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides from industrial emissions and automobile exhaust combine with water.
Having the properties of an acid, or containing acid; having a pH below 7.0
Acute, Chronic
Acute is a short, one time exposure while chronic is a continuous, low-level exposure.
To be accustomed to the natural factors that are in a given area and to be able to survive these factors, being either positive or negative.
Adaptive Management
A management process involving a defined start position and a defined objective position, whereby the progress toward the objective can be measured, in order that judgments may be made as to degree of achievement reached and the process continued in the same or a revised form, or abandoned.
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)
Adenosine Triphosphate; transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism. It is produced as an energy source during the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration and consumed by many enzymes.
Aeration Zone
Zone immediately below the ground surface within which pore spaces are partially filled with water and partially filled with air.
A suspension of solid or liquid particles within the air; Man-made aerosols (dust particles) in the atmosphere are believed to reduce solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth and therefore to produce a cooling effect on global temperatures
Alaska Pipeline
Built from April 29, 1974 to June 20, 1977, this above ground pipeline through Alaska brings oil from the oil wells in northern Alaska to the shipping ports in southern Alaska.
The fraction of incident light that is reflected by an object, especially the Earth or another planet reflecting the Sun's light.
Any of various chiefly aquatic, eukaryotic or bacterial, photosynthetic organisms, ranging in size from single-celled forms to the giant kelp. Algae were once considered to be plants but are now classified separately because they lack true roots, stems, leaves, and embryos.
Containing an alkali or having the properties of an alkali; having a pH greater than 7.0
Alternative Renewable Energy
Renewable energy sources are those that are replenished by natural processes at rates exceeding their rate of use for human purposes, unlike fossil fuels which are not replenished at a useful rate. Sources considered renewable include solar, biomass, wind, geothermal, hydropower.
Amino Acid
Organic nitrogen containing acids which are used to construct proteins.
A pungent colorless gaseous alkaline compound of nitrogen and hydrogen NH3 that is very soluble in water and can easily be condensed to a liquid by cold and pressure.
Chemical compound composed of nitrogen and hydrogen (NH4). Component of the nitrogen cycle. Product of organic matter decomposition. Can be fixed to clay minerals and later exchanged.
having no definite shape or boundaries; a term applied to rocks and minerals that have no definite crystalline structure.
A crustacean of the chiefly marine order Amphipoda, having a laterally compressed body and a large number of leg-like appendages.
  1. Living without molecular oxygen.
  2. Occurring only in the absence of molecular oxygen.
  3. Growing in the absence of molecular oxygen.
Plants of a large group (subdivision Angiospermae) that comprises those that have flowers and produce seeds enclosed within a carpel, including herbaceous plants, shrubs, grasses, and most trees.
Deviation from the normal order or rule.
Resulting from human activity
A pipe or channel designed to transport water from a remote source, usually by gravity. A bridge like structure supporting a conduit or canal passing over a river or low ground.
Porous, water-bearing layers of sand, gravel, or rock.
Aquifer Recharge Area
Surface area that provides water for an aquifer.
Is a group of recently discovered organisms that resemble bacteria. However, these organisms are biochemically and genetically very different from bacteria. Some species of the domain Archaea live in the most extreme environments found on the Earth.
Archaic Period
8,000 BC - 500 BC, the period after which paleoindian people settled into permanent residence in Florida.
Artesian wells
When water gushes out of an aquifer without being pumped; caused by pressure from the earth's crust.
objects made by humans, such as stone tools; studied by geoarcheologists.
A fibrous incombustible mineral known to cause fibrosis and scarring in the lungs. Also a known carcinogenic material (lung cancer, mesothelioma).
Aswan High Dam
Dam across the Nile River in Egypt, which impounds one of the largest reservoirs in the world.-- the artificial lake created by the dam Called Lake Nasser inundated many villages along the Nile.-- Hydroelectric installations were added in 1960 to the Aswan Dam.
A synthetic compound derived from triazine, used as an agricultural herbicide.
Auto emissions standards
The standards that are set to regulate how much pollution is put out by your vehicle.
An organism that produces food molecules inorganically by using a light or chemical based sources of external energy. This organism does not require outside sources of organic food energy for survival. Also see chemical autotrophs and photosynthetic autotrophs.
Baby Boom
A sudden large increase in the birthrate over a particular period, especially the 15 years after World War II.
Simple single celled prokaryotic organisms. Many different species of bacteria exist. Some species of bacteria can be pathogenic causing disease in larger more complex organisms. Many species of bacteria play a major role in the cycling of nutrients in ecosystems through aerobic and anaerobic decomposition. Finally, some species form symbiotic relationships with more complex organisms and help these life forms survive in the environment by fixing atmospheric nitrogen.
Anything that serves no particular purpose except to give bulk or weight to something or that provides additional stability.
Barometric Pressure
Atmospheric pressure as indicated by a barometer.
a dark-colored, fine-grained, igneous rock formed from molten rock that flowed onto the Earth's surface.
Basement Rocks
refers to very deep, ancient rocks that underlie the continents and oceans.
A large, bowl shaped depression in the surface of the land or ocean floor.
The plant and animal organisms that live on the sea floor. Often divided into two categories: deep-sea benthos , below 200 meters and the littoral benthos , from 200 meters to the high-water spring tide level.
The process by which organisms absorb chemicals or elements  directly from their environment.  Often refers to residues of chemical compounds  applied to waters for a control purpose being retained in substrates and  being absorbed by resident micro-organisms to form a "toxic soup".
Bioaccumulation-based sediment quality guidelines (SQGs)
Sediment quality guidelines that are established to protect fish, aquatic-dependent wildlife, and human health against effects that are associated with the bioaccumulation of contaminants in sediment-dwelling organisms and subsequent food web transfer.
Bioaccumulative Substances
The chemicals that tend to accumulate in the tissues of aquatic and terrestrial organisms.
Degree to which a chemical can be absorbed by and/or interact with an organism.
The accumulation of a chemical in the tissues of an organism as a result of direct exposure to the surrounding medium (e.g. water; i.e. it does not include food web transfer).
Able to be decomposed by microorganisms.
The genetic, species, and ecological diversity of the organisms in a given area.
A complex aggregation of microorganisms marked by the excretion of a protective and adhesive matrix. Biofilms are also often characterized by surface attachment
The accumulation of a chemical in the tissues of an organism as a result of food web transfer.
The total mass of living matter within a given unit of environmental area.
A broad, regional type of ecosystem characterized by distinctive climate and soil conditions
Part of the Earth where life is found. The biosphere consists of all living things, plant and animal. This sphere is characterized by life in profusion, diversity, and clever complexity. Cycling of matter in this biosphere involves not only metabolic reactions in organisms, but also many abiotic chemical reactions. Also called ecosphere
  1. Referring to life.
  2. Influences caused by living organisms.
Birth Control
Any method used to reduce births, including celibacy, delayed marriage, contraception; devices of medication that prevent implantation of fertilized zygote, and induce abortion.
Black Water
Water containing human excrement that cannot be reused without purification.
A rapid growth of microscopic algae or cyanobacteria in water often resulting in a coloured scum on the surface.
marine invertebrate animals in which the soft parts are enclosed by two shells, called valves.
Brackish Water
Fresh and salt water combined.
Breeder Reactor
A nuclear reactor that produces more fuel than it consumes. This kind of reactor is used mainly to produce plutonium.
A group of organisms having common ancestors and certain distinguishable characteristics, especially a group within a species developed by artificial selection and maintained by controlled propagation.
tiny marine animals that build colonies with their shells.
containing or primarily made of the mineral calcite (calcium carbonate, CaCO3).
Calcium Carbonate
Compound consisting of calcium and carbonate. Calcium carbonate has the following chemical structure CaCO3.
Capillary water
Water that clings in small pores, cracks, and spaces against the pull of gravity, like water held in a sponge.
Is an organic compound composed of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. Some examples are sugars, starch, and cellulose.
Carbon Cycle
The combined processes, including photosynthesis, decomposition, and respiration, by which carbon as a component of various compounds cycles between its major reservoirs: the atmosphere, oceans, and living organisms.
Carbon Dioxide
Common gas found in the atmosphere. Has the ability to selectively absorb radiation in the longwave band. This absorption causes the greenhouse effect. The concentration of this gas has been steadily increasing in the atmosphere over the last three centuries due to the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and land-use change. Some scientists believe higher concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will result in an enhancement of the greenhouse effect and global warming. The chemical formula for carbon dioxide is CO2.
