Coasts and Oceans : Glossary

There are 30 documents in this section.

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  • Habitat

    16 March 2001

    The particular environment (e.g. tropical moist forest) in which a species or breeding population naturally lives.

  • Fauna

    16 March 2001

    The animal life characteristic of a particular biome. The savanna biome, for example, supports large populations of herbivores, such as wildebeest, antelope and kangaroo, and predators in the form of lions, cheetahs, hyenas and dingoes that prey on them. Any change in a biome, whether natural or human-induced, has the potential to alter the associated fauna.

  • Endangered species

    16 March 2001

    Species of plants or animals threatened with extinction because their numbers have declined to a critical level as a result of overharvesting or because their habitat has drastically changed. That critical level is the minimum viable population (MVP), and represents the smallest number of breeding pairs required to maintain the viability of species.

  • Ecology

    16 March 2001

    Originally defined by Ernst Haeckel in 1866, ecology is the study of the relationships that develop among living organisms and between these organisms and the environment.

  • Conservation (nature)

    9 March 2001

    Protection against irreversible destruction and other undesirable changes, including the management of human use of organisms or ecosystems to ensure such use is sustainable.

  • Aquaculture

    13 October 2000

    Fish and other organisms farmed or raised in freshwater environments.

  • By-catch

    13 October 2000

    This refers to marine or freshwater fish and other organisms captured by fishing vessels specializing in only a few species. The unwanted "by-catch" is usually tossed over-board, resulting in the death of many valuable species and a waste of potential food.

  • Coastal management

    13 October 2000

    Efforts by states to manage coastal activities and ecosystems are referred to as coastal zone or coastal area management. This is a complex and difficult area in which to work, as it involves many levels of government and many stakeholders - virtually anyone who lives along a coast, works there, makes a living from the sea or related near-shore areas - are involved in coastal management. It is, in a nutshell, a form of governance and if successful it must be inclusive rather than exclusive.

  • Coral reefs

    13 October 2000

    This term usually refers to hard coral ecosystems, created by coral polpys as they secrete calcium carbonate (the main ingredient in limestone) building their own homes atop those of their predecessors. Soft corals are another form, but much more delicate in shape and they do not build huge limestone formations.

  • Fisheries

    13 October 2000

    Refers to the capture of wild fish and other organisms harvested from the sea or inland waters.

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