Marine Biology - High School

Dive into this list of marine biology terms and learn all about the creatures that live in the oceans and seas. You'll explore a fascinating underwater world that's home to algae, whales, coral reefs, and more. Just watch out for sharks!
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Full list of words from this list:

  1. abyssal
    relating to ocean depths from 2000 to 5000 meters
  2. adaptation
    the process of adjusting or conforming to new conditions
  3. algae
    primitive chlorophyll-containing aquatic organisms
  4. amphipod
    a kind of malacostracan crustacean
  5. anemone
    a marine polyp that resembles a flower
  6. aphotic
    lacking light; especially not reached by sunlight
  7. arthropod
    invertebrate having jointed limbs and a segmented body
  8. autotroph
    an organism capable of synthesizing its own food
  9. baleen
    a horny material from the upper jaws of certain whales
  10. barnacle
    marine crustacean with feathery food-catching appendages
  11. barrier reef
    a long coral reef near and parallel to the shore
  12. bathyal
    relating to ocean depths between 200 and 2000 meters
  13. benthic
    of or relating to or happening on the bottom under a body of water
  14. benthos
    a region including the bottom of the sea and the littoral zones
  15. biodiversity
    the variety of plant and animal life in a habitat
  16. bioluminescence
    luminescence produced by physiological processes
  17. biotic
    of or relating to living organisms
  18. bivalve
    marine or freshwater mollusks having a soft body with platelike gills enclosed within two shells hinged together
  19. blubber
    an insulating layer of fat under the skin of some animals
  20. bony fish
    any fish of the class Osteichthyes
  21. brown algae
    algae having the chlorophyll masked by brown and yellow pigments
  22. buoyancy
    the tendency to float in water or other liquid
  23. carnivore
    a terrestrial or aquatic flesh-eating mammal
  24. cartilage
    tough elastic tissue, mostly converted to bone in adults
  25. cartilaginous fish
    fishes in which the skeleton may be calcified but not ossified
  26. caudal fin
    the tail of fishes and some other aquatic vertebrates
  27. cephalopod
    marine mollusk characterized by well-developed head and eyes and sucker-bearing tentacles
  28. chemosynthesis
    synthesis of carbohydrate from carbon dioxide and water
  29. cilium
    a hairlike projection from the surface of a cell
  30. cnidarian
    radially symmetrical animals having saclike bodies with only one opening and tentacles with stinging structures; they occur in polyp and medusa forms
  31. community
    group of interdependent organisms living in the same region
  32. copepod
    minute marine or freshwater crustaceans usually having six pairs of limbs on the thorax; some abundant in plankton and others parasitic on fish
  33. coral
    a very small ocean creature that often forms reefs
  34. coral reef
    a reef consisting of coral consolidated into limestone
  35. crustacean
    mainly aquatic arthropod usually having a segmented body
  36. cuttlefish
    ten-armed oval-bodied cephalopod with narrow fins as long as the body and a large calcareous internal shell
  37. decapod
    cephalopods having eight short tentacles plus two long ones
  38. desalination
    the removal of salt
  39. diatom
    microscopic unicellular marine or freshwater colonial alga having cell walls impregnated with silica
  40. dinoflagellate
    chiefly marine protozoa having two flagella
  41. dorsal fin
    unpaired median fin on the backs of fishes and some other aquatic vertebrates that help to maintain balance
  42. echinoderm
    marine invertebrates with tube feet and five-part radially symmetrical bodies
  43. ecosystem
    organisms interacting with their physical environment
  44. effluent
    water mixed with waste matter
  45. endangered
    in imminent threat of extinction
  46. environment
    the area in which something exists or lives
  47. epilithic
    growing on stone
  48. estuary
    the wide part of a river where it nears the sea
  49. eutrophication
    nutrient saturation of water leading to oxygen depletion
  50. extinct
    no longer in existence
  51. fin
    organ of locomotion and balance in fishes and some other aquatic animals
  52. flagellum
    a lash-like appendage used for locomotion
  53. food chain
    community of organisms where each member is eaten by another
  54. food web
    community of organisms with several interrelated food chains
  55. gastropod
    a class of mollusks typically having a one-piece coiled shell and flattened muscular foot with a head bearing stalked eyes
  56. gill
    organ allowing aquatic animals to obtain oxygen from water
  57. green algae
    algae that are clear green in color
  58. habitat
    the type of environment in which an organism normally lives
  59. herbivore
    any animal that feeds chiefly on grass and other plants
  60. heterotroph
    an organism that feeds on complex organic substances
  61. hydra
    small tubular solitary freshwater hydrozoan polyp
  62. ichthyology
    the branch of zoology that studies fishes
