Ecology: The study of how living organisms relate to and interact with their surroundings
Ecosystem: All the organisms in a biotic community and the abiotic environmental factors with which they interact.
Endemism: Referring to a restricted distribution whereby the taxon occurs nowhere else.
Epibenthic: Living on the surface of the ocean bottom.
Fauna: Relating to the Kingdom Animalia.
Fecundity: The number of eggs/offspring produced per female per unit of time, a measure of reproductive effort.
Food web: A network describing the feeding interactions of all the animals in an area.
Foraminifera: Protozoan group which are abundant in the plankton and benthos of all oceans and possess a protective test (shell) usually composed of calcium carbonate.
Gastropoda: A class of mollusca, most of which possess an asymmetrical spiral one-piece shell and a well-developed flattened foot. Includes snails, limpets, abalone, cowries, sea hares and sea slugs.
Gastrozooid: a specialized feeding polyp.
Gene flow: The movement of genes (strictly alleles) within and between populations.
Global warming: Increase in global temperature caused by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Gorgonians: members of the Octocorallia, in the Order Gorgonacea.
Grazer: The process of consuming organisms smaller than itself, also used to describe animals which rasp benthic algae or sessile animals, such as bryozoan crusts, from the substratum.
Habitat: A geographical location where individuals or populations of individuals reside.
Hard coral: General term for skeletal Anthozoa, also known as ‘stony coral’ (see scleractinians).
Hermaphrodite: An individual that can possess both male and female reproductive organs.
High seas: This term, in municipal and international law, denotes all continuous bodies of salt water in the world that are navigable in their character and that lie outside territorial waters and maritime belts of the various countries; also called the open sea.
Hydrocarbon seeps: Areas where hydrocarbons seep slowly from the sea floor, may be associated with highly specific and adapted organisms.
Hydrodynamic: Relates to the specific scientific principles that deal with the motion of fluids, e.g. currents and oceanic circulation.
Hydrozoa: A class of cnidarians that characteristically exhibits alternation of generations, often with a sessile polyp giving rise to a pelagic medusoid form by asexual budding.