Alaska Wildlife Curriculum
Alaska's Forests and Wildlife


Term Definition Used In
the time it takes for something to lose half of its radioactivity. Multiple Curriculums
Young soil thin, "pioneer" soil composed of more raw mineral particles (sand, silt, rock bits) than decomposed organic (living) material. Insufficient for large plant or tree growth. (See also soil formation.) Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Yeast tiny single-celled fungi that produce air bubbles as they live. Alaska's Ecology
Xylem (zzz-eye-lem) the sapwood; a cell layer of the tree trunk or branch that carries water and minerals from the roots up to the leaves. The portion of the tube in the vein of a leaf that carries water and minerals. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Woodwind a musical instrument (flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet); breath is used to create the sound. Formerly made of wood. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Wind-chill a still-air temperature that would have the same effect on exposed human skin as a given combination of temperature and wind speed Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Wildlife management the application of scientific knowledge and technical skills to protect, preserve, conserve, limit, enhance, or extend the value of wildlife and its habitat. Wildlife for the Future
Wildlife living things, especially mammals, birds, and fishes (but not limited to the animal kingdom), that are not tamed or domesticated. They do not depend on humans for any survival needs. Wildlife for the Future
Wild animals that provide their own food, water, shelter, and other needs; non-domesticated Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Wetlands areas of land that have waterlogged soils, support plants adapted to wet soil, and are covered by water for a least part of the year. Examples include swamps, bogs, freshwater and saltwater marshes, and river or stream banks. Multiple Curriculums
Wetland any land area that tends to be regularly wet or flooded during part of the year and has plants that prefer wet soil. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Watershed drainage area; all the land contributing to the water supply of a river or lake. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Waterfowl a bird that swims and lives near water; ducks, geese and swans. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Water cycle water vapor (a gas)in the atmosphere falling to earth as precipitation (a liquid or solid: snow, rain, hail, fog), making its way into rivers, lakes, and oceans where it evaporates (vapor) into the atmosphere to start the process again. Multiple Curriculums
Warm maintaining or preserving heat Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Vertebrates animals with backbones. Humans, birds, fish, and bears are examples of vertebrates. Alaska's Ecology
Vertebrate an animal with a backbone (Humans, birds, fish, and bears are examples of vertebrates.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Veins the tubes of xylem and phloem forming the framework of a leaf blade. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Variety a number or collection of different things. Wildlife for the Future
Values the importance or worth of a thing to a human. Different humans often have different values. Values are not factual, but influence management decisions. Multiple Curriculums
Understory the layer of plants (especially trees and shrubs) growing between the forest canopy and the ground cover. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Uncompacted snow or soil that has not been trampled or packed by the weight of vehicles, objects, people, and other animals (Uncompacted snow tends to have more air between snow crystals than does compacted snow.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Tussock a small mound formed by certain tundra grasses that continually retain their dead leaves Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Turbidity cloudiness of water caused by suspended solids. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Tundra the windy, treeless, and periodically cold environments that occur at high latitudes and at high elevations Multiple Curriculums
Trunk the large woody stem of a tree. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Trend general direction or tendency. Wildlife for the Future
Tree line the upper limit of tree growth in mountains or high latitudes because of unsuitable environment above; also called timberline. Multiple Curriculums
Tree a large woody plant at least 4 meters tall with a single stem (trunk) and a crown of leaves. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Transplant a plant (or animal) that is moved to a new location. Multiple Curriculums
Transpiration the process by which water evaporates from plants. Ninety percent of transpiration happens through stomata on leaves. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Transect a straight line or profile of a cross-section of vegetation that is useful for studying the number and types of plants in an area. Multiple Curriculums
Traditional ecological knowledge knowledge developed over time by observation, regarding the natural world. TEK is an important part of effective co-management. Wildlife for the Future
Topography the positions and elevations of natural (and human-made) features on the landscape. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Topographic map a map that shows terrain relief and elevations using contour lines. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Timeline a line on which dates and events are shown in chronological order. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Tilt the relationship of the earth's axis to the sun (The earth's axis is placed at a 23.5-degree angle. Multiple Curriculums
Threatened a "threatened" species is one that is likely to become endangered because of a decline in its numbers. Multiple Curriculums
Thermokarst a tundra landform; a surface depression created when permafrost in waterfilled soil melts Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Territory an area defended by an animal against others of the same species. The area used for breeding, feeding, or both. Wildlife for the Future
Terminal bud growing at the end of a branch or stem. Usually the start for next year's new growth. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Temperature gradient in fallen snow, the variation of temperature at the bottom of the snow pack (warmer) to the snow at the top Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Temperature the degree of hotness or coldness as registered by a thermometer. Multiple Curriculums
Temperate rainforest the coniferous forest that grows along the western coast of North America from Kodiak Island to Northern California. Also called coastal rainforest. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Talik (TAY-lick) layers and pockets of unfrozen soil that occur within permafrost soil Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Taiga subarctic forests, dominated by conifers (spruce and fir) that begins where the tundra ends. Found in Eurasia and North America. From Russian for "land of little sticks." Multiple Curriculums
Symbiosis (sim-by-o-sis) living together; an interdependence between two kinds of living things that live in close association. It can be harmless, beneficial, or harmful. Multiple Curriculums
Symbiosis (sim-be-OH-sis) living together; an interdependence between two kinds of living things that live in close association; plural: symbioses Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Sustained yield a management goal to take only what can naturally be replaced while maintaining healthy populations. Hunters harvest wildlife and foresters harvest based on sustained yield. Multiple Curriculums
Survival rates the proportion of a population of living things that reaches a particular age (usually the age of reproductive capability) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Survey to count wildlife populations for research and management. Wildlife for the Future
Suppression work done to control and extinguish fires. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Sulfur a pale-yellow, nonmetallic chemical element. Alaska's Ecology
Successional stage (suck-se-shun) an identifiable stage in the process of replacing one community of plants and animals with another (see sere). Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Succession (suck-se-shun) the gradual replacement of one community by another. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Subnivean (sub-NIV-ee-an) refers to the insulated environment at the bottom of fallen snow layers, usually above the ground Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Sublimation (suh-bluh-MAY-shun) in snow, the change of snow crystals to water vapor without first becoming liquid water Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Stop over site resting spot for migratory birds during long migrations north or south. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Stoma (sto-muh) a small pore in a plant's leaves and stems that opens to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen (plural: stomata). Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Statutes laws passed by the state legislature that the Board of Game must legally follow. The Board of Game cannot create regulations outside of authority given to them by legislative statute. Wildlife for the Future
Stand a group of trees usually of the same species and age. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Stable population one that fluctuates around a specific number of animals. See also population decline. Wildlife for the Future
Springtail any various small, wingless insects of the order Collembola, having abdominal appendages that act as springs to catapult them through the air (Springtails are detritivores.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Spores (sporz) any small organism or cell that can develop into a new individual. Ferns, mushrooms, bacteria, and certain other living things produce spores. Alaska's Ecology
Spongy layer leaf layer that contains loosely packed, differently shaped cells. Exchange of gases - carbon dioxide and oxygen - occurs in this layer. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Specific tolerances the range of environmental factors such as salinity, moisture, or heat that an organism can tolerate Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Species richness the number of species in a biological community. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Species of Special Concern any species, subspecies, or population of wildlife native to Alaska that has a long-term trend of decline or is vulnerable to significant decline due to a variety of causes. For more information and a current list, check ADF&G website Wildlife for the Future
Species diversity a measurement of the number of species in a defined area. Wildlife for the Future
Species a group of organisms that are alike and are able to breed and produce fertile offspring under natural conditions. A robin is a species of bird. Wildlife for the Future
South pole the southernmost point of the earth; the southern end of the earth's axis Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Solution a mixture formed by a substance dissolved in a liquid. Salt in water forms a solution. Alaska's Ecology
Solifluction/gelifluction (SOE-luh-fluk-shun) a type of slow landslide in which the waterlogged layer of soil that covers permafrost slides downhill on a slope Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Solid waste material that has shape and dimension (not liquid or gas) that has been thrown away or left over. Alaska's Ecology
Solid a material in which the atoms are held in definite positions relative to one another (This means that the material is rigid; it resists if it is pushed into different shapes and does not flow like a fluid to fill a container.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Solar energy heat and light from the sun. Multiple Curriculums
Soil texture the relative proportion of sand, clay and silt in soil. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Soil formation the making and mixing of small particles of inorganic minerals and organic (formerly living) particles to form the layer of material on the surface of the earth that is the natural medium for plant growth. (See also mineral soil, organic soil, and young soil.) Multiple Curriculums
Softwood usually refers to coniferous trees. Some deciduous trees such as aspen have relatively soft heartwood. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Snow crystals formed when a piece of dirt, a particle of dust, or a bit of airborne pollution draws water vapor molecules from a surrounding cloud (Temperature and available moisture determine the snow crystal's shape, size, and elaborateness.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Snag a standing dead or dying tree. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Slumping the downward movement of soil Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Sink a pool (reservoir) capable of absorption and storage. Commonly used in reference to nutrient cycles, e.g. main carbon dioxide sinks include the ocean and growing vegetation. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Singular Only one of a particular entity. Multiple Curriculums
Silviculture a branch of forestry dealing with the development and care of forests to produce timber crops. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Shrub a low, usually several-stemmed woody plant. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Shelter also known as cover. Protection from the elements for many purposes including hiding, traveling, resting, and nesting. One of the four elements necessary for survival. Multiple Curriculums
Seral stage (seer-el) successional stage; an identifiable stage in the process of replacing one community of plants and animals with another. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Seedling any young tree under a meter in height. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Seed the small object produced by flowering plants or conifers that will grow into a new plant. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Sediments a general term for particles that are left behind by an agent of transport such as water, ice, or wind. Alaska's Ecology
Secondary succession (suck-se-shun) the orderly change in plant and animal communities that follows a disturbance of an existing environment with organic soil. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Season a set period of time to legally hunt a certain species. Hunting seasons are determined through the Board of Game process. Wildlife for the Future
Scree loose rock debris covering a slope Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Sapwood the layer of cells in a tree trunk that carries water and minerals from the roots to the leaves; also called the xylem. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Sap the fluid in a plant that flows in the xylem and phloem. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Sampling observing and counting a particular population to estimate its total population size. Wildlife for the Future
Sample a portion, piece, or segment that represents the whole. Wildlife for the Future
Salinity (suh-LIN-i-tee) the degree of saltiness Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Rut refers to the season in which male ungulates (deer, moose, caribou, muskox, sheep, goats, and elk) perform mating behaviors, including shows of strength against other males and attentiveness toward females (The sound of two males' antlers or horns clashing together is a common sign that these animals are in rut.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Runoff water from precipitation that flows over the ground's surface instead of percolating into the ground. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Rotation the spinning or turning of the earth on its axis. The earth rotates once every 24 hours. Multiple Curriculums
Roots the part of a plant below ground that holds the plant in position, absorbs water, and stores food. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Rookery marine animal nursery. Place where marine mammals or birds gather together on land to nest or breed and raise their young. Wildlife for the Future
Riparian bordering rivers and streams. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Rhizomes (RI-zome) horizontal underground stems of plants that send up leafy shoots from the upper surface of stem and send down roots from the lower surface; an adaptation for plant reproduction in cold climates Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Revolution the journey that the earth takes around the sun. One revolution is 365 days, or one year, and has four seasons. Multiple Curriculums
Respiration the opposite of photosynthesis; the process whereby sugar and oxygen are converted into water and carbon dioxide with a release of energy. Alaska's Ecology
Resin sticky substance produced by plants, usually clear, yellow, or brown. Resin coats some seed cones of conifer trees. Resin is highly flammable and adds fuel to wild fires. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Reproductive rate number of young produced by each female in a population in a given period of time. Wildlife for the Future
Renewable resources living resources, such as plants and animals, that have the capacity to renew themselves when conditions for survival are favorable. Alaska's Ecology
Renewable resource a living resource which has the capacity to renew itself when conditions for survival are favorable. Trees are renewable resources. Multiple Curriculums
Reintroduced species a plant or animal that has been moved by humans to an area where it once occurred. Wildlife for the Future
Rehabilitate to restore to its former condition. Alaska's Ecology
Recycle to reuse the remains of things. Detritivores recycle nutrients for other living things to reuse. Multiple Curriculums
Realistic what is achievable or possible. Wildlife for the Future
Rayon fiber or fabric made from cellulose (from the cells of trees). Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Rate of population increase comparison of the population size at a specific time to a previous population size. An annual rate of population increase compares the population in year x to the population in year x-1. Wildlife for the Future
Radioactive isotope a chemical element with the same atomic number and identity as another element but differing in atomic weight. Radioactive isotopes tend to disintegrate and emit particles. These particles often give scientists evidence about the age of substances. Multiple Curriculums
Quantitative involving measurement of quantity or amount. Wildlife for the Future
Qualitative involving quality or kind. Wildlife for the Future
Pupa a stage in the metamorphosing of insects, a stage between the larva and adult (The pupa may appear to be inactive, but inside its protective cases, it undergoes metamorphosis from the larval stage into the adult form. Plural: pupae.) Multiple Curriculums
Protist (pro-teest) one of the five kingdoms of living things. The majority of these organisms are single celled (with a nucleus) but lacking in specialize cell structure. Protists include microscopic protozoans and slime molds as well as large seaweed and kelp. Multiple Curriculums
Protist (pro-teest) one of the five kingdoms of living things. The majority of these organisms are singlecelled (with a nucleus) but lacking in specialize cell structure. Protists include microscopic protozoans and slime molds as well as large seaweed and kelp. Alaska's Ecology
Prokaryotic ("before kernels or nucleus") descriptive term for organisms whose cells have no enclosed nucleus nor special cell structures. Monerans (bacteria, cyanobacteria) are prokaryotae. Alaska's Ecology
Producer any living thing that can convert nonliving materials (air, water, soil, and light) into food for itself and other living things (Plants and algae are examples of producers.) (Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife) Multiple Curriculums
Problem difficult situation to be improved, or an opportunity to make things better. Problems can't always be "solved," but situations usually can be improved. Wildlife for the Future
Primary succession (suck-se-shun) the orderly change in plant and animal communities that starts on new land that is bare of soil. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Primary production the production of organic material by plants via photosynthesis. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Prey animals that are killed and eaten by other animals Multiple Curriculums
Preservation protection which emphasizes nonconsumptive values and uses, including no direct use by humans. Contrasted with conservation which emphasizes both consumptive and nonconsumptive values and uses (see conservation). Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Predict to declare beforehand based on experience, observation, or scientific reason. Multiple Curriculums
Predator an animal that kills and eats other animals Multiple Curriculums
Predation the act of hunting and eating other animals. Alaska's Ecology
Precipitation water that falls to earth in the form of rain, snow, sleet, hail, or mist. Multiple Curriculums
Positive feedback loop a cause and effect chain in which the effect amplifies the initial cause, thereby creating an unstable runaway cycle. Essentially a snowballing effect. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Population recovery an increase in numbers of an animal from a relatively low level. Wildlife populations begin recovery when the number of births exceeds the number of deaths over a period of time. Wildlife for the Future
Population decline a decrease in numbers of an animal. Occurs when the number of deaths exceed the number of births over a period of time. Wildlife for the Future
Population a group of individuals of the same species occupying a given area at the same time Multiple Curriculums
Pollution harmful substances deposited in the air, water, or land which result in adverse changes to their quality. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Pollutant something that pollutes. For examples chemicals or wastes that damage air, water, or soil. Wildlife for the Future
Poaching the act of hunting or fishing illegally Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Plural pupae. Alaska's Ecology
Plants one of the five kingdoms of living things; includes all the living things that have leaves, roots, and stems. Nearly all plants are green and live without moving from place to place. Nearly all plants are producers. Trees are plants. Alaska's Ecology
Plant one of the five kingdoms of living things; includes all the living things that have leaves, roots, and stems. Nearly all plants are green and live their lives without moving from place to place. Nearly all plants are producers. Trees are plants. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Pitch the resin of a tree. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Pioneer any kind of living thing that moves into an area of bare rocks and mineral soil, survives, and reproduces; first stage in succession. Pioneer plants help to make soil for other plants that follow. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Pingo a tundra landform; an ice-filled hill on the tundra, sometimes 230 feet (70 meters) or more high and 2000 feet (610 meters) in diameter; it may be circular, oval, or irregular in form; usually covered with vegetation on the south side Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Pika a small mammal of the genus Ochotona that resembles a rabbit with a short tail, rounded ears, and two pairs of upper incisors; usually live in rocky areas at high altitudes Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Photosynthesis (foto-sin-this-iss) the combining of sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to create sugars. Oxygen is a by-product. Photosynthesis takes place in the leaves of plants and in algae. There are 2 stages of photosynthesis: oxygenic (light dependent reaction) and anoxygenic (light independent reaction). (Alaska's Ecology) Multiple Curriculums
Phosphorous an element that is needed by living things. Alaska's Ecology
Phloem (flow-em) the layer of cells just under the bark of a tree; a portion of the tube in the vein of a leaf. The phloem carries food from the leaves to other parts of the tree. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Pesticide any chemical substance (from nature or man-made) used to kill living things including plants and animals. Multiple Curriculums
Persistent winds enduring or continuous windy conditions Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Permit hunt a hunt for which permits are issued through a drawing, registration, or Tier II situation. Wildlife for the Future
Permit in wildlife management, an authorization to harvest or view wildlife in a selected area Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Permafrost soil that is 32ºF (0ºC) or less all year round. It may or may not contain ice. In the arctic tundra, permafrost may extend anywhere from a few feet to more than 1000 feet below the surface. Multiple Curriculums
Perishable food that spoils easily. Wildlife for the Future
Periodic cold the change in temperature between night and day that occurs especially at high elevations Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Periodic recurring at regular intervals; can refer to seasonal cycles or daily cycles Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Percussion a musical instrument or other item that is struck to make sound. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Percolate (PER-ko-late) to filter or trickle through a porous substance; for example, the gravity flow of water or liquid down through soil or rock Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Peatland type of wetland that accumulates peat and is characterized by cold soils and slow decomposition. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Peat bog a poorly drained wetland area with acidic spongy ground and made of dead but largely undecayed peat - sphagnum moss and other vegetable matter Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Peat (peet) moist, semi-decayed organic matter. Multiple Curriculums
Pathology the study of disease. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Passerine a perching bird or songbird. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Parenchyma in the growing portion of a tree, the layer of thin-walled cells that helps in photosynthesis and storage of food and water. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Parasitism (PAIR-uh-si-ti-zam) a symbiotic interaction where an organism lives on or within another organism on which it feeds. The parasite benefits and the other, the host, is harmed. Multiple Curriculums
Palisade layer in a leaf, the layer of cylindrical cells that is located just below the upper epidermis. The palisade layer contains the chloroplasts. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Oxygen a colorless, tasteless, odorless element that most living things breathe and need in order to live; plants and algae produce this gas during photosynthesis. (Wildlife for the Future) Multiple Curriculums
Oxbow lake usually a crescent-shaped lake, formed when a meander of a river is abandoned by the main channel. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Owl pellets indigestible parts of an owl's meal (fur, feathers, bone) that is regurgitated. Alaska's Ecology
Organism a living thing. Multiple Curriculums
Organic soil the ideal, fertile medium for plant growth. Composed of decomposed organic (living) materials recycled by detritivores. (See also soil formation.) Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Organic having to do with or coming from living things. Alaska's Ecology
Omnivore (ahm-nee-vor) a living thing that eats both producers (plants) and other consumers (animals). Multiple Curriculums
Nutrient cycling processes by which nutrients are transferred from one organism to another. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Nutrient (new-tree-ent) any element or simple compound necessary for the health and survival of an organism; includes air and water as well as food. Multiple Curriculums
North pole northernmost point on the earth; the northern end of the earth's axis Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Nonrenewable resources nonliving resources such as rocks, oil, and minerals that are not able to regenerate themselves. Once used, they cannot be replaced. Alaska's Ecology