  63. intertidal
    of or relating to the littoral area above the low-tide mark
  64. invertebrate
    any animal lacking a backbone or notochord
  65. jellyfish
    a marine animal with a bulbous body and long tentacles
  66. kelp
    large brown seaweeds having fluted leathery fronds
  67. larva
    immature form of an animal between the egg and adult stages
  68. lateral line
    sense organs of fish and amphibians
  69. mammal
    a warm-blooded vertebrate having the skin covered with hair
  70. manatee
    sirenian mammal of tropical coastal waters of America
  71. mantle
    a protective layer of epidermis in mollusks or brachiopods
  72. medusa
    one of two forms that coelenterates take: it is the free-swimming sexual phase in the life cycle of a coelenterate; in this phase it has a gelatinous umbrella-shaped body and tentacles
  73. mollusk
    aquatic invertebrate, often with a shell
  74. motile
    capable of movement
  75. nekton
    the aggregate of actively swimming animals in a body of water ranging from microscopic organisms to whales
  76. neritic
    relating to the region of shallow water adjoining the seacoast
  77. niche
    status or place of an organism within its environment
  78. nudibranch
    any of various marine gastropods of the suborder Nudibranchia having a shell-less and often beautifully colored body
  79. octopus
    bottom-living cephalopod having a soft oval body with eight long tentacles
  80. oviparous
  81. ovoviviparous
    producing living young from eggs that hatch within the body
  82. pectoral fin
    either of a pair of fins situated just behind the head in fishes that help control the direction of movement
  83. pelagic
    relating to, occurring in, or living in the open ocean
  84. photic
    of or relating to or caused by light
  85. photosynthesis
    formation of compounds in plants aided by radiant energy
  86. phytoplankton
    photosynthetic or plant constituent of plankton
  87. plankton
    aggregate of small organisms that float or drift in water
  88. pollution
    contamination of the natural environment
  89. polychaete
    chiefly marine annelids possessing both sexes and having paired appendages (parapodia) bearing bristles
  90. polyp
    one of two forms that coelenterates take (e.g. a hydra or coral): usually sedentary with a hollow cylindrical body usually with a ring of tentacles around the mouth
  91. predator
    any animal that lives by preying on other animals
  92. prey
    animal hunted or caught for food
  93. protozoan
    any of diverse minute acellular or unicellular organisms usually nonphotosynthetic
  94. radial symmetry
    the property of symmetry about an axis
  95. ray
    cartilaginous fishes having horizontally flattened bodies and enlarged winglike pectoral fins with gills on the underside; most swim by moving the pectoral fins
  96. red algae
    marine algae in which the chlorophyll is masked by a red or purplish pigment; source of agar and carrageenan
  97. red tide
    seawater that is discolored by large numbers of certain dinoflagellates that produce saxitoxin
  98. regeneration
    growth anew of lost tissue or destroyed parts or organs
  99. salinity
    the relative proportion of salt in a solution
  100. scale
    a rigid plate forming part of the body covering of animals
  101. seagrass
    any of various seaweeds that grow underwater in shallow beds
  102. seaweed
    plant growing in the sea, especially marine algae
  103. sessile
    attached directly by the base
  104. shark
    any of numerous elongate mostly marine carnivorous fishes with heterocercal caudal fins and tough skin covered with small toothlike scales
  105. species
    taxonomic group whose members can interbreed
  106. spine
    the series of vertebrae forming the backbone
  107. sponge
    primitive multicellular marine animal whose porous body is supported by a fibrous skeletal framework; usually occurs in sessile colonies
  108. squid
    widely distributed fast-moving ten-armed cephalopod mollusk having a long tapered body with triangular tail fins
  109. starfish
    echinoderms characterized by five arms extending from a central disk
  110. stingray
    large venomous ray with large barbed spines near the base of a thin whiplike tail capable of inflicting severe wounds
  111. substrate
    a surface on which an organism grows or is attached
  112. swim bladder
    an air-filled sac near the spinal column in many fishes that helps maintain buoyancy
  113. symbiosis
    the relation between two interdependent species of organisms
  114. tentacle
    a flexible appendage adapted for grasping or feeling
  115. turtle
    any of various aquatic and land reptiles having a bony shell and flipper-like limbs for swimming
  116. vertebrate
    animals having a bony or cartilaginous skeleton
  117. water pollution
    pollution of the water in rivers and lakes
  118. whale
    any of the larger cetacean mammals having a streamlined body and breathing through a blowhole on the head
  119. zooplankton
    animal constituent of plankton
Created on February 4, 2017 (updated April 4, 2017)

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