You are here:  >   >   >   >   > 


Aggregates - A wide range of materials, such as natural sands and gravels or crushed rock, used in the construction industry, for example: in concrete, asphalt and even sand pits

Anemone - A marine invertebrate that lives attached to rocks, and is related to corals and jellyfish

Antennae - Structures used by some animals such as insects, bristle worms and crustaceans, to feel or sense their surroundings

Ascidian - An ascidian or sea-squirt is a marine animal which lives attached to rocks. Their larvae (young) are small tadpole-like animals that swim in the water before attaching to the sea bed. The larvae have a primitive backbone called a notochord and sea-squirts are considered to be closely related to vertebrates

Bathymetric Map - A map of the sea bed surface showing the depths below sea surface. This type of map is similar to a land topographic map

Bedforms - Shapes in the sediment on the sea bed produced by tides and currents, such as sand waves and sand ribbons

Benthic - On or in the sea bed

Benthic biodiversity - The number and variety of animals living in and on the sea bed

BGS - British Geological Survey

Biodiversity - The number and variety of plants and animals

Biology - The study of all living things

Bivalve - A type of mollusc that has a shell of two halves, such as Cockles, Mussels and Abra Shells

BMAPA - British Marine Aggregate Producers Association

Boomer - A piece of equipment towed behind a survey ship, which transmits sound into the sea bed. The sound waves are reflected back to a receiver called a hydrophone and the data recorded and processed on the survey ship. This allows geologists to see what the geology is like beneath the sea bed. (See Hydrophone)

Boulder - A detached rock that is larger than a cobble and greater than 256 mm in diameter

Bristle worm - See polychaete

Bryozoan - A marine animal that is made up of a tiny colony of individuals that grow attached to rocks or on seaweed. Examples are Sea Mats and Hornwrack

BWEA - British Wind Energy Association

Camera Lucida - A piece of equipment that scientists attach to microscopes to help them draw what they are studying

Carnivore - An animal which only eats meat (i.e. other animals)

CCW - Countryside Council for Wales

Chiton - A type of mollusc that lives attached to rocks. Its shell is made up of several plates like a suit of armour. They are also called coat-of-mail shells, or polyplacophorans

Class - A category for a group of organisms (such as plants or animals) which have something in common (see taxonomy)

Classification - The way in which scientists group similar animals and plants together

Cobbles - A rock fragment that is smaller than a boulder and larger than a pebble. Grain sizes vary between 64 mm and 256 mm in diameter

Collections - A group of objects that have one thing in common that have been brought together for a given purpose. Museums often have collections of, for example, paintings, animal specimens, ancient objects and fossils

Colony - In biology, organisms of the same kind living together in a group

Common name - The name we use to describe animals on a day-to-day basis such as Edible Crab or Common Whelk. However, animals also have a scientific name (see scientific name)

Conservation - The way in which we try to take care of the world and environment around us, including habitats and species

Cnidarian - A group of marine invertebrates that all have stinging cells, such as anemones, corals and jellyfish

Cross section - A slice through an object, to show what the object looks like in a vertical plane

Crustacean - A group of marine invertebrates that have a rigid exoskeleton (skin) and jointed legs such as crabs, lobsters, barnacles and sand hoppers

Current - The flow of water in a particular direction

Detritus - Dead animal and plant remains that form tiny particles in the sea and are an important food source for many marine invertebrates

Detritivore - An animal that feeds on detritus

Diversity - The number and variety of things (see biodiversity)

DNA - Deoxyribonucleic acid, that is the building block of all life on Earth

Dredge - A piece of equipment used by scientists. It is briefly towed behind a research vessel to collect animals living in and on the sea bed

Dredging - The technique used to gather sand and gravel from the sea bed, for use within the construction industry

EA - Environment Agency

Echinoderms - A group (Phylum) of marine invertebrates that usually have a symmetry of five, such as starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and feather stars

Ecology - The study of how animals, plants and all other organisms interact with the environment

EN - English Nature

Environment - The surroundings or conditions in which an organism lives and which affect it

Family - A group of closely related plants or animals that have something in common

Feather star - A type of marine invertebrate. With its branch-like arms,often looks like a plant but is in fact an animal related to sea urchins, starfish and sea cucumbers (echinoderms)

Food chain - A way of representing how energy is transferred from plants and animals in a habitat, including who eats who

Fossil fuel - Naturally occurring fuels which can be burnt to produce energy, such as coal, oil and gas. They were produced over millions of years from plant and animal remains. Burning these fuels releases emissions (greenhouse gases) contributing to global warming. They are non-renewable

Geological map - A map that shows the rocks and sediments on the Earth’s surface, both on land and beneath the sea. From the map, a geologist can work out how the rocks appear in three-dimensions

Geologist - A scientist who studies geology

Geology - ‘Geo’ means ‘earth’ and ‘ology’ means ‘a subject to study’. Therefore, geology is the study of the Earth