Carbon monoxide (CO)
A colorless, odorless, highly poisonous gas, CO, formed by the incomplete combustion of carbon or a carbonaceous material, such as gasoline.
Carbon Sinks
Places of carbon accumulation, such as large forests (organic compounds) or ocean sediments, (calcium carbonate); carbon is thus removed from the carbon cycle for moderately long to very long periods of time.
Compound consisting of a single atom of carbon and three atoms of oxygen. Carbonate has the following chemical structure CO3
A substance that causes cancer.
Heterotrophic organism that consumes living animals or the parts of living animals for food. Examples of carnivores include lions, cheetahs, leopards, frogs, snakes, hawks, and spiders. A carinore can also be called a secondary consumer or tertiary consumer. Also see herbivore, detritivore, scavenger, and omnivore.
An organism that eats only the meat of other organisms.
Carrying Capacity
The maximum number of individuals of any species that can be supported by a particular ecosystem on a long-term basis.
Catalytic converter
A reaction chamber typically containing a finely divided platinum-iridium catalyst into which exhaust gases from an automotive engine are passed together with excess air so that carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon pollutants are oxidized to carbon dioxide and water.
(Systems) Dynamic systems that jump abruptly from one seemingly steady state to another without any immediate changes. A detrimental effect that something has on an environment, perhaps a natural disaster, that destroys the ecosystem and surrounding living conditions.
An ion carrying a positive atomic charge.
A cell is the smallest self-functioning unit found in living organisms. Each cell is enclosed by an outer membrane or wall and contains genetic material (DNA) and other parts to carry out its life functions. Some organisms such as bacteria consist of only one cell, but most of the organisms found on the Earth are made up of many cells.
Celsius Scale
Scale for measuring temperature. In this scale, water boils at 100° and freezes at 0°.
Cenozoic Era
the latest of the four eras into which geologic time, as recorded by the stratified rocks of the Earth's crust, is divided; it extends from the end of the Mesozoic Era to and including the present, or Recent.
Chemical Energy
that part of the energy in a substance that can be released by a chemical reaction
City in Russia where a nuclear power plant suffered a melt-down due to poor decisions made by power plant workers. The resulting explosions killed a number of workers and spewed radioac
A halogen element that is isolated as a heavy greenish yellow gas of pungent odor and is used especially as a bleach, oxidizing agent, and disinfectant in water purification.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC)
A series of hydrocarbons containing both chlorine and fluorine. These have been used as refrigerants, blowing agents, cleaning fluids, solvents, and as fire extinguishing agents. They have been shown to cause stratospheric ozone depletion and have been banned for many uses.
Green pigment found in plants and some bacteria used to capture the energy in light through photosynthesis.
Organelle in a cell that contains chlorophyll and produces organic energy through photosynthesis.
Organic structure that carries an organism's genetic code (DNA).
consisting of fragments of rocks or organic structures: gravels, sands, silts, and clays.
A fine-grained, firm earthy material that is plastic when wet and hardens when heated, consisting primarily of hydrated silicates of aluminum and widely used in making bricks, tiles, and pottery; used for liners in landfills because it is impervious.
Clean Air Act
Long standing federal legislation that is the legal basis for the national clean air programs, last amended in 1990.
A description of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area.
Coal Liquefaction
Chemical process by which solid coal is converted to a liquid. This is referred to as a synfuel or synthetic fuel.
Coastal Wetland
Wetland habitat found along a coastline and is covered with ocean salt water for all or part of the year. Examples of this type of habitat include tidal marshes, bays, lagoons, tidal flats, and mangrove swamps.
A power generation process that increases efficiency by harnessing the heat that would otherwise be wasted in the fuel combustion process, and using it to generate electricity, warm buildings, or for other purposes.
Coliform Bacteria
Bacteria that live in the intestines (including the colon) of humans and other animals, used as a measure of the presence of feces in water or soil.
A chemical change, especially oxidation, accompanied by the production of heat and light.
Commercial Breeding
Breeding animal and plants for commercial significance, such as breeding dogs,
Commercial Harvesting
The harvesting of animals or cash crops for commercial reasons.
A group of various populations in a given area
A compound is the atoms of different elements joined together.
The amount of a component in a given area or volume.
Condensation is the change of state from a gas to a liquid. Water vapor in the air changes to liquid as it cools.
Confined Aquifer
a zone of subsurface water-bearing rocks that contain water under pressure due to zones above and below it having low permeability, which restrict the flow of water into and out of it. An artesian aquifer is a type of confined aquifer.
An organism that obtains energy and nutrients by feeding on other organisms or their remains.
Of or pertaining to consumption; having the quality of consuming or dissipating. Consumptive uses of water include pumping water for irrigation or municipal uses, and evapotranspiration.
Containment building
Reinforced concrete building housing the nuclear reactor. Designed to contain an explosion should one occur.
Something that contaminates.
Of or relating to or characteristic of a continent (one of the large landmasses of the earth).
Contour Plowing
Plowing along hill contours-reduces erosion.
Convection cell
The transfer of heat or other atmospheric properties by massive motion within the atmosphere, especially by such motion directed upward.
Conventional Energy
Energy from sources such as fossil fuels that are in wide use.
To express a quantity in alternative units.
soft, porous limestone composed of broken shells, corals, and other organic debris.
small, colonial, bottom-dwelling, marine animals that secrete external skeletons of calcium carbonate (calcite). The colonies they create with their skeletons can make enormous reef-complexes, such as the Florida Keys, the Australian Great Barrier Reef, and many coral islands in the Pacific Ocean, and other oceans.
Coral Reefs
Prominent oceanic features composed of hard, lime skeletons produced by coral animals; usually formed along the edges of shallow, submerged ocean banks or along shelves in warm, shallow, tropical seas.
Coriolis Effect
The observed effect of the Coriolis force, especially the deflection of an object moving above the earth, rightward in the northern hemisphere and leftward in the southern hemisphere.
Gradually destructive; steadily harmful.
The breaking of the long carbon chains found in the hydrocarbons in crude oil by heating at high temperatures to form smaller molecules that are more useful.
a marine animal consisting of a cup or "head" containing the vital organs, numerous radiating arms, an elongate, jointed stem, and a root-like attachment to the sea bottom while the body, stem and arms float.
Criteria pollutants
The 1970 amendments to the Clean Air Act required EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for certain pollutants known to be hazardous to human health. EPA has identified six criteria pollutants: sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, ozone, and particulate matter.
Bacteria that have the ability to photosynthesize.
All of the protoplasm in a cell except for what is contained in the nucleus
Material formed from the parent material after a given process such as nuclear decay or movement through the rock cycle.
Deciduous Forest
A forest made up of trees that drop their leaves seasonally
Fungi and bacteria that break complex organic material into smaller molecules.
Demographic Transition
A change in the make up of a human population or group from one set of characteristics to another.
The characteristics of a human population or part of it, especially its size, growth, density, distribution, and statistics regarding birth, marriage, disease, and death.
The quantity of something per unit measure, especially per unit length, area, or volume. The mass per unit volume of a substance under specified conditions of pressure and temperature.
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)
Form of nucleic acid that is organized into a double-helix molecule. DNA is used by most organisms to chemically code their genetics and to direct the development and functioning of cells. This direction requires RNA which represents a copy of a portion of DNA. Found in the nucleus of cells.
Removing the salt from water
Loss of vegetation and land degradation in dry and semi-arid areas resulting from land mismanagement or climate changes.
Shed tissues, dead body parts, and waste products of organisms. In most ecosystems, detritus accumulates at the soil surface and other types of surface sediments.
Detritus Feeders
Organisms that breakdown dead materials and organic compounds in an ecosystem and thus obtain their nutrients and energy
DichloroDiphenylTrichloroethane (DDT)
A colorless odorless water-insoluble crystalline insecticide C14H9Cl5 that tends to accumulate in ecosystems and has toxic effects on many vertebrates; became the most widely used pesticide from WWII to the 1950's; implicated in illnesses and environmental problem; now banned in US.
Fuel that is made of hydrocarbons that are 16 carbons long; a high compression internal combustion engine.
Discharge rate
The amount of water that passes a fixed point in a given amount of time, usually expressed as liters or cubic feet of water per second.
To free from infection especially by destroying harmful microorganisms.
To become widely scattered (seeds).
Dissolved Oxygen
Measures the amount of gaseous oxygen dissolved in an aqueous solution. Oxygen gets into water by diffusion from the surrounding air, by aeration (rapid movement), and as a waste product of photosynthesis.
The process of purifying a liquid by successive evaporation and condensation.
Partial or complete alteration of a community or an ecosystem by a biotic or abiotic factor.
CaMg(CO3)2, a rock-forming, carbonate mineral, very common in Florida.
a term for a sedimentary rock composed of fragmental, concretionary, or precipitated dolomite of organic or inorganic origin.
An organism that behaves in such a way as to be in a position over others of the same species. The allele of a gene which requires only one copy to be present in an individual for that trait to be present.
Donor ecosystem
An ecosystem from which a section has been transported to replenish another ecosystem
Dose Threshold Level
Maximum level of a substance before toxic levels are reached.
Drip Irrigation
Uses pipe or tubing perforated with very small holes to deliver water one drop at a time directly to the soil around each plant. This conserves water and reduces soil water logging and salinization.
A long period without precipitation
Drought cycle
Cycles of wet and dry years
Animal excrement, a biomass, which use as a fuel for heating or cooking in many countires.
Dynamic State of Equilibrium
a steady state found in an ecosystem or an system where change is not observed because while there are changes in progress they are not observable because they are balanced
A unit of force that creates an acceleration on a mass of 1 gram equal to 1 centimeter per second. 105 dynes equals one newton.
one of a group of invertebrate marine animals, many of which have spines; popularly called "sand dollars, sea biscuits, or sea urchins."
The study of the factors that influence the distribution and abundance of species.
a community of organisms, including humans, interacting with one another and the environment in which they live.
A marine plant with long ribbon-like leaves. [Zostera marina.], or, a submerged aquatic plant with narrow, grass-like leaves. [Genus Valisneria.]
El Niño
Name given to the occasional development of warm ocean surface waters along the coast of Ecuador and Peru. When this warming occurs the tropical Pacific trade winds weaken and the usual upwelling of cold, nutrient rich deep ocean water off the coast of Ecuador and Peru is reduced. The El Niño normally occurs around Christmas and lasts usually for a few weeks to a few months. Sometimes an extremely warm event can develop that lasts for much longer time period
El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
The formation of an El Nino is linked with the cycling of a Pacific Ocean circulation pattern known as the southern oscillation. In a normal year, a surface low pressure develops in the region of northern Australia and Indonesia and a high pressure system over the coast of Peru. As a result, the trade winds over the Pacific Ocean move strongly from east to west. The easterly flow of the trade winds carries warm surface waters westward, bringing convective storms to Indonesia and coastal Australia. Along the coast of Peru, cold bottom water wells up to the surface to replace the warm water that is pulled to the west.
Of or relating to electric charges at rest or produced or caused by such charges.
A molecule composed of one type of atom. Chemists have recognized or created 112 different types of elements. Two or more different elements form a compound.
Endangered Species
Species that are considered in imminent danger of extinction.
The ability to do work.
Energy Crisis
Crisis as a result of the deficiency of energy supplies.
Energy Cycle
The means by which energy is cycled through the biosphere
Enriched Uranium
Uranium ore occurs naturally in a state that cannot be used in most reactors or to make nuclear weapons. Enriching the uranium makes it easier to use in reactors. The enrichment process increases the amount of the fissionable uranium-235 isotope. Uranium enriched to contain less than 20 percent uranium-235 is called low enriched uranium. Uranium enriched to contain 20 percent or greater uranium-235 is highly-enriched uranium that can be directly used to make nuclear weapons.
Symbol S. For a closed thermodynamic system, a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work.
all of the external factors that may act on an organism, either plant or animal, or on a natural community. For example: gravity, air, wind, sunlight, moisture, temperature, soil, and other organisms are some of the environmental factors that may affect the life processes of an organism.
Type of vegetation that gets its physical support from the branches of other plants. Commonly found in the tropical forests.
a large division of geological time consisting of two or more geological periods.
To wear away by the action of water, wind, or glacial ice. Removal of vegetation and trees can increase erosion of topsoil.
Estimated Reserves
Reserves of resources whose quantity has been only estimated and are not known for certain.
The wide lower course of a river where the tide flows in, causing fresh and salt water to mix.
The region of a tidal mouth of a river
Ethylene Dibromide (EDB)
Ethylene Dibromide; a pesticide
Organisms whose cells have a membrane-bound nucleus and many specialized structures located within their cell boundary. In these organisms, genetic material is organized into chromosomes that reside in the nucleus.
Eutectic Fluid
Eutectic salts (salts that melt at low temperatures) are phase-changing chemicals that are used in active solar heating to store solar energy. Heating melts these materials and cooling returns them to the original phase.
Having an excessive supply of nutrients, mostly in the form of nitrates and phosphates. Also see mesotrophic lake and oligotrophic lake.
Evaporation can be defined as the process by which liquid water is converted into a gaseous state. Evaporation can only occur when water is available. It also requires that the humidity of the atmosphere be less than the evaporating surface (at 100 % relative humidity there is no more evaporation). The evaporation process requires large amounts of energy. For example, the evaporation of one gram of water at a temperature of 100° Celsius requires 540 calories of heat energy (600 calories at 0° Celsius).
Combined loss of water to the atmosphere via the processes of evaporation and transpiration
Coniferous trees and broad-leaved plants that retain their leaves year-round.
Exotic Terrain
a terrain that has undergone significant motion or travel with respect to the stable continent to which it is accreted. Florida could be considered an exotic terrain with respect to the North American continent, because it is thought to have once been part of northwestern Africa.
Exponential Curve
(GROWTH ASSOCIATED) Growth at a constant rate of increase per unit of time; can be expressed as a constant fraction or exponent.
The irrevocable elimination of species; can be a normal process of the natural world as species out-compete or kill off others or as environmental conditions change.
Eye, Eye wall
The eye of a hurricane is the center where no storm activity is taking place. The wall is the area between the eye and the storm.
Fahrenheit Scale
Scale for measuring temperature. In this scale, water boils at 212° and freezes at 32°.
Acute food shortage characterized by large-scale loss of life, social disruption, and economic chaos.
a break in the Earth's rocks along which there has been displacement of the rocks. Displacement may vary from inches to miles.
The animals of a particular region, habitat, or geological period.
A derivative of fauna
Bodily waste discharged through the anus.
Any of a group of chemical reactions induced by living or nonliving ferments that split complex organic compounds into relatively simple substances, especially the anaerobic conversion of sugar to carbon dioxide and alcohol by yeast.
Measurement of actual number of offspring produced through sexual reproduction; usually described in terms of number of offspring of females, since paternity can be difficult to determine.
Fertility Rate
The number of children born to an average woman.
The process of union of two gametes whereby the somatic chromosome number is restored and the development of a new individual is initiated; addition of materials to soil to increase the available nutrient content.
The process by which atmospheric nitrogen is converted for use by an organism
The act of rendering atmospheric nitrogen suitable for use by an organism
Flood control devices
Measures to protect areas that are easily flooded by either reducing flood flows or confining the flow; devises include dams, levees, or modifying the channel of the river or stream.
Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973
This law signaled a shift in federal policy from reducing the floods through structural controls to reducing the damages by limiting the development in flood prone areas, by making federally-subsidized flood insurance available to property owners in flood-prone areas only in those communities which adopted floodplain zoning.
land next to a stream or river that is flooded during high-water flow.
The plants of a particular region, habitat, or geological period.
Rising and falling, such as population numbers.
Involving running water. Usually pertaining to stream processes.
Food Chain
A linked feeding series; in an ecosystem, the sequence of organisms through which energy and materials are transferred, in the form of food, from one trophic level to another.
Food web
The non-linear relationship between food items which eat each other
small, one-celled, mostly marine animals which secrete shells of calcium carbonate or build them of cemented sand grains. They range in size from microscopic to a few centimeters across. They occur in such quantities that their fossil shells make up almost all of certain limestone rocks in Florida and other places in the world.
a rock unit possessing distinctive characteristics, such as mineral content, fossils, or color, that allows it to be distinguished from adjacent rock units.
remains or traces of prehistoric animals or plants. The most common types consist of bones, carbon films, shells, molds, casts, and petrified wood.
Fossil Fuel
Carbon based remains of organic matter that has been geologically transformed into coal, oil and natural gas. Combustion of these substances releases large amounts of energy. Currently, humans are using fossil fuels to supply much of their energy needs.
Fresh Water
Water that is relatively free of salts.
The rubbing of two objects against each other when one or both are moving. A significant percentage of the energy produced by an automobile engine is dissipated in friction, reducing the overall efficiency of the system.
Fuel Cell
An electrochemical device with no moving parts that converts the chemical energy of a fuel, such as hydrogen, and an oxidant, such as oxygen, directly into electricity.