Nonrenewable resource nonliving resources such as rocks and minerals; resources which do not regenerate themselves; substances such as petroleum, coal, copper, and gold which, once used, cannot be replaced (at least not in this geological age). Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Nonliving thing something that does not (and cannot) move, grow, and make new things like itself. Air, water, soil, rocks, and energy are examples of nonliving things. Multiple Curriculums
Nonliving environment all of the external influences that do not involve living things; for example, rainfall, soil type, temperature, and sunlight. Multiple Curriculums
Nonliving something that does not, and cannot, move, grow, or make new things like itself. Air, water, soil and rocks, and energy are the nonliving things found in all ecosystems. Multiple Curriculums
Nongame animals not hunted by humans. Wildlife for the Future
Non-consumptive use to receive benefit from a living organism without taking its life. Opposite of harvest or hunting to kill. Wildlife viewing and nature photography are examples. These activities may have negative impact on the species being viewed and its habitat. Wildlife for the Future
Nomadic roaming about from place to place Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Nocturnal (nok-turn-al) becoming active only after dark. Alaska's Ecology
Nitrogen-fixing taking nitrogen gas from the air and changing it into a form that dissolves in water. This soluble nitrogen is deposited in the soil and can be used by plants. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria do this job. Alaska's Ecology
Nitrogen a chemical element that is absorbed by producers and used in the formation of all living things. Earth's atmosphere is 78% nitrogen. Multiple Curriculums
Nitrify breakdown ammonia (from the decomposition of organic debris) and release nitrogen into the soil in a form that can be dissolved in water and used by plants. Nitrifying bacteria do this job. See also denitrify. Alaska's Ecology
Niche the status or function of an organism within its ecosystem that allows its species to survive and thrive. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Mycorrhizae (my-cor-rise-zee) fungi that live in or on the roots of plants and assist the plant in absorbing minerals from the soil. They are nitrogen-fixers. Multiple Curriculums
Mycelium the mass of thread-like hyphae that forms the major portion of a fungus and is often hidden in the wood of a tree or in decaying leaf litter. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Mutualism (MYU-chuh-wah-li-zam) a symbiotic relationship between organisms in which all benefit; a type of symbiosis (Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife) Multiple Curriculums
Muskeg a mossy bog, often with scattered black spruce trees, found in wet boreal regions. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Multiple use a forest management goal that provides all types of forest benefits from the same forest (continuous supplies of wood, wildlife habitat, watershed protection, air purification, subsistence, and outdoor recreation opportunities for example). Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Multicellular living things made of more than one cell. The cells in multicellular living things usually have specialized functions. Alaska's Ecology
Mosaic a patchwork of two or more stages of plant succession. Fire makes mosaic patterns in the boreal forest. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Mortality rate the number of deaths in a given time or place; the proportion of deaths to the total population Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Monerans (mo-NERR-ans) organisms that make up the Kingdom Monera, one of the five groups of living things. Monerans are single-celled and do not have a nucleus. Bacteria and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) are monerans. Multiple Curriculums
Molt the shedding of old feathers or hair to be replaced with new; usually yearly Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Mold a downy or furry growth on the damp surfaces of living or decayed things. Mold is a fungi. Alaska's Ecology
Mitigation bank a wetland that has been created or restored to provide compensation for impacts to a wetland elsewhere. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Mitigation effort to lessen or minimize negative impacts. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Minerals any naturally occurring nonliving substance; may be a single element (nitrogen) or a compound (carbon dioxide, water). Multiple Curriculums
Mineral soil the ground surface that contains powdered rock and silt but no organic (living or formerly living) material. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Migration a regular, seasonal movement of an animal from one place on earth to another Multiple Curriculums
Midges (mid-jes) any of various tiny flies that often gather in large swarms in cool, damp areas (Some midges can inflict a painful bite. Midge larvae, like many fly larvae, are detritivores.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Microscopic organisms living things too small to be seen without the use of a microscope. Many are detritivores. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Microscopic so small as to be invisible except through a microscope. Alaska's Ecology
Microhabitat a small habitat within a larger one in which environmental conditions differ from those in the surrounding area. Wildlife for the Future
Metamorphosis a process of developmental change of body form during growth. Frogs lifespan have a complete 5 stage metamorphosis. Multiple Curriculums
Mesophyll (mez-uh-fill) the middle layer of a leaf containing the spongy layer, palisade layer, and veins. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Meristematic tissue the tips of roots, branches, and stems of plants that contain actively growing and dividing cells. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Marsh an area periodically wet or continually flooded, but non-peat forming, composed of sedges, rushes, marestail and other softstemmed plants. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Mandate requirement to act in a particular way. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Management goal a desired result, product, or purpose that can be achieved through certain actions and choices. Natural resource management relies heavily on scientific knowledge and integrates societal values and economical demands in decision making. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Management as related to wildlife, the application of scientific knowledge and technical skills to protect, preserve, conserve, limit, enhance, or extend the value of wildlife and habitat. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Mammals a class of vertebrate animals that are warm-blooded, have hair or fur, and suckle their young. Alaska's Ecology
Lowland tundra the cold, windy, treeless environment found in the arctic and maritime subarctic; also called arctic or high-latitude tundra Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Low-center polygon a tundra or taiga landform; a surface depression with uplifted, many-sided edges on the ground (Polygons are formed by ice wedges and permafrost.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Logging slash branches, bark, tops, and broken trees left on the ground after logging. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Lobbyist someone who tries to influence a public official to make an action in favor of a particular cause or issue. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Living thing An organized structure that is able to grow and make new things like itself; an organism that requires energy to survive. Living things are classified into five great groups called "kingdoms" - monerans, protists, fungi, plants, and animals. Multiple Curriculums
Liquid a state of matter in which the atoms or molecules are not fixed rigidly in position relative to each other, as they are in a solid, but they do not move around quite as independently as they do in a gas. Water is a liquid. Multiple Curriculums
Linear growth increase which occurs slowly and steadily by the repeated addition of a specific number to a base number. Wildlife for the Future
Limiting factor something that keeps a population of animals or other organisms from increasing such as a shortage of food, water, shelter, or space. Other examples include diseases, predation, climatic conditions, pollution, hunting, poaching, and accidents that affect either the number of births, the number of deaths, or both. (Alaska's Ecology) Multiple Curriculums
Limited resources resources that may be irreplaceable when diminished. Alaska's Ecology
Lichen (like-en) a living thing formed by an alga and fungus growing in symbiosis. They often grow in harsh conditions that are too exposed for other plants. Because of their sensitivity to air pollution, many are useful as air quality indicators. Multiple Curriculums
Lemming small arctic rodent; Lemmings resemble mice but have short tails and fur-covered feet. Multiple Curriculums
Leaves the flat, thin structures, usually green, that grow on a stem or twig of a plant. Leaves are usually where photosynthesis and transpiration occur. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Latitude distance of a given point on earth north or south of the equator. Multiple Curriculums
Larval stage the immature form of a living thing that undergoes metamorphosis (Tadpoles, grubs, and caterpillars are all in the larval stage that is radically different from the adult frogs, beetles, and butterflies that they become after metamorphosis. Singular: larva; plural: larvae.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Larvae any of the immature forms of living things that undergo metamorphosis. Tadpoles, grubs, and caterpillars are all in the larval stage that is radically different from the adult frogs, beetles, and butterflies that they become after metamorphosis. (Alaska's Ecology) Multiple Curriculums
Landfill the disposal of garbage by burying it under a shallow layer of ground. A specially engineered site for disposing of solid waste on land, designed to confine the refuse to the smallest practical area. Alaska's Ecology
Lagoon a shallow body of water separated from the sea by sand bars. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Kingdom the highest classification or taxonomic division of living things. Today, living things are grouped into five kingdoms: Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia - characterized by their cell structure. Alaska's Ecology
Invertebrates (in-vert-a-brets) animals without a backbone or internal bony skeleton. Includes insects, crustaceans, worms, corals, and mollusks. Alaska's Ecology
Invertebrate (in-VER-tuh-brate) an animal without a backbone or internal bony skeleton; includes insects, crustaceans, worms, corals, and mollusks. Multiple Curriculums
Invasive species nonnative species that causes economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Introduced species a species that has been moved by humans into an area where it was never known to have occurred before. Wildlife for the Future
Interpretation an explanation of the meaning or significance of something. Wildlife for the Future
Interdependence needing each other. Multiple Curriculums
Interaction when one thing affects another. Alaska's Ecology
Insulator material that slows down the movement of heat energy Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Insulation anything that reduces the movement of heat energy into or out of a particular object or area Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Insulating ability the capability of a material to reduce the movement of heat energy Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Insect a class of animals that has an exoskeleton divided into head, thorax, and abdomen. The thorax bears three pairs of legs and in most species, two pairs of wings. Alaska's Ecology
Inorganic any substance that was not formed by living things. Alaska's Ecology
Increment borer the narrow tool used to drill a core sample when analyzing the age of a live tree. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
In lieu fee mitigation a sponsor collects money from a developer in exchange for development. The sponsor uses the money to conserve, restore, or create wetlands. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Ice wedge a crack in the ground that expands each winter with the freezing of melt water that seeped into the crack during summer Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Hypotheses (hi-PAH-thah-sees) tentative explanations that account for a set of facts and can be tested by further examination; something taken to be true for the purpose of argument or investigation; an assumption (If a hypothesis withstands experimental tests, it may be elevated to a theory.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Hyphae (hi-fee) the tiny hair-like parts that form the main body of fungi. Hyphae are the part of fungi that grow and feed. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Hydrology study of the dynamics of water, on the earth's surface, in the soil, and in the atmosphere. Multiple Curriculums
Hunting season in wildlife management, a period of days or months that defines the legal hunting time for a type of animal in a particular region Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Hunting Regulations laws defined by the Board of Game and signed into law by Alaska's lieutenant governor. Wildlife for the Future
Humus (hoom-us) the brown or black part of the soil that comes from decayed plants and animals; a highly complex mixture of organic and inorganic substances. Multiple Curriculums
Host an organism that serves as the habitat for a parasite. Multiple Curriculums
Horticulture the science of growing plants. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Home range an area that an animal or family group occupies on a daily or seasonal basis in search of food (The home range does not necessarily correspond to territory, which is the area defended by an animal or a group.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
High-latitude tundra another term for lowland or arctic tundra; refers to the cold, windy, treeless environment found in the arctic and subarctic Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
High-elevation tundra another term for alpine tundra; refers to cold, windy, treeless environments occurring at high elevations throughout the world Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
High-center polygon a landform on the tundra (or in the taiga) that has been uplifted to form a many-sided pattern on the ground (Polygons are formed by ice wedges and permafrost.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
High latitude tundra another term for lowland or arctic tundra; refers to the cold, windy, treeless environment found in the Arctic and Subarctic. Alaska's Ecology
Hibernate to spend the winter in an inactive state during which life processes (breathing, heart rate, body temperature, etc.) are reduced but not shut down Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Heterotroph (het-er-o-troaf) a living thing that cannot make its own food, but instead eats (consumes) other organisms. Alaska's Ecology
Herd group of animals that stay or come together annually Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Herbivore (erb-uh-vor) a living thing that eats producers such as plants, algae, or lichens. Multiple Curriculums
Herbicides chemical substances used to kill plants. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Heliotropic (HEE-lee-tro-pik) growth or orientation of a immobile organism, especially a plant, toward the light of the sun Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Height (of tree) the measurement from the ground to the top twig of a tree. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Heat energy another term for heat Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Heartwood the dead inner part of a tree trunk that gives the tree trunk strength. Each year's xylem cells die and become heartwood, producing the annual rings seen in a cross-section. Sawmills cut heartwood into lumber. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Haulouts beaches and islands where marine mammals move onto land to rest. Wildlife for the Future
Harvestable surplus the estimated number of animals that can be hunted or trapped each year by humans without causing a decline in the population. Wildlife for the Future
Harvest the intentional gathering of plants and animals for human use. In wildlife management, hunting is considered a form of harvest in which individual animals are killed. Multiple Curriculums
Harm to hurt. Wildlife for the Future
Hardwood a type of tree that has flowers and broad, flat leaves and forms seeds with a thick outer coat. A birch tree is a hardwood. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Halophyte prefers or tolerant of salt water. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Half-life the period of time required for half of a quantity of a radioactive isotope to be eliminated or disintegrated by natural processes (Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife) Multiple Curriculums
Habitat restoration human activities that allow wildlife habitat to return to natural conditions following disturbance or to meet the needs of a particular animal. Wildlife for the Future
Habitat the place where an animal lives that provides food, water, shelter (or cover), and space in a suitable arrangement that an organism needs to survive. Multiple Curriculums
Gymnosperm (jim-noh-spurm) plants with seeds that aren't enclosed in flowers or fruit. Conifers are the most common type of gymnosperm. A spruce tree is a gymnosperm. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Ground cover small plants that grow on the forest floor except for young trees. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Gizzard the second stomach of a bird; it has thick muscular walls and a tough lining for grinding food that has been partially digested in the first stomach. Alaska's Ecology
Germinate when a plant begins sprouting or growing. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Gas a substance, without shape or volume, that tends to expand indefinitely. Air is a gas. Multiple Curriculums
Game Management Units division of Alaska into 26 small geographical units for managing game. Within these GMU's, there may be smaller units, identified with letters. For example, GMU 21B is an area north of Ruby and south of Tanana. Maps of the state's GMU's are available in the Alaska Hunting Regulations book and on the ADF&G website. Wildlife for the Future
Game any wildlife species sought after by humans for hunting and/or trapping. Wildlife species that are not hunted by humans are called nongame. Wildlife for the Future
Gall A swelling on the tissues of trees and other plants caused by the attacks of certain parasitic insects. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Fungus a living thing from the kingdom Fungi that includes mushrooms, yeasts, molds, fungi, lichens, and slime molds; all are detritivores characterized by their cell structure; plural: fungi (FUN-jee) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Fungi (fun-jee) one of the five kingdoms of living things. Most fungi do not move around, but live their lives in one place. Most eat dead things and waste materials, but some get food through symbioses with plants or microscopic organisms. Fungi are often white, but may also be colorful. (Singular:fungus) Multiple Curriculums
Fuel any combustible (burnable) material which will support a forest or tundra fire. Dead and fallen wood and dried leaves and plants in a forest. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Fry a recently hatched fish. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Fruticose (FRUI-tee-koes) describes lichens that grow in the form of tiny shrubs Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Fruit the ripe ovary of a seed plant that includes both the seeds and the coverings. Alaska's Ecology
Frost boil tundra landscape feature; a small rise caused by the expansion of underlying ice; found in areas underlain by ice or permafrost Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Freezing point temperature at which a substance freezes and becomes a solid Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Fossil fuel the remains of prehistoric plants and animals that are burned to obtain energy; includes oil, natural gas, and coal. Alaska's Ecology
Forester a person trained in forestry; one who takes care of trees or a forest; may also be called a forest manager. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Forest manager a person whose job is to take care of a forest; may also be called a forester. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Forest management the balance of using and protecting a forest to ensure that it will continue to provide desired benefits. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Forest any ecosystem that contains many trees (Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife) Multiple Curriculums
Food web all the interconnected food chains within a particular ecosystem Multiple Curriculums
Food pyramid also called an "energy pyramid," a diagram representing the loss of available energy at each trophic level in a community of living things. Generally, 90% of the usable energy in each transfer between producers, herbivores, and carnivores is lost as heat. Alaska's Ecology
Food chain the transfer of food energy from living things in one nutritional level to those in another. In a simple food chain, for example, a mammal eats a bird that ate an insect that ate a plant. Multiple Curriculums
Food energy and minerals in a form living things can use and one of the four elements necessary for survival. Multiple Curriculums
Foliose describes lichens whose leaf-like structures are divided into many lobes Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Flyways general routes of travel used by birds when migrating between breeding and wintering grounds. For geese and ducks, there are four major flyways in the United States; Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific. The actual migratory routes of individual bird species may vary from these general flyway patterns. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Fish and Game Advisory Committee community-appointed groups that advise the Board of Game and the Board of Fish as regulations are being considered. Wildlife for the Future
Fertile able to produce young, seeds, fruit, pollen, spores. Producing abundantly. Alaska's Ecology
Fen a type of wetland that accumulates peat deposits and receives most of its water from groundwater. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Fact something that can be shown to be true, to exist, or to have happened. Wildlife for the Future
Extirpate to cause localized extinction of a living thing, removing its population from a region (Muskoxen were extirpated from Alaska in about 1865, but they still survived in Greenland.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Extinction The condition of having been removed from existence. A plant or animal facing extinction is one in danger of vanishing from our world forever. Multiple Curriculums
Extinct an organism no longer known to be alive anywhere on earth. Multiple Curriculums
Exponential growth extremely rapid rate of increase. Wildlife for the Future
Exotic species animals and plants not native to an ecosystem. When humans let them loose, these species may harm or compete with the natural or native species of the area. The State of Alaska has laws to protect against release of exotic species. Wildlife for the Future
Evidence sign. Wildlife for the Future
Evergreen a tree that does not lose all its leaves in the autumn, but loses them a few at a time throughout the entire year. A spruce tree is an evergreen. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Evaporation water changes from a liquid to a gas form. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Evaporate to expel moisture from; to convert into vapor. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Eutrophication a process where water bodies receive excess nutrients, resulting in excessive plant growth and oxygen depletion. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Eukaryote (u-kar-E-ott) descriptive term for an organism composed of one or more cells containing visibly evident nuclei and organelles. All higher unicellular and multicellular organisms are eukaryotes. Alaska's Ecology
Euglena (u-glE-na) green freshwater flagellates often classed as algae. One-celled animals from the kingdom Protista. Euglenas have qualities of both plants and animals: they photosynthesize their own food but many can also eat tiny particles of food. They have 1-3 flagella for swimming and lack a rigid cell wall typical of most plants. Alaska's Ecology
Ethnobotany study of how people of a particular culture or region make use of indigenous plants. Includes botany, medicine, and lore. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Estuary where saltwater and freshwater meet, the water is brackish. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Estimate a rough calculation of population size without counting every individual. Wildlife for the Future
Erosion the wearing away of the land surface by wind or water. Multiple Curriculums
Epidermis (epp-i-dur-mis) outer layers of cells occurring on all parts of the main plant body including the leaf. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Epidemic (epp-uh-dem-ick) rapidly spreading among many individuals in a community at the same time; widespread. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Environment the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival Multiple Curriculums
Entomology the study of insects. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Energy a nonliving aspect that can be observed in the form of electricity, heat, light, and motion in living and nonliving things. It has the capacity to move, do work, or change something. Multiple Curriculums
Endangered Species List a roll call of plants and animals in danger of extinction in the United States. The Endangered Species Act requires that these threatened and endangered species and their habitats be protected, monitored, and have recovery plans created to increase their populations. Species of Concern is different from endangered or threatened - see definition. Wildlife for the Future
Endangered a species that is in danger of extinction in all or a significant portion of its range. Multiple Curriculums
Enchytraeids (en-ki-tree-aids) a group of segmented worms that live in the soil Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Emergent plants that grow in water but have leaves and flowers above the surface. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Element one of the materials from which all other materials are made. Each element has its own kind of atom. There are more than one hundred known elements. Iron, oxygen, gold, and carbon are elements. Alaska's Ecology
Ectotherm an animal that regulates its body temperature by exchanging heat with its surroundings ("cold blooded"). E.g. reptiles, amphibians, most fish and insects. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Ecosystem service fundamental human life-support service offered by natural systems. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Ecosystem (ee-co-sis-tem) a community of living things and its nonliving surroundings linked together by energy and nutrient exchange. Multiple Curriculums
Ecology the study of the inter-relationships among and between living things and their nonliving surroundings. (Alaska's Ecology) Multiple Curriculums
Ecologist a scientist who studies the interrelationships of living things to each other and to the environment. (Alaska's Forests & Wildlife) Multiple Curriculums
Earlywood the cambium layer that grows early in the growing season. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Drought a prolonged period of dry weather; a lack of rain. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Drawing permit a permit issued to a limited number of hunters by means of a lottery. Hunters must apply and agree to obey the conditions spelled out in that permit. Multiple Curriculums
Dormant a period of suspended growth and metabolic activity (Many plants, seeds, spores, and some invertebrates become dormant during unfavorable conditions.) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Dominant being the most common species in a community. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Dominance priority access to preferred or limited resources. Alaska's Ecology
Domesticated formerly wild plants or animals that now receive all their habitat needs (food, water, shelter, and space) from humans. Alaska's Ecology
Domestic animals that are tamed, captive, or bred by humans Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Diversity the variety of living things that fill different jobs or niches in an ecosystem. Multiple Curriculums
Disturbance an event that changes an ecosystem or community. Glaciers, volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, fire, and human activities such as timber harvest or land clearing are examples of disturbances. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Dilemma a problem involving a difficult choice. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Difference not the same. Wildlife for the Future
Detritus (de-TRI-tes) organic waste material such as dead or partially decayed plants and animals or excrement; an important source of nutrients in a food web (Detritus can also be small particles of minerals such as sand or silt.) Multiple Curriculums
Detritivore (de-TRI-tuh-vohr) an organism that obtains it energy needs by consuming (eating) wastes and other living things that have died (See also decomposer and scavenger) Multiple Curriculums
Destruction the act or process of tearing down; demolishing. Alaska's Ecology
Desiccate to dry Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Depth hoar the layer of large, cup-shaped crystals near the ground in the snow pack Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Density (DEN-si-tee) the average number of individuals within a certain space unit Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Denitrify breakdown of ammonia (from the decomposition of organic debris) and returning the nitrogen to the atmosphere rather than the soil. Denitrifying bacteria do this job. See also nitrify. Alaska's Ecology
Dendrochronology the science of dating past environmental events and changes by looking at tree rings. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Delta fan-like deposit at the mouth of a river Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Defense the act of defending against attack, danger, or injury; a means or method of defending or protecting Multiple Curriculums
Decomposition (dee-kom-poh-ZI-shun) an act of breaking down or separating into basic components or parts, by which organic matter decays. Multiple Curriculums
Decomposer an organism that breaks down organic materials. All consumers fit this category, but it is used to refer to organisms that break organic material down completely and return the raw materials to the environment. See Detritus Multiple Curriculums
Deckle a movable wooden frame used as an edging for the four sides of paper made by hand. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Deciduous (dee-sid-you-us) a tree that loses all of its leaves during some time of year, usually in fall. Birch trees are deciduous. Spruce trees are not. (Alaska's Forests & Wildlife) Multiple Curriculums
Dabbling duck feeds on insects and crustaceans on surface of water and bottom-dwelling organisms in shallow water. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Cycle events that happen in the same order, over and over again. Spring, summer, autumn, and winter are the cycle of the four seasons of the year. Alaska's Ecology
Cyanobacteria see blue-green algae. Alaska's Ecology
Cuticle (cute-e-cul) waxy layer on the epidermal cells (outer wall) of a leaf. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Crustose (KROOS-toes) describes lichens whose leaf-like structures are thin and crusty and that grow very close or attached to a surface Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Crown the topmost leaves and branches of a tree. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Cross-section a slice across (not up and down) the body of something. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Cross-dating a technique comparing growth rings of trees (using a core sample of a living tree as a "known") to date wood of unknown age or to analyze past environmental conditions. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Create to bring into being; to cause to exist. Alaska's Ecology
Cover protection from the elements for many purposes including hiding, traveling, resting, and nesting. Also referred to as shelter. One of the four elements necessary for survival. Multiple Curriculums
Corrode (kah-ROHD) to wear away, especially by oxidation (as in rust) or other chemical action Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Core sample a piece of wood about the thickness of a soda straw removed from the trunk of a living tree to analyze the tree's growth rings. The tree continues to grow. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Cord of wood a stack of cut wood that measures 4 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 8 feet long (4x4x8'). Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Contour lines on a topographic map, lines that connect contiguous points of the same altitude. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Consumer (kon-SOO-muhr) any living thing that must consume (eat) other organisms, living or dead, to satisfy its energy needs Multiple Curriculums
Consume to eat and digest and thereby gain the eaten organism's energy and minerals. Alaska's Ecology
Constructive snow metamorphism natural changes in the layers of snow as new snow falls or as temperatures increase or decrease Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Conservation the use of natural resources in a way that assures their continuing availability for future generations. The wise and intelligent use or protection of natural resources. Multiple Curriculums
Consensus an opinion or decision that is shared by the group. Reaching consensus may require compromise. Wildlife for the Future
Conifer a type of tree that has needle-like leaves and forms its seeds inside cones. Conifer seeds do not have a thick coating (that's why they need cone-scales for protection). The crown of this tree is cone-shaped or triangular. Most conifers do not shed their leaves in winter. They are in the gymnosperm class. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Cone-scales overlapping, spirally arranged covers that protect seeds grown by conifer trees. Squirrels open the cone scales to eat the seeds. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Cone a structure composed of scales in which seeds are produced. Conifer trees have cones that can hang on some trees for several years. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Conductor (kon-DUK-tore) a material that transmits heat energy Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Condensation water changes from a gas to a liquid form. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Compromise a way to settle a problem in which different or opposing "sides" usually give a little. Wildlife for the Future
Compound a combination of elements, such as "H2O" (water) or "CO2" (carbon dioxide). Alaska's Ecology
Compost a mixture of decomposing vegetable refuse, plant detritis, and manure that make soil better for growing plants. Alaska's Ecology
Competition struggle between organisms for limited resources, such as food, water, shelter or space. Multiple Curriculums
Compaction (kom-PAK-shun) the process in which the air spaces between underlying particles are compressed or eliminated Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Compacted (KOM-pak-tid) in soils and snow, when pressure from above ground has compressed or eliminated the air spaces between underlying particles Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Community an interacting population of various species of plants and animals in a common location. All the plant and animals in a particular habitat that are bound together by energy flow and other interrelationships. Multiple Curriculums
Commensalism (co-men-sa-lism) a relationship between two kinds of living things where one benefits and the other Multiple Curriculums
Colonization (kol-o-ni-zay-shon) when plants or animals become established in a new territory that they had not previously inhabited. (Alaska's Forests & Wildlife) Multiple Curriculums
Colonization (kah-luh-nigh-ZAY-shun) when animals or plants become established in a new territory that they had not previously inhabited Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Cold absence of heat; something that has a temperature that is lower than the surrounding area Multiple Curriculums
Coastal rainforest the coniferous forest that grows along the western coast of North America from Kodiak Island to Northern California. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Co-management bringing together resource managers (with western science) and local citizens (with traditional ecological knowledge). Wildlife for the Future
Climax community the maximum stage of succession; the mixture of living things that eventually appears on a site if it is not disturbed. Forests and tundra have climax communities. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Climate the average condition of the weather (temperature, wind velocity, precipitation, sunlight) at a location over many years. (Alaska's Ecology) Multiple Curriculums
Classify to sort into groups. Alaska's Ecology
Cilia (sil-ee-a) tiny, hair-like projections found on some cells. Alaska's Ecology
Chlorophyll (KLOHR-uh-fil) a group of pigments that produces the green color of plants; essential to photosynthesis Multiple Curriculums