Generic name - The first part of an organism’s scientific name (see scientific name and species name)

Genus - A group of very closely related species of plants or animals that have something in common [pl: genera] (see Generic name)

Gill - A part of an animal used in breathing under water e.g. bristle worms, fish and crabs can have gills

GPS - A Global Positioning System enables users to accurately locate their position in the world using signals from satellites

Grab - A piece of equipment used to take a small sample of the sea bed. This can then be used to look at what the sediment of the sea bed is like and what animals live there

Gravel - Sediment, larger than sand (> 2 mm); can include pebbles, cobbles and boulders

Ground-truthing - A method where geologists can match the data they get from sidescan sonar, multibeam and boomer to the video footage that is gained from photosleds and information from grabs, dredges and trawls

Habitat - The place or environment where an animal or plant lives e.g. a snail in a garden, or a bird in a woodland

Herbivore - An animal which only eats plants

Hydroid - A type of marine invertebrate (cnidarian) related to anemones, corals and jellyfish. They can often look like plants but they are in fact animals

Hydrophone - A detector towed behind a survey ship, which receives sound reflected from the sea bed and transmitted through water. (See Boomer)

Invertebrate - An animal without a backbone

Igneous rock - A rock that has cooled from magma generated deep within the earth

JNCC - Joint Nature Conservation Commitee

Kingdom - Large groups of organisms such as plants (Kingdom: Plantae), animals (Kingdom: Animalia) and Fungi (Kingdom: Fungi; e.g. mushrooms)

Magma - Molten (liquid) rock within the earth, which is seen when volcanoes erupt, it is very hot

MCS - Marine Conservation Society

Marine - Relating to the sea

Marine Biologist - Someone who studies marine plants, animals or other organisms and how they interact with the environment

MBA - Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

MarLIN - Marine Life Information Network for Great Britain and Ireland

Megaripple - A very large sand ripple (see sand ripple)

Metamorphic rock - A rock that has been physically and\or chemically altered by heat and/or pressure. This process is known as metamorphism and generally occurs deep within the Earth

Microscope - A piece of equipment used by scientists in order to look at objects such as plants, animals and other organisms more closely

Mollusc - A group of marine invertebrates that are not segmented and usually have a shell such as Cockles, Mussels and Whelks, though some like Cuttlefish, Squid and Octopuses do not

Monitoring - Observing, testing and supervising something periodically to see if there have been any changes. For example, when we study the habitats and animals of the sea bed to see if their number and distribution changes, so we can look at what we think is causing those changes

Morphology - Describing an animal or plant in terms of shape and size

MNR - Marine Nature Reserve

MPA - Marine Protection Area

Mud - A mixture of silt and clay sediment with particles less than 0.0625 mm in diameter – individual grains cannot be seen by the naked eye

Multibeam Echo Sounder - An instrument that sends and receives beams of sound reflected from the sea bed surface beneath a survey ship. The signals are received by the multibeam, processed by computers and converted into water depths, to produce bathymetric maps (see bathymetric map)

Nemertea - A group of worm-like marine invertebrates, however they are not true worms like earthworms and bristle worms because they are not segmented

Nematoda - A group of worm-like marine invertebrates, however they are not true worms like earthworms and bristle worms because they are not segmented. They are usually smaller than bristle worms

NMW - National Museum Wales

Oceanographer - Someone who studies the oceans and the seas, and how marine plants and animals interact with the environment

Ocean Engineer - Someone using scientific knowledge to solve practical problems

Order - A large group of closely related plants or animals

Organism - A living thing, such as a plant or animal

Omnivore - An animal which eats both plants and animals

Photosled - A piece of equipment which is towed behind a research vessel, taking video footage and still photographs of the sea bed

Phylum - A group of closely related plants or animals, such as molluscs, and echinoderms

Phytoplankton - Tiny organisms which float in the sea and can produce their own energy (producers) using sunlight, like plants do on land

Plankton - Tiny organisms which float or swim in the sea, they may be plant like (phytoplankton) or animals (zooplankton)

Pollution - The release of contaminants (chemicals and materials that can cause harm) into the environment such as litter and oil

Polychaete - Worms related to earthworms and leeches, found mostly in themarine environment, they are segmented and have bristles for movement or attachment. They are commonly called bristle worms

Porifera - A group (Phylum) of marine invertebrates that are often harvested (collected) for natural bath sponges

Producer - Plants and plant-like organisms that are capable of producing their own energy from sunlight. Examples of producers in the sea are seaweed and phytoplankton

Reproduction - The process that produces new members of the population

Renewable - Something which is able to be replaced, such as renewable energy sources; i.e. wind power, solar energy and tidal power

Resource - A resource is something which is used by humans in order to improve quality of life, such as food, information and aggregates