Fuel wood
Wood that is used as a source of energy, usually by burning.
Fujita Scale
A scale measuring the intensity of a tornado based on wind speed, diameter, and damage caused.
Fuller's Earth
a type of clay that is commercially valuable and widely used as cat litter and as a dispersant in insecticides.
A chemical compound used to purify with fumes
A large group of spore-producing organisms which feed on organic matter and include moulds, yeast, mushrooms, and toadstools
A state of matter where molecules are free to move in any direction they like. The state of matter where the substance completely fills any container that it occupies.
A volatile flammable liquid made from petroleum and used as fuel in internal-combustion engines; made up of hydrocarbons that are made of 8 carbon chains.
Molluscs of the large class Gastropoda, which includes snails, slugs, and whelks
Gene Pool
The collective genetic information contained within a population of sexually reproducing organisms.
Genetic Diversity
Diversity in a population on a genetic level
the study of the planet Earth, the materials of which it is made, processes that affect these materials, the changes that the Earth has undergone in the past and the changes it is currently undergoing.
the branch of geology which deals with the form of the Earth, the configuration of its surface, and the changes that take place in land forms over time.
a large body of ice with definite lateral limits, which moves in a downslope direction due to its great mass, as in Alaska.
Global Warming
Warming of the Earth's average global temperature because of an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases. A greater concentration in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is believed to result in an enhancement of the greenhouse effect.
a light-colored, coarse-grained, igneous rock formed from magma that cooled below Earth's surface.
Gray Water
Wastewater, as from sinks and tubs, that does not contain human excrements. Such water can be reused without purification for some purposes.
Greenhouse Effect
The greenhouse effect causes the atmosphere to trap more heat energy at the Earth's surface and within the atmosphere by absorbing and re-emitting longwave energy. Of the longwave energy emitted back to space, 90 % is intercepted and absorbed by greenhouse gases. Without the greenhouse effect the Earth's average global temperature would be -18° Celsius, rather than the present 15° Celsius. In the last few centuries, the activities of humans have directly or indirectly caused the concentration of the major greenhouse gases to increase. Scientists predict that this increase may enhance the greenhouse effect making the planet warmer. Some experts estimate that the Earth's average global temperature has already increased by 0.3 to 0.6° Celsius, since the beginning of this century, because of this enhancement.
Greenhouse Gases
Gases responsible for the greenhouse effect. These gases include: carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); chlorofluorocarbons (CFxClx); and tropospheric ozone (O3).
a shore-protection structure that projects away from shore, usually made of rocks, wood pilings, or sheet metal.
Water in the ground. Water that occupies the pore spaces found in some types of bedrock.
Groundwater Flow
Underground topographic flow of groundwater because of gravity.
Groundwater Recharge
The replenishment of groundwater with surface water.
The place or set of environmental conditions in which a particular organism lives.
Hard Water
Water with high mineral content.
Harmful Algal Blooms
Explosive reproduction of algae causing harm by release of toxins
Heavy Metals
Mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel-highly toxic in very small quantities; can be fatal and bioaccumulate in environment-have cumulative effects in humans.
Heavy Minerals
a suite of accessory minerals of a sedimentary rock or sediments having specific gravities greater than 2.9. The most common heavy minerals found in Florida are: rutile, ilmenite, leucoxene, staurolite, zircon, kyanite, sillimanite, tourmaline, spinel, topaz, corundum, and monazite.
The iron-containing respiratory pigment in red blood cells of vertebrates, consisting of about 6 percent heme and 94 percent globin.
Organism that must consume energy rich organic molecules for survival. Energy is released from these molecules through the chemical process respiration. Also see carnivores, herbivores, and detritivores.
A statistical graph of a frequency distribution in which vertical rectangles of different heights are proportionate to corresponding frequencies. Used to graph distributions of populations, such as the percentage of the population in a certain age group.
Home Energy Audits
Auditing or analyzing the expenditure of energy in a home including the loss of energy.
Organic compound composed primarily of hydrogen and carbon atoms. An example of a hydrocarbon is methane (CH4).
Hydrologic Cycle
Model that describes the movement of water between the hydrosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
Hydrostatic pressure
Pressure exerted by the weight of water bearing down
Hydroxyl Radical (OH)
The monovalent group -OH in such compounds as bases and some acids and alcohols. This radical is characteristic of hydroxides, oxygen acids, alcohols, glycols, phenols, and hemiacetals.
A tentative explanation that accounts for a set of facts and can be tested for further investigation.
Not allowing fluid to pass through
Not available
An apparatus, such as a furnace, for burning waste.
Industrial discharges
Any effluent being discharged to waters from an industrial plant or factory
The act or process of infiltrating, as of water into a porous substance, or of a fluid into the cells of an organ or part of the body.
The basic physical and organizational structures (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.
Stopping and starting at intervals.
Of or denoting the area of a seashore which is covered at high tide and uncovered at low tide.
Introduced Species
A non-native species that has been brought to an area either by accident or intentionally. An introduced species may prey upon or compete more successfully with one or more population that are native to the community and alter the entire nature of the community; also known as alien species or exotic species.
An atom, molecule or compound that carries either a positive (cation) or negative (anion) electrical charge.
A line on a weather map connecting points of equal atmospheric pressure. Also called isopiestic.
A population that is separated from other populations of the species (as on an island).
J-Shaped Curve
The curve in a graph that depicts exponential growth. (Literally looking like: J)
Jet stream
A high-speed, meandering wind current, generally moving from a westerly direction at speeds often exceeding 400 kilometers (250 miles) per hour at altitudes of 15 to 25 kilometers (10 to 15 miles).
Unit for measuring energy. One joule is the energy used by a force of one Newton in moving its point of application in the direction of the force one meter.
a rock composed essentially of clay minerals of the kaolinite group, most commonly kaolinite. High purity deposits of this mineral are valuable for making quality ceramic products.
An area of irregular limestone rock formations in which erosion has produced fissures, sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns.
Such terrain is created when ground-water dissolves the limestone.
A very large brown seaweed that typically has a long, tough stalk with a broad frond divided into strips. [Laminaria and other genera, family Laminariaceae.]
A colorless flammable oil distilled from petroleum and used as a fuel for jet engines, heating, cooking, and lighting.
Kinetic Energy
The energy possessed by a body because of its motion, equal to one half the mass of the body times the square of its speed.
Kyoto Conference
Convention on global warming.
La Niña
(Also sometimes called El Viejo) Is the opposite of El Niño. La Niña occurs when stronger than normal trade winds stir up cooler water from the ocean depths.
Lake Effect snow
Lake-generated snow squalls form when cold air passing for long distances over the relatively warm waters of a large lake picks up moisture and heat and then drops the moisture in the form of snow upon reaching the downwind shore.
A cellular structure found either in chloroplasts or between plant cell walls.
a method of waste disposal wherein materials are buried. Present environmental protection laws require the burial sites to be constructed with impermeable barriers, such as clay or plastic liners, to prevent hazardous wastes or pollutants from escaping to the surrounding soils or air.
The angular distance north or south of the earth's equator, measured in degrees along a meridian, as on a map or globe. A region of the earth considered in relation to its distance from the equator: temperate latitudes.
molten rock that flows onto the surface from a volcano or fissure.
Law of the minimum
The concept that the growth or survival of a population is directly related to the life requirement that is in least supply and not to a combination of factors.
Solution containing material leached from a soil.
A soft, malleable, ductile, bluish-white, dense metallic element, extracted chiefly from galena and used in containers and pipes for corrosives, solder and type metal, bullets, radiation shielding, paints, and antiknock compounds. Atomic number 82; atomic weight 207.19; melting point 327.5C; boiling point 1,744C; specific gravity 11.35; valence 2, 4.
Legionnaires Disease
An acute bacterial respiratory illness caused by the gram-negative bacterium Legionella pneumophila, a member of the family Legionellaceae. The bacteria has been found in water systems and can survive in the air conditioning systems of large buildings. Risk factors for infection include smoking, COPD, renal failure, cancer, diabetes and alcoholism.
Malignant neoplasm of blood-forming tissues; characterized by abnormal proliferation of leukocytes; one of the four major types of cancer.
Sedimentary rock composed of carbonate minerals, especially calcium carbonate. Limestone can be created by clastic and non-clastic processes. Clastic limestones are formed from the break up and deposition of shells, coral and other marine organisms by wave-action and ocean currents. Non-clastic limestones can be formed either as a precipitate or by the lithification of coral reefs, marine organism shells, or marine organism skeletons.
Limiting Factor
Abiotic condition that most controls the growth of a species. For most terrestrial plants this condition is the supply of the nutrient nitrogen in the soil.
A water-soluble protein that combines with and transports lipids
to turn to rock. Several geological processes can operate to consolidate loose sediments into hard rocks. Pressure from thick sequences of overlying sediments can cause lithification; for example, loose sand turned into sandstone. Chemical changes caused by ground water can cement loose sediments into hard rocks; for example, loose sea shells and sand cemented into coquina limestone.
molten rock generated within the Earth.
a metal (Mg), which, when chemically combined with calcium carbonate, Ca(CO3), forms the mineral dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2.
Group of warm blooded vertebrate animals. Common characteristics found in these organisms include: hair, milk secretion, diaphragm for respiration, lower jaw composed of a single pair of bones, middle ear containing three bones, and presence of only a left systemic arch.
Treed wetlands located on the coastlines in warm tropical climates.
refers to sea water, to sediments deposited in sea water, or to animals that live in the sea, as opposed to fresh water.
Marine Climate
As its name suggests west coast marine climates (Cfb) are generally found on the western sides of continents in the belt of the westerly winds between roughly 40 to 60 degrees latitude. This location produces a climate that is humid, often quite rainy, with mild temperatures considering the fairly high latitudes. This is, of course, the effect of having large bodies of water to windward. Water is a great modifier of temperatures because it heats and cools slowly. The proximity of water to windward leads to much milder winter temperatures and somewhat cooler summer temperatures than are experienced at continental locations at the same latitudes. Cfb climates are considered by some to be gloomy climates, because they are the world's cloudiest climates. Distinctive kind of biological community adapted to those conditions.
A turn or winding of a stream.
Mechanical harvester
Floating machinery driven by paddlewheels for lifting algae and plants from a water body and transporting them for disposal
a heavy, silver-white, metallic element, the only metal that is liquid at room temperature; also called quicksilver. A virulent poison, dangerous to handle and work with.
The form of mercury taken up into tissues, for example fish tissue, making it harmful to eat
Extremely small organism that can only be seen using a microscope.
Too small for human eyesight without employing a microscope
A high-frequency electromagnetic wave, one millimeter to one meter in wavelength, intermediate between infrared and short-wave radio wavelengths.
The moving of one species or a group of species from one area to another.
Component of rocks. A naturally occurring inorganic solid with a crystalline structure and a specific chemical composition. Over 2,000 types of minerals have been classified.
A substance, for example, graphite or beryllium, that slows neutrons in a nuclear reactor so that they can bring about the fission of uranium
Minute particle that consists of connected atoms of one or many elements
invertebrate animals, including a variety of marine, fresh water and terrestrial snails; clams, oysters, mussels, scallops; squids, octopus, pearly nautilus, as well as the many extinct varieties.
A wind system that influences large climatic regions and reverses direction seasonally. A wind from the southwest or south that brings heavy rainfall to southern Asia in the summer. The rain that accompanies this wind.
Montreal Protocol
Treaty, signed in 1987,that governs stratospheric ozone protection and research, and the production and use of ozone-depleting substances. It provides for the end of production of ozone-depleting substances such as CFCS. Under the Protocol, various research groups continue to assess the ozone layer. The Multilateral Fund provides resources to developing nations to promote the transition to ozone-safe technologies.
Death rate in population; the probability of dying.
The habitat for essential micro-organisms, is as important as water to the health of this planet. Edward S Deevey Jr
Municipal Sewage
The wastewater from households, offices, and other buildings in a city. Municipal and regional sewage systems can either be sanitary sewage only, or sanitary sewage and storm water. Municipal sewage is collected at treatment plants where solids are removed (primary sewage treatment) and then is treated by various other methods including using aerobic bacteria to remove organic wastes (secondary treatment), and advanced or tertiatry treatment with various chemical and physical processes.
Causes genetic mutations.
Agents, such as chemicals or radiation, that damage or alter genetic material (DNA) in cells.
A change, either spontaneous or by external factors, in the genetic material of a cell, mutations in the gametes (sex cells) can be inherited by future generations of organisms.
National Ambient Air Quality Standards
Health-based pollutant concentration limits established by EPA that apply to outside air.
National Estuary Program
A non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible stewardship and a common vision for the preservation and restoration of our nation’s bays and estuaries.  Established in 1987 by amendments to the Clean Water Act.
Native Species
Species that are originally found in a certain area.
A unit of force that creates an acceleration on a mass of 1 kilogram equal to 1 meter per second with no friction and under the conditions of a vacuum.
A specific category that an organism fits into in an environment and their role in carrying out the processes in that ecosystem.
Form of nitrogen commonly found in the soil and used by plants for building amino acids, DNA and proteins. It is commonly produced by the chemical modification of nitrite by specialized bacteria. Chemical formula for nitrate is NO3-.
The biochemical oxidation of ammonium to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. This process is carried out by specialized bacteri
Form of nitrogen commonly found in the soil. It is commonly produced by the chemical modification of ammonium by specialized bacteria. This form is toxic to plants and animals at high concentrations. Chemical formula for nitrite is NO2
Nitrogen Cycle
Basic principles of the nitrogen cycle is this:
  • N2 is most abundant gas in atmosphere (78%)
  • nitrogen-fixing bacteria convert it to NH3
  • nitrate-forming bacteria combine NH3 with oxygen to form NO2 and then NO3
  • Plants absorb and make NH4
  • consumers eat plants
  • Nitrogen re-enters the environment when these organisms die, shed, urinate, produce excrement
  • De-nitrifying bacteria break down into N2 and the process repeats
Nitrogen Dioxide
A gas produced by bacterial action in the soil and by high temperature combustion. Nitrogen dioxide is a component in the production of photochemical smog. This reddish brown gas has the chemical formula NO2.
Nitrogen Fixation
Biological or chemical process where gaseous nitrogen is converted into solid forms of nitrogen. Biological fixation of nitrogen is done by specialized organisms like microorganisms like bacteria, actinomycetes, and cyanobacteria. Chemical fixation occurs at high temperatures. One natural process that can produce enough heat to fix atmospheric nitrogen is lightning.
Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
Consists of two gases nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). In addition to particulates and sulfur dioxide, NOX is one of the major pollutants related to energy use. It can be transformed into nitrates in the atmosphere. Both gases are components in the production of photochemical smog.
Nitrous Oxide
Gas found in the atmosphere that contributes to the greenhouse effect. Sources for nitrous oxide include: land-use conversion; fossil fuel combustion; biomass burning; and soil fertilization. Chemical formula for nitrous oxide is N2O.
Non-point Source Pollution
The diverse sources of pollution of domestic origin
Nucleic Acid
Is an organic compound composed primarily of different combinations of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus. They are very complex compounds being created by the atomic linking of thousands of individual atoms. DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid, the genetic blueprint of life, is an example of a nucleic acid.
Chemical compounds that consists of a heterocyclic base, a sugar, and one or more phosphate groups. The monomers of nucleic acids, with three or more bonding together in order to form a nucleic acid.
Nucleotides are the structural units of RNA, DNA
  1. Dense central portion of an atom that is composed of neutrons and protons.
  2. Structure found in eukaryotic cells that contains the chromosomes.
Any food, chemical element or compound an organism requires to live, grow, or reproduce.
Nutrient Cycle
The cycling of a single element by various abiotic and biotic processes through the various stores found in the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.
One that balances, counteracts, or compensates
Oil Glut
When the supply of oil on the market greatly exceeds demand, resulting in lower oil prices.
Heterotrophic organism that consumes both plants and other animals as a source of food. Examples of ominvores include pigs, raccoons, rats, bears, turtles, monkeys, and humans. Also see carnivore, herbivore, scavenger, and detritivore.
Acronym for Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries founded in 1960 to unify and coordinate petroleum policies of the members.
The most favorable condition in regard to an environmental factor.
Is a specialized structure found in cells that carry out distinct cellular functions.
  1. Relating to an organism.
  2. Derived from an organism.
Organic Matter
Compounds that contain carbon and hydrogen covalently bonded together in molecules; molecules from living matter. Organic wastes in sewage and runoff from lawns and farms in fresh waters can cause oxygen-depletion and degradation of water quality.
Any form of life.
To take too much out, deplete resources, such as pumping water from an aquifer at a faster rate than it can be replenished, or recharged, by rainfall.
Overland Flow
The topographic movement of a thin film of water from precipitation to lower elevations. With time, this water will begin to organizing its flow into small channels called rills. The rills converge to form progressively larger channels until stream channels are formed. Occurs when the infiltration capacity of an area's soil has been exceeded. Also called sheet flow or runoff
  1. Chemical attachment of free oxygen to other elements and compounds. One of the types of chemical weathering.
  2. Loss of an electron during a chemical reaction from one atom to another
Ozone (layer)
A colorless gas (O3) soluble in alkalis and cold water; a strong oxidizing agent; can be produced by electric discharge in oxygen or by the action of ultraviolet radiation on oxygen in the stratosphere (where it acts as a screen for ultraviolet radiation).
archeological term referring to native American cultures prior to 8,000 BC; prehistoric inhabitants of Florida.
the science that deals with the life of past geological ages, based on the study of fossils.
Particulate Matter
Particles of dust, soot, salt, sulfate compounds, pollen, or other particles suspended in the atmospher
An organism that produces disease in a host organism, disease being an alteration of one or more metabolic functions in response to the presence of the organism.
To cause disease in a host organisms.
a dark brown or black, organic residuum produced by the partial decomposition and disintegration of mosses, trees, and other plants that grow in marshes or other wet places. Peat deposits form when the rate of accumulation of plant matter exceeds the rate of destruction by weathering or organisms. One of the largest peat deposits in the world is in the Everglades.
movement of water through the pores or voids in rock or soil.
one unit of geological time into which Earth history is divided. A period is a subdivision of an era.
Any organism in a water body, for example a micro alga or diatom, which attaches itself to the bottom (benthic) or to a stem or leaves of a plant either individually or together with others forming a mat.They may be attached or may float free in the water column. The biological community of microscopic plants and animals attached to surfaces in aquatic environments. Algae are the primary component of these asemblages, which naturally reduce phosphorous levels in water to serve a key function in storm water treatment areas.
Permanently frozen layer of soil that underlies the arctic tundra.
a measure of a porous material's ability to allow fluids or gases to flow through its pores. An important property of rocks that determines how much and how rapidly fluids or gases can move through them; for example, how much water can be pumped from an aquifer (see: porosity).
A chemical that kills, controls, drives away, or modifies the behavior of pests.
Chemicals synthesized from oil.
p(otential of) H(ydrogen); Scale used to measure the alkalinity or acidity of a substance through the determination of the concentration of hydrogen ions in solution. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. Values below 7.0, to a minimum of 0.0, indicate increasing acidity. Values above 7.0, to a maximum of 14.0, indicate increasing alkalinity.
Any compound with a hydroxyl group linked directly to a benzene ring, usually a toxic white sustance
Phosphate Rock
a sedimentary rock containing calcium phosphate. Florida has some of the most extensive deposits of phosphate rocks in the world. Very important in the manufacturing of fertilizer.
A salt or ester of a phosphoric acid,
an organic compound of phosphoric acid in which the acid group is bound to nitrogen or a carboxyl group in a way that permits useful energy to be released (as in metabolism),
a nutrient used in fertilizers.
Phosphorous Cycle
The movement of phosphorous atoms from rocks and soil through the biosphere and hydrosphere and back to soil.
Is the chemical process where plants and some bacteria can capture and organically fix the energy of the sun. This chemical reaction can be described by the following simple equation:
6CO2 + 6H2O + light energy >>> C6H12O 6 + 6O2
The main product of photosynthesis is a carbohydrate, such as the sugar glucose, and oxygen which is released to the atmosphere. All of the sugar produced in the photosynthetic cells of plants and other organisms is derived from the initial chemical combining of carbon dioxide and water with sunlight. This chemical reaction is catalyzed by chlorophyll acting in concert with other pigment, lipid, sugars, protein, and nucleic acid molecules. Sugars created in photosynthesis can be later converted by the plant to starch for storage, or it can be combined with other sugar molecules to form specialized carbohydrates such as cellulose, or it can be combined with other nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur, to build complex molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids. Also see chemosynthesis. It is said that photosynthesis gives rise to three quarters of the world supply of oxygen that we breathe.
Photovoltaic Cells
A semiconductor that converts light directly into electricity.
Small photosynthetic organisms, mostly algae and bacteria, found inhabiting aquatic ecosystems. Also see plankton and zooplankton.
A measure of pressure of water, especially in an aquifer. Shows altitude at which water would have stood in a tightly cased well relative to a given sea level. See also potentiometric surface.
A disease that spreads very rapidly, infecting very large numbers of people and killing a great many of them, or an outbreak of such a disease.
Minute plant (phytoplankton) and animal organisms (zooplankton) that are found in aquatic ecosystems.
The kingdom including the vascular plants, plants with full systems of leaves, stems, and roots., and a few of their close relatives, often called bryophytes, of which mosses and liverworts are the most common.
Plasmalemma, is a semipermeable lipid bilayer common to all living cells. It contains a variety of biological molecules, primarily proteins and lipids, which are involved in a vast array of cellular processes.
Plate Tectonics
a theory that large "plates" of the Earth's colder, upper crustal rocks are capable of moving slowly (like rafts) on top of deeper, hotter, and more fluid rocks in the mantle. Geologists have identified seven large plates and 11 or more smaller ones on the Earth's surface.
Pleistocene Epoch
the earlier of the two epochs comprising the Quaternary period.
Particulates that are less than 10 microns in diameter. These particulates are present in the smoke created by burning wood.
Point Source Pollution
A specific source of water pollution , usually industrial effluent, as opposed to diverse sources of pollution of domestic origin
Fertilization of a flower or plant with pollen
Something which contaminates (water, the air, etc.) with harmful or poisonous substances.
Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB)
Polychlorinated Biphenyl, a herbicide
A group of individuals of the same species occupying a given area.
Population Crash
Drastic decrease in the numbers of individuals in a population over a short period of time
Population Dieback
When the growth of a population slows due to some factor.
Population Explosion
When the growth of a population increases greatly due to some factor.
Pore Spaces
The amount of space available for ground water due to the topography of the area.
The ratio of the volume of all the pores in a material to the volume of the whole.
Potable Water
water that can be consumed by humans without ill effects. Government agencies have adopted standards of quality that specify limits of chemical constituents in water sources.
Potential Energy
The energy of a particle or system of particles derived from position, or condition, rather than motion. A raised weight, coiled spring, or charged battery has potential energy.
Potential Evapotranspiration
Is a measure of the ability of the atmosphere to remove water from the surface through the processes of evaporation and transpiration assuming no limitation on water supply.
Potentiometric Surface
an imaginary surface defined by the level to which water in an aquifer would rise in a well due to the natural pressure in the rocks.
  1. the process whereby solids are left behind when liquids evaporate; for example, vast deposits of salt were created when ancient seas evaporated.
  2. precipitates: the solid materials, themselves. (see: precipitation)
  1. Is any aqueous deposit, in liquid or solid form, that develops in a saturated atmosphere (relative humidity equals 100 %) and falls to the ground generally from clouds. Most clouds, however, do not produce precipitation. In many clouds, water droplets and ice crystals are too small to overcome natural updrafts found in the atmosphere. As a result, the tiny water droplets and ice crystals remain suspended in the atmosphere as clouds.
  2. The state of being precipitated from a solution.
Pollution control device that collects particles from an air stream.
Consumer organism who feeds on prey. The process of consumption involves the killing of the prey.
Organism that is consumed by a predator.
Primary Consumer
Organisms that occupy the second trophic level in the grazing food chain. These organisms are herbivores.
Primary Producer
Organisms that occupy the first trophic level in the grazing food chain. These organisms are photosynthetic autotrophs.
Primary Sewage Treatment
A process that removes solids from sewage before it is discharged or treated further.
An organism that synthesizes food molecules from inorganic compounds by using an external energy source; MOST PRODUCERS ARE PHOTOSYNTHETIC!
Organisms whose cells have their genetic material in the form of loose strands of DNA found in the cytoplasm. They also do not have a membrane-bound nucleus and have few specialized structures located within their cell boundary.
Organic substances primarily composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and some other minor elements which are arranged in about 20 different compounds known as amino acids. The various amino acids found in a protein are linked together by peptide bonds.
Group, at the kingdom level, in the classification of life. Organisms that are mainly unicellular and have a eukaryotic cell type. A few multicellular members exist.
Substances making up a cell including its exterior membrane.
Heterotrophic eukaryotic unicellular organisms that belong to the kingdom protista.
Proven Reserves
Reserves of resources that are known to exist.
The state, quality, sense, or fact of being near or next; closeness.
Of or concerning a trait or characteristic, property.