Census a complete count of all the animals in a specific wildlife population Wildlife for the Future
Cellular respiration the living cells of animals and plants combine some types of digested food with oxygen to produce energy, water, and carbon dioxide. Alaska's Ecology
Carrying capacity the population (of an animal) that an area can sustainably support without undergoing deterioration. The dynamic equilibrium established between any life form and its environment. Multiple Curriculums
Carnivore (KAHR-neh-vohr) an organism that eats other organisms (The majority are animals, but a few fungi, plants, and protists are also carnivores.) (Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife) Multiple Curriculums
Carbon dioxide a colorless, odorless gas that passes out of the lungs in respiration; compound made of carbon and oxygen. Needed by plants for photosynthesis. Alaska's Ecology
Carbon an element that forms a major building block of all living things. Alaska's Ecology
Camouflage (kam-o-flaj) coloration and patterning (or, rarely, behavior) that provides a disguise from predators. Alaska's Ecology
Calving ground area where female caribou traditionally come to give birth to their calves in late May and early June (caribou herds are identified by the area where they calve because that is distinctive to each herd) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Calf newborn or young caribou Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Burrow (BUR-oh) a hole in the ground made and used by an animal Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Breeding ground a land area occupied by migratory birds during the nesting season. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Bog a peat-forming ecosystem influenced solely by water, (which falls directly on to it as rain or snow) and generally dominated by sphagnum moss. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Board of Game Governor-appointed, legislatively approved board of Alaska citizens that uses public and agency information set regulations regarding wildlife harvests. Wildlife for the Future
Board of Fish Governor-appointed, legislatively approved board of Alaska citizens that use public and agency information to set regulations regarding fish harvests. Wildlife for the Future
Board feet unit of measurement of timber available on a tree or in a forest. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Blue-green algae now called cyanobacteria, they are single-cell organisms without a nucleus classified in the Kingdom Monera. They photosynthesize like plants but are structurally similar to other photosynthetic bacteria. Alaska's Ecology
Blubber the fat of whales and other large marine mammals Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Bird banding means of marking birds with bands to obtain data about their flights, migration, and habits. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Biome (bi-om) a major regional plant community and its associated animal life. A way to classify regions of the Earth. Examples include grasslands, forests, tundra, and deserts. (Alaska's Ecology) Multiple Curriculums
Biologist a person who studies living organisms and their relationship to one another. Wildlife for the Future
Biodiversity the variety and abundance of living things in a habitat, ecosystem, or specific area. Also called biological diversity. Multiple Curriculums
Bias prejudice. An unfair dislike or preference for something. Wildlife for the Future
Belief an emotional or spiritual acceptance that something is true. Wildlife for the Future
Base a chemical that has a bitter taste, turns litmus paper blue, reacts with an acid to form a salt, and has a pH value greater than 7 Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Bark the dead, outer covering of tree trunks and branches that protects the tree from insects, fungi, and weather. Bark is formed as the phloem cells of the tree die. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Bag limit the maximum number of animals of any one species that one hunter can kill in a given area in a single season. Multiple Curriculums
Bacteria tiny living cells. Bacteria are so small that they can only be seen through a microscope. Some bacteria cause diseases. Others do useful things, like making soil richer. Alaska's Ecology
Axis a real or imaginary straight line passing through an object or body, such as the earth, and around which the body rotates or seems to rotate Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Autotroph (aw-tow-troaf) an organism that can make its own food. Alaska's Ecology
Authority an individual or group of people with the power to make changes. Wildlife for the Future
Atmosphere the whole mass of air surrounding the earth Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Assumptions something believed to be true without proof. Wildlife for the Future
Aspect exposure; position facing a particular direction, as in this slope has a southern aspect. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Arctic tundra the cold, windy, treeless environment found in the arctic and maritime subarctic; also called high-latitude tundra and lowland tundra; distinguishable from the alpine tundra (Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife) Multiple Curriculums
Arctic haze a reddish-brown layer of air pollution from industrialized areas of the northern continents that accumulates in the arctic air during winter because there is little rain or snowfall to remove pollutant particles Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Aquatic lives in water. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Anthropomorphism giving human motivation and characteristics to animals and plants. Wildlife for the Future
Annual rings the concentric rings seen in crosssections of the stems (trunks) of most trees and shrubs. Each pair of rings (light and dark) represents a year's growth in the life of the tree. The rings are the previous years' xylem cells. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Annual plant a plant that completes its life cycle, from seed to reproductive stage, in only one year or season. Alaska's Ecology
Animal a many-celled living thing that takes in food and moves about. Unlike plants, animals do not have to stay in one place, and they cannot make their own food. Jellyfish, worms, clams, insects, birds, mammals, and human beings are all animals. (Alaska's Forests & Wildlife) Multiple Curriculums
Angle of incidence angle that a ray of light striking a surface forms with a line perpendicular to that surface Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Angiosperm (an-gee-o-spurm) a plant that protects its seeds in some sort of covering. A birch tree is an angiosperm. Alaska's Forests & Wildlife
Analogy an inference that if two unrelated things are alike in some ways they are probably alike in others. Alaska's Ecology
Anaerobic in the absence of oxygen (Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife) Multiple Curriculums
Anadromous like salmon, spending the first part of life in fresh water, most of adult life in the open ocean, and returning to freshwater to spawn. (Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife) Multiple Curriculums
Amplexus process by which male and female frogs mate. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Amoeba (a-me-ba) any one-celled organisms from the genus Amoeba. Amoebas move about on "false feet" which are temporary extrusions of the cell. These microscopic creatures are found in fresh and salt water, in soil, and as parasites. Alaska's Ecology
Alpine tundra cold, windy, treeless environments occurring at high elevations above tree line throughout the world. Also called high elevation tundra. Multiple Curriculums
Alkaline (AL-kah-line) having a pH value greater than 7; also called a base (see entry) Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Algae (AL-jee) a large group of primitive plants with chlorophyll, but lacking true roots, flowers, stems, and leaves. Multiple Curriculums
Alevin the first stage of fish development after hatching. Alevin still have a yolk sac. Alaska's Ecology
Alaska Department of Fish and Game state agency that provides research, management, and information regarding fish and wildlife conservation in Alaska. ADF&G is required to implement regulatory processes set forth by the Board of Game and the Board of Fish. Wildlife for the Future
Air the mixture of invisible, odorless, tasteless gases that surrounds the earth Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Affect to act upon or have an effect on something or somebody. Wildlife for the Future
Aerobic (air-o-bik) needing or using oxygen in the form that appears in air. Alaska's Ecology
Aerial photograph a photograph, taken from an airplane, that captures important ground features. Alaska's Wetlands & Wildlife
Adaptation (a-dap-TAY-shun) the process of adjusting to the environment; a trait that improves a plant or animal's ability to live in a particular environment. Multiple Curriculums
Active layer the layer of soil lying on top of permafrost that thaws and refreezes each year Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Acidic acid forming Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Acid rain rain that has a high concentration of nitric and sulfuric acids from pollution or natural sources Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Acid a chemical with a pH value less than 7 Alaska's Tundra & Wildlife
Abundance the total number of individuals, number of a species, or the amount of resources present in an area. Alaska's Ecology
Absorption passage of nutrients into living cells. Alaska's Ecology