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Coral Reef Ecology Vocabulary
Coral Reef Ecology Vocabulary
26
Biology
02/28/2013

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Term
Acontia
Definition
mesenterial filaments formed into long threads that hang free in the gastrovascular cavity and may be extruded through the mouth; function in defense and feeding
Term
Aragonite
Definition
a specific, crystalline form of calcium carbonate comprising the skeletons of corals.
Term
Basal plate
Definition
floor of the corallite
Term
Calyx
Definition
skeletal cup-like depression in which the coral polyp resides
Term
Cnida
Definition
an eversible organelle found in certain cells of the cnidarians. The most important and widely-distributed type is the nematocyst; spirocysts (adhesive thread-bearing) and ptychocysts (mucus –producing) are found only in anthozoans.
Term
Cnidocyte
Definition
a cnidarian cell that contains a cnida
Term
Coelenteron
Definition
gastrovascular cavity: the gastrovascular cavity of cnidarians
Term
Coenenchyme
Definition
the entire matrix of shared mesenchyme that is perforated with gastrovascular channels that are continuous among members of a cnidarian colony; it is covered with an epidermis.
Term
Coenosarc
Definition
thin sheet of tissue that interconnects the polyps of corals (and other colonial cnidarians). It is composed of an outer epidermis and an inner coenenchyme that lies against the skeletal face.
Term
Columella
Definition
a supportive skeletal process that rises from the center of the basal plate of a corallite.
Term
Corallite
Definition
the skeleton of a single polyp
Term
Coralum
Definition
the entire skeleton of a scleractinian coral.
Term
Hermatypic
Definition
reef-building
Term
Leeward
Definition
the sheltered or protected side; opposite the windward or seaward
side
Term
Medusoid
Definition
generally free-swimming form of a cnidarian that has a well
developed, thick and gelatinous mesenchyme and a bell-shaped body bearing
downward directed tentacles and mouth.
Term
Mesenchyme
Definition
primitive “connective tissue” derived at least in part from
ectoderm and located between the epidermis and gastrodermis (i.e.,
endodermis); generally consists of a noncellular, jellylike matrix (i.e., mesoglea)
and various cells and cell products (e.g., fibers).
Term
Mesenteries
Definition
projections of the inner body wall and thus are lined with
gastrodermis and filled with mesenchyme; project radially inward toward the
oral-aboral axis; may be fused with the pharynx (complete mesenteries) or not
(incomplete mesenteries)
Term
Myoepithelial cells
Definition
specialized epithelial cells with basal extensions capable of
contraction (epithiolomuscular and nutritive-muscular cells of the epidermis and
gastrodermis, respectively).
Term
Nematocysts
Definition
stinging cnidae of cnidarians that contain a paralytic protein toxin.
Term
Polypoid
Definition
generally sessile form of a cnidarian with a thin mesenchymal layer
and a tubular body with tentacles and mouth directed upward.
Term
Seaward
Definition
directed or situated toward the sea; side of reef facing the incoming
waves
Term
Septum (pl. septa)
Definition
radially arranged calcareous partitions that arise from the
basal plate and thecal walls of the corallite. (syn., sclerosepta).
Term
Siphonoglyphs
Definition
one or more ciliated grooves of the pharynx which function to
drive water into the coelenteron
Term
Stomodeal pharynx (syn., Actinopharynx)
Definition
essentially an inward, tubular
extension of the mouth and therefore is comprised of the same three layers as
the body wall.
Term
Theca
Definition
outer wall of a corallite
Term
Windward
Definition
side facing or receiving the force of the incoming winds