Relating to or expressed as a specified or indefinite number or amount.
an invisible, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas that is formed when uranium-238 decays. It can accumulate in buildings, causing potential health hazards.
An expanse of a stream channel.
Recharge Area
The area on the Earth's surface that receives water for storage into a particular aquifer.
Recharge Zones
Area where water filters into aquifers
the act or process of restoring mined-out lands to a useful state. Also, the industry devoted to the recovery or re-use of waste materials.
To return light rays from a surface in such a way that the angle at which a give ray is returned is equal to the angle at which it strikes the surface.
To alter the course of a wave of energy that passes into something from another medium, as water does to light entering it from the air; caused by differences in wave speed.
Regional Consequences
The impact of global climate changes vary from one region to another; some dry areas may become wetter, another region may have less precipitation.
Relation of one thing to another; Expressed as the ratio of the specified quantity to the total magnitude (as the value of a measured quantity) or to the mean of all the quantities involved.
REM (Roentgen Equivalent Man)
a unit used in radiation protection to measure the amount of damage to human tissue from a dose of ionizing radiation. The amount of ionizing radiation required to produce the same biological effect as one rad of high-penetration x-rays. An average American receives about 0.370 rems of radiation per year.
A natural or artificial pond or lake used for the storage and regulation of water.
Residence Time
Length of time a component spends in a particular location before it moves on through a particular process or cycle.
What is left over or remains; the part of a molecule that remains after portion of its constituents are removed. Residues of some contaminants may remain after
The ability of an individual or community to resist being changed by potentially disruptive events.
Reverse Osmosis
A process of desalinization where water is forced under pressure through a semipermeable membrane whose tiny pores allow water to pass but exclude most salts and minerals.
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA)
Form of nucleic acid. Ribonucleic acid is used by most organisms to read the genetic information found in DNA and to produce specific organic molecules used in the development and functioning of cells.
Rift or Rifting
refers to the breaking apart of continental plates.
Routinely monitored
Regular, periodic testing
The topographic flow of water from precipitation to stream channels located at lower elevations. Occurs when the infiltration capacity of an area's soil has been exceeded. It also refers to the water leaving an area of drainage. Also called overland flow.
S-Shaped Curve
A curve that depicts logistic growth. (Literally looking like: S)
A scale to measure hurricanes based on wind speeds and air pressure.
salty; sea water or water nearly as salty as sea water.
Concentration of dissolved salts found in a sample of water. Measured as the total amount of dissolved salts in parts per thousand. Seawater has an average salinity of about 34 parts per thousand (ppt), alternatively, measured as Specific Conductance or Specific Conductivity expressed in microSiemens per centimeter (µS/cm) normalized to a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. Pure water is reckoned to be 0 µS/cm, and ocean seawater at 50,000 µS/cm.
Salt Domes
A solid mass of salt that was once fluid and flowed into fractures in surrounding rock and geologic structures; salt domes
Salt Marsh
Coastal wetland ecosystem that is inundated for some period of time by seawater. Plants that exist in this community have special adaptation to survive in the presence of high salinities in their immediate environment. Generally, found poleward of 30° North and South latitude
Saltwater Intrusion
The invasion of saltwater into freshwater aquifers in coastal and inland areas. This condition can be cause when groundwater, which charges the aquifer, is withdrawn faster than it is recharged by precipitation.
a type of sedimentary rock made of sand grains cemented together.
Saturation Zone
Lower levels of soil where all spaces are filled with water.
an escarpment, cliff, or steep slope along the margin of a plateau, mesa, or terrace.
Few in number and far apart in distance or time.
Scientific knowledge
An attribution recognized as true or authentic when measured against accepted criteria.
An air pollution device that uses a spray of water or reactant or a dry process to trap pollutants in emissions.
Seagrass Meadows
Seagrass Meadows consist of specialized marine flowering plants which have adapted to the environment near the shore. Some species need to be exposed at low tide or need some fresh water inflow in order to thrive, and some can thrive in a range from fresh to salt water conditions.
Flowering plants that grow and reproduce under water like eelgrass or a similar grass-like plant that grows near the sea.
Solid material that has been or is being eroded, transported, and deposited. Transport can be due to fluvial, marine, glacial or aeolian agents.
Sediment Resuspension
The suspension of particles in the water column after having once been settled and disturbed.
pertaining to vibrations in the Earth, such as earthquakes; or to equipment or methods used to create Earth vibrations, such as exploding dynamite in oil exploration.
Seismic Activity
Caused by an earthquake.
An internal mechanism by which a system or organizes controls its functions
a type of sedimentary rock made of clay particles cemented together and which usually can be made to split into thin slabs (see: slate).
an underwater area covered by shallow water which may endanger boats.
pertaining to clastic, non-carbonate rocks that are almost exclusively silicon-bearing, either as forms of quartz or as clays. Examples of Florida siliclastics are loose quartz sands, silts, or clays.
Mineral particle with a size between 0.004 and 0.06 millimeters in diameter. Also see clay and sand.
Deposits of fine sand, clay, or other material carried by running water and deposited as a sediment. Technically sediment whose particles are between clay and sand in size (typically 0.002 to 0.06 mm)
a sedimentary rock made of silt-size particles cemented together.
A pit like hole often found in areas of karst. These features are caused by the weathering of limestone or dolomite by subsurface drainage. Also called a sink or doline .
a type of metamorphic rock created from shale, and is usually harder than shale.
A semi-solid mixture of organic and inorganic materials that settles out of wastewater at a sewage treatment plant.
Smog (industrial)
Primarily a winter phenomenon that occurs when sulfur dioxide emissions and smoke particles react with water vapor.
Smog (photochemical)
Air pollution produced by the action of sunlight on hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants.
Layer of unconsolidated material found at the Earth's surface that has been influenced by the soil forming factors: climate, relief, parent material, time, and organisms. Soil normally consists of weathered mineral particles, dead and living organic matter, air space, and the soil solution.
Soil Erosion
Transport of soil mineral particles and organic matter by wind, flowing water, or both. Human activities that disturb the soil surface or remove vegetation can enhance this natural process.
Soil Permeability
The rate at which water and air move vertically through a soil.
Solar Energy
Energy from the sun that is converted into thermal, chemical, or electrical energy.
Susceptible of being dissolved in a liquid, particularly water.
Solution Feature
a topographic or geomorphic feature of a landscape that was formed as a result of water dissolving rocks, usually limestone or dolostone, such as: sinkholes, caves, disappearing streams, springs, and sinkhole lakes.
A taxonomic category subordinate to a genus (or subgenus) and superior to a subspecies or variety, composed of individuals possessing common characters distinguishing them from other categories of individuals of the same taxonomic level. In taxonomic nomenclature, species are designated by the genus name followed by a Latin or Latinized adjective or noun.
Specific Conductance
A measure of electrical energy passed between two electrodes in water, of a given temperature, expressed in microSiemens per centimeter (µS/cm). Readings taken with a meter, which are affected by dissolved constituents in the water including salts, are used to give a standardized measure of water saltiness that can be compared within reasonable limits of error from place to place.
Specific Conductivity
Electrical conductivity is a measure of a water's ability to conduct electricity, and therefore a measure of the water's ionic activity and content. The higher the concentration of ionic (dissolved) constituents, the higher the conductivity. Conductivity of the same water changes substantially as its temperature changes. This can have a confounding effect on attempts to compare this feature across different waters, or seasonal changes in this parameter for a particular body of water. The use of specific conductance SC; units of microSiemens per centimeter (µS/cm) or miliSiemens per centimeter (mS/cm), the conductivity normalized to temperature of 25 °C, eliminates this complication and allows valuable comparisons to be made.
An ordered array of the components of an emission or wave.
Spent Fuel
The uranium cores that are taken out of the nuclear power plant.
A passage for surplus water to run over or around an obstruction (such as a dam).
Happening or arising without apparent external cause; self-generated. Arising from a natural inclination or impulse and not from external incitement or constraint. Unconstrained and unstudied in manner or behavior. Growing without cultivation or human labor; indigenous.
Sport Hunting
Hunting animal not for just for food
Spreading Center
a fissure separating continental plates, created when the plates move apart.
Spring Conduit
Underground water flow within a dissolution void or fissure conveying the water volume to a Spring vent.
The contiguous land area which conveys groundwater or aquifer flows that surface at a particular location at a "Spring"
To maintain an non-fluctuating level of something; to become stable, or make something stable
Stack Emissions
Emissions of pollutants from a smoke stack
Making an organism barren or infertile (unable to reproduce) To clear of living organisms with heat or use of chemicals.
