Terms every diver should know.

Holdfast, Sessile, Substrate, Stipe, Blade

Holdfast  (hohld’-fast)  In marine biology terms, structures with which sessile organisms’ such as kelp attach themselves to a solid substrate. Sessile (ses’-il, -ahy) Permanently attached by the base, not able to move about. Substrate (suhb’-streyt) A surface that serves as a base for a sessile marine organism. As in, “a larva looks for a substrate on which to settle.” Stipe (stahyp’) The stem of an algae organism, most often used with reference to larger varieties

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Lateral Line

LATERAL LINE (lat’-er-uhl lahyn)  A series of tube-like canals  and sensory cells along the heads and sides of fishes by which they are able detect vibrations in the surrounding water. Lateral lines almost certainly play roles in schooling behavior, predator detection and fishes’ turning away when they sense over-anxious photographers like me swinging their cameras toward them to shoot photos.  

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Anthropocene – The Age of Man’s Alteration of the Environment

Anthropocene (æn’ thrō pō seen)  A new, if informal, term for the current epoch of geohistory, describing the past 250 years in which mankind’s actions have begun having a significant impact on the earth and its environment. A NEW AGE   The epochs of the Tertiary and Quatenary Periods combine the root word “cenes” (from the Greek for “recent”) with other terms. Thus we have the Tertiary Period’s Paleocene (“old-recent”), Miocene (“less-recent”) and Pliocene Epochs (“more-recent”).

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Kleptopredation: New Word, New Science

IN THE FOOD CHAIN PART OF THE WEB OF LIFE, there are predators (like lions), who actually hunt prey, and “kleptoparasites” (like hyenas), whose specialty is stealing the prey out from under the predator who just killed it. Marine biologists studying the tiny, colorful nudibranch Cratena peregina have added a new concept to both science and the language: “kleptopredation,” or consuming not just something else’s prey, but that “Something” itself. NEWLY DISCOVERED BEHAVIOR It’s long

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Cetacean, Baleen, Baleen Whales, Toothed Whales

Ce·ta·cean (si-tey‘-shