Research

  • Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Connectivity
  • Ecosystem Monitoring Studies
  • Coral Health Assessment Program
  • Maps and Data
  • Science Management Integration and Communications
  • Science Terms Glossary

    Science Terms Glossary

    Acoustic monitoring – the recording and collection of environmental sounds for study.

    Alien species – species that reside in an area but do not naturally occur there, usually as a result of deliberate or accidental human intervention and can have an adverse effect on native species.

    Alleles – an alternative form of a gene for specific traits, through mutation it isresponsible for hereditary variation.

    Ambient sound - sound in the surrounding environment.

    Anthropogenic – human activity.

    Assayed - procedure in molecular biology for analyzing or quantifying the presence of a substance and the amount of that substance.

    Bioerosion – the erosion of undersea rock or coral reefs by mollusks and other organisms.

    Biogeographic - the distribution of biodiversity, where organisms live/ their abundance.

    Carbon fixation – the process in which carbon dioxide is converted into a solidcompound such as sugars.

    Clonal –organisms that are derived from a single parent through asexual reproduction.

    Connectivity – The interdependence of populations in different areas through the migration of individuals between them. Coral Bleaching – the loss of algae normally living within coral animals due to stresssuch as increased temperature, which results in the loss of color in corals.

    DNA – nucleic acid containing genetic instructions for the development and functioning of living organisms. DNA molecules provide storage of information for constructing cells.

    DNA markers – a unique sequence which can be used in experiments to identify aspecial DNA chain.

    Etiologies - the causes of a disease.

    Extirpation - local extinction.

    Genetics - the study of heredity/variation in organisms using DNA and chromosomes; or the examination of the genetic makeup of a specific individual or species.

    Genetic Structure – Genetic differences between populations accumulate through inbreeding and mutation when populations are isolated; these differences amount to genetic structure between the populations. Migration homogenizes a set of populations and erases structure.

    Genotype – the process of determining genetic constitution of an organism with respect to a trait.

    IBD (Isolation by Distance) – a phenomenon that occurs when migrants are exchanged between nearby populations. FST increases with distance between populations. How fast it increases with distance reflects the average distance that individuals migrate.

    Marker type – specific sections of DNA used to characterize the level of genetic structure. Different marker types are different areas of DNA and tend to measure the level of structure a bit differently.

    Mesophotic - coral reefs found between 30 meters to the bottom of the photic zone,which varies by location (around 200 meters). Mesophotic reefs are located in tropicaland sub-tropical regions, characterized by light-dependent corals and associatedcommunities.

    Microsatellite – One of the most commonly used DNA marker types.

    Molecular biology – the study of life/ DNA at the molecular level.

    Morphological - the study of the structure of animals and plants.

    Morphometric - the study of fish physical features like shape, to identify fish, coral and plant populations.

    Ocean acidification – the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans, caused by their uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

    Ontogenetic - of or relating to the origin and development of individual organisms

    PCR-amplification – the primary technique in genetic research whereby a specific DNA sequence is amplified as many as one billion times.

    PLD – Pelagic larval duration is the length of time an organism spends as a larvae drifting in the ocean before it metamorphoses into an adult form and settles into its adult habitat.

    Refugia – an isolated area that has escaped ecological changes occurring elsewhere and provides a suitable habitat for unique species.

    Resilience – the ability to recover from or adjust easily to change.

    Site-fidelity - species that return to the same breeding site or territory.

    Soniferous - carrying or producing sound.

    Speciation - the evolutionary formation of new biological species, usually by the division of a single species into two or more genetically distinct ones.

    Symbiodinium – a specific genus of symbiotic dinoflagellates. Symbionts are various yellow, green or brown pigmented algae that live symbiotically within the cells of other organisms, such as those of corals and marine invertebrates like jelly fish.

    Symbioses – a close ecological relationship between the individuals of two or more different species (i.e.) a yellow tang feeding on the algae accumulated on a sea turtles shell, the shell in turn gets cleaned.

    Turbidity – the measure of water clarity or muddiness created by stirring up sediment or having foreign particles suspended.

    Virulence – the ability to cause disease, the virulence of a microorganism (such as avirus) is a measure of the severity of the disease it is capable of causing.