Storm surge
Wind induced build up of waves and water in a storm giving rise to higher than usual tide on reaching shore
Storm Water
Water that results from a storm; can cause flooding and contamination of sewers.
the branch of geology that studies the formation, composition, sequence, and correlation of the layered rock-sequences that make up the Earth's crust.
The region of the atmosphere above the troposphere and below the mesosphere.
Stream Discharge
A river or stream's rate of flow over a particular period of time. Usually measured by a current meter and expressed in cubic meters per second. Stream discharge depends on the volume and velocity of the flow.
Strip Farming
Planting different kinds of crops in alternating strips along land contours-when one crop is harvested one remains to protect the soil and reduce erosion.
Structural Geology
the branch of geology concerned with the deformation of rock bodies and with interpreting the natural forces that caused the deformations.
the geologic process whereby one continental plate slides under another and is gradually consumed in the Earth's interior.
water moves from solid to gas without being a liquid
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV)
The class of plants growing in water known as macrophytes
The layer or bed of earth beneath the topsoil.
Type of carbohydrate chemically based on carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen.
Sulfur oxides
A molecule formed by the combination of sulfur and oxygen (SOx)
Suspended particulate matter (SPM), Aerosols
A suspension or dispersion of fine particles of a solid or liquid in a gas.
capable of lasting over time, durable.
a line or mark of splitting open or of joining together, such as where parts of two continental masses collide and merge.
a shallow depression in the land's surface which may be filled with water. In karst terrain it may indicate an incipient sinkhole forming.
Mutual relationship between two organisms which is necessary for either to survive.
Synthetic gas or synthetic oil made from coal or other sources.
A system is a set of interrelated components working together towards some kind of process.
Perceptible by touch
Taxonomic Classification
Classification of organisms based on structural and physiological connections between other species.
pertaining to the rock structures and external forms resulting from the deformation of the Earth's crust.
Temperature is defined as the measure of the average speed of atoms and molecules. The higher the temperature the faster they move.
Temperature inversions
The temperature rising/falling in an atmospheric condition. (Rises w/ increasing altitude).
Tennessee Valley Authority
(TVA), federal corporation, created by the Congress of the United States in 1933 to operate Wilson Dam and to develop the Tennessee River and its tributaries in the interest of navigation, flood control, and the production and distribution of electricity -- enactments include reforestation, industrial and community development, test-demonstration farming, the development of fertilizer, and the establishment of recreational facilities -- includes a number of dams for electricity and flood control.
Chemicals or other factors that specifically cause abnormalities during embryonic growth and development.
a hard covering or supporting structure of some invertebrate animals; a shell.
Thermal Pollution
Industrial discharge of heated water into a river, lake, or other body of water, causing a rise in temperature that endangers aquatic life.
Boundary in a body of water where the greatest vertical change in temperature occurs. This boundary is usually the transition zone between the layer of warm water near the surface that is mixed and the cold deep water layer
A branch of physics that deals with transfers and conversions of energy.
Species that have declined significantly in total number and may be on the verge of extinction in certain areas.
Relating to or affected by tides.
A group of similar cells that are organized into a structure with a specific purpose.
A detailed map of the contours of surfaces of land.
The uppermost 3 to 10 inches of soil, layer in which organic material is mixed with mineral particles; critical for agriculture.
A rotating column of air usually accompanied by a funnel-shaped downward extension of a cumulonimbus cloud and having a vortex several hundred yards in diameter whirling destructively at speeds of up to 500 miles (800 kilometers) per hour.
Total Fertility Rate
The number of children born to an average woman in a population during reproductive life.
Poisonous, a substance that reacts with specific cellular components to kill cells.
Tragedy of the Commons
The overuse or over harvesting and consequent depletion and/or destruction of a renewable resource that tends to occur when the resource is treated as a commons, that is when it is open to be used or harvested by any and all with the means to do so.
A straight line or narrow cross section along which observations or measurements are made.
a property of an aquifer which defines the rate at which water moves through it.
Capable of transmitting light so that objects or images can be seen as if there were no intervening material.
Transpiration is the process of water loss from plants through stomata. Stomata are small openings found on the underside of leaves that are connected to vascular plant tissues. Some dry environment plants do have the ability to open and close their stomata. Transpiration is a passive process largely controlled by the humidity of the atmospheric and the moisture content of the soil. Of the transpired water passing through a plant only 1 % is used in the growth process. Transpiration also transports nutrients from the soil into the roots and carries them to the various cells of the plant.
Small stream emptying into bigger river
ancient arthropods having a hard outer skeleton, and which became extinct over 200 million years ago.
Trophic Level
Level of organization in the grazing food chain.
Step in the movement of energy through an ecosystem.
Tropical Depression
Brings about hurricanes due to change in weather, climate, altitude, latitude, or direction.
The lowest atmospheric layer; from 4 to 11 miles high (depending on latitude).
An eddying motion of the atmosphere that interrupts the flow of wind.
An isotope of Uranium used in nuclear power plants.
in reference to aquifers, it describes a condition whereby water-bearing rocks are at atmospheric pressure, i.e., water table conditions.
a surface of erosion or non-deposition that separates younger strata from older rocks. It represents a missing span of time from the rock record.
Not under control, discipline, or governance
To utilize less than fully or below the potential use.
Movement of nutrient-rich bottom water to the ocean's surface. This can occur far from shore but usually occurs along certain steep coastal areas, where the surface layer of ocean water is pushed away from shore and replaced by cold, nutrient-rich bottom water.
Urban Heat Island
In large cities, expanses of paved surfaces, particularly asphalt, absorbs heat during day and radiates heat at night. Sparse vegetatation and paved surfaces increase rain runoff, furthering reducing cooling effects. Temperatures in the cities are usually 3-5 degrees hotter than surrounding country side.
Expansion of cities into rural regions because of population growth. In most cases, population growth is primarily due to the movement of rural based people to urban areas. This is especially true in Less Developed Countries.
UV Radiation
Radiation from the sun that can be useful or potentially harmful. UV rays from one part of the spectrum (UV-A) enhance plant life. UV rays from other parts of the spectrum (UV-B) can cause skin cancer or other tissue damage. The ozone layer in the atmosphere partly shields us from ultraviolet rays reaching the earth's surface.
Value Function
The expression of an attribute conveying a sense of measurable worth
Vascular Plant
Plant that has vascular tissues to transport water, nutrients, and other metabolic products.
The speed of movement of an object in one direction.
refers to animals that have a backbone.
Is a fragment of DNA or RNA that depends on the infection of host cells for their reproduction. They are not cells. Viruses are thought to parts of the genetic code found in either eukaryote or prokaryote cells that have the ability to exist on their own. At times viruses are metabolically inert and technically non-living.
Having a relatively high resistance to flow.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Organic chemicals that tend to evaporate.
A spiral motion of fluid within a limited area, especially a whirling mass of water or air that sucks everything near it toward its center.
Waste Lagoons
A blocked-off area used for the dumping of waste products.
Waste Stream
The steady flow of varied wastes, from domestic garbage and yard wastes to industrial, commercial, and construction refuse.
Used domestic water for disposal, from baths, showers, toilets, washing machines and the like
Water Consumption
The complete removal of water from some type of source, like groundwater, for some use by humans. This water is not returned to the source. Compare with water withdrawal.
Water Quality
A term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose.
Water Table
in an aquifer, it is the upper surface of the zone of saturation under unconfined conditions; water in the rocks is at atmospheric pressure.
Water Withdrawal
The removal of water from some type of source, like groundwater, for some use by humans. The water is subsequently returned some period of time later after its is used. The quality of the returned water may not be the same as when it was originally removed. Compare with water consumption.
Catchment area of a drainage basin.
A unit of measure of electric power at a point in time as capacity or demand. 1 watt = 1 joule/second; 1 joule = energy spent in one second when a current of 1 amp flows through a resistance of 1 ohm; 1 kilowatt - 1 000 watt
Natural land-use type that is covered by salt water or fresh water for some time period. This land type can be identified by the presence of particular plant species or characteristic conditions.
Moving air, especially a natural and perceptible movement of air parallel to or along the ground.
Plant that have adaptations to survive prolonged periods of soil drought
Landscaping with drought resistant plants that need no watering.
Conducting tissue in vascular plants through which water and mineral nutrients are transported
Zebra Mussel
A European and Asian freshwater mussel regarded as a nuisance in the Great Lakes and surrounding waterways where it was accidentally introduced. Latin name Dreissena polymorpha
Small heterotrophic organisms found inhabiting aquatic ecosystems. Also see plankton and phytoplankton