Rock outcrop - Where rock is found at the surface of the land or sea bed

Rock intrusion - A rock intrusion is an igneous rock, which has been produced when magma has been trapped deep underground. The rock around it provides insulation, and causes it to slowly cool over hundreds of thousands of years. This rock is very hard, but the rock around it, is softer and becomes worn away (eroded), leaving this intrusion sticking above the sea bed

SAC - Special Area of Conservation

Sand - Sediment grains between 0.0625 mm and 2 mm diameter. Sand grains are larger than mud and smaller than gravel grains

Sand bank - An underwater bank or ridge of sand that can be exposed at low tide. Some sand banks are used as a source of aggregate (see aggregate)

Sand ribbon - A long low bedform, typically straight or slightly ‘wiggly’. Commonly less than 1 m thick

Sand ripple - A small sand wave, a few centimetres high. Sand ripples are often seen on a sandy beach after the tide has gone out and on larger sand waves and sand banks on the sea bed

Sand streak - Similar to sand ribbons, but very thin and more whispy in appearance

Sand wave - A general term for wave-like bedforms in sand. These can vary in height from less than 1 m to greater than 20 m. They are commonly asymmetrical (two sides, which are unlike, see symmetry,) in cross- section with one slope steeper than the other. Sand waves can cover large areas of the sea bed

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) - A powerful type of microscope, which is capable of looking at objects up to 10,000 times bigger than they are. They enable scientists to look at the structure of objects in more detail

Scavenger - A type of animal which eats animal or plant remains that it comes across and did not kill themselves

Scientific name - The unique name that scientists give to plants and animals, usually in Greek or Latin. The name can be described after the place where the organism was found, after another scientist or by describing what the organism looks like. It has two parts, a generic name and a specific name, however they will also often have a common name too

Sea bed - The bottom of the sea, also called the sea floor

Sediment - Material like sand, gravel and mud which has been formed from the breakdown of rocks and can be moved around by waves and wind. The sea bed is made up mostly of sediment

Sediment analysis - A method used by scientists to find out what type of sediment has been found such as sand, gravel or mud

Sedimentary - A rock formed from compacted (squashed) sediment grains either on land or under water

Sieve - A container with a wire mesh at the bottom, which can be used to separate sediment grains of different sizes. Different sieves have different sized holes in the mesh. A number of different sieves are stacked together to sort the sediment in sediment analysis

Sieve shaker - A machine that shakes stacks of sieves for a certain amount of time when doing sediment analysis. Helping the different sizes of grains to fall into the correct sieves

Sidescan sonar - A sidescan sonar sends and receives sound waves to/from the sea bed and are recorded as photograph like images. This allows geologists to know what the surface of the sea bed looks like. Geologists use this to map rock, sediment and bedforms. The sidescan sonar is also called the ‘tow fish’ and is towed behind the survey ship

Solar energy - Energy gained from the sun, and can be collected by solar panels. This is a renewable resource. Plants and producers also collect solar energy

Sound wave - A wave that transmits (passes on, sends) sound, such as those transmitted by sidescan sonar and boomer

SPA - Special Protection Area

Species - Different plants and animals are species. Species is a group of organisms that all look the same and together are capable of reproducing, producing viable offspring (young)

Specific name - The second part of a organism's scientific name (see generic name and scientific name)

Specimen - In biology it is an individual plant or animal which is representative of a species and is studied. Biological Collections have many specimens, which can be studied by scientists

SSSI - Site of Special Scientific Interest

Statistics - A type of mathematics used to analyse and evaluate data

Strandline - Debris (waste) such as seaweed, driftwood, ropes, fishing nets and rubbish, which is washed onto the beach when waves and tides reach their highest point. The debris is then left there when the tide retreats

Survey - A process carried out to gather information in order to study something

Sustainable - Something which can be continued into the future, such as a sustainable resource which is something we can continue using without it running out; e.g., wind power

Symmetry - Something which has two sides which are identical. If you placed a mirror down its centre its reflection would look the same. The opposite of symmetrical is asymmetrical. Echinoderms have a symmetry of five, which means that if you placed a mirror at any place in the centre of the animal its reflection would look the same in all five places

Taxonomy - The science of naming and describing species

Tentacle - Long, slender structures that can be used for feeding, breathing, capturing prey, reproduction or feeling. Many marine invertebrates have tentacles, such as bristle worms, squid and anemones

Towfish - See Sidescan sonar

Topography - The shape, size and orientation of the land

Trawl - A piece of equipment used by scientists to collect the larger animals living on the sea bed, such as fish, octopuses, Sea Mice and Whelks. These are often towed for long distances. Trawls are also used by fishermen

Turbellarian - A group of marine invertebrates which are called flat worms, although they are not true worms like earthworms and bristle worms because they are not segmented

Vessel - Another name for the survey ship

Vertebrate - An animal with a backbone

WAGovt - Welsh Assembly Government

Wavelength - The distance between the same point on consecutive waves

Zoology - The study of animals