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Chapter 14
Ocean water and life
15
Geology
Undergraduate 2
02/21/2013

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Term
Thermocline
Definition
A layer of water in an ocean or certain lakes, where the temperature gradient is greater than that of the warmer layer above and the colder layer below.
Term
Pycnocline
Definition
A layer in a body of water where the density is the greatest.
Term
Photosynthesis
Definition
A process used by plants and other autotrophic organisms to convert light energy that normally comes from the sun, into chemical energy.
Term
Plankton
Definition
The small and microscopic organisms drifting or floating in the sea or fresh water, consisting of diatoms, protozoans, and small crustaceans.
Term
Phytoplankton
Definition
Plankton consisting of microscopic plants.
Term
Zooplankton
Definition
Plankton consisting of small animals and the immature stages of larger animals.
Term
Nekton
Definition
Aquatic animals that are able to swim and move independently of water currents.
Term
Biomass
Definition
The total mass of organisms in a given area or volume.
Term
Benthos
Definition
The flora and fauna found on the bottom, or in the bottom sediments, of a sea, lake, or other body of water.
Term
Photic Zone
Definition
Surface layer of the ocean that receives the most sunlight.
Term
Euphotic Zone
Definition
The layer of sea water that receives enough sunlight for photosynthesis to occur
Term
Pelagic Zone
Definition
The area of the ocean outside of coastal areas, and where you'll find some of the biggest marine life species
Term
Abyssal Zone
Definition
The layer of the ocean that contains the very deep benthic communities near the bottom of oceans.
Term
Food Chain
Definition
A sequence of organisms that are each dependent on the next as a source of food.
Term
Trophic Level
Definition
The position that an organism occupies in a food chain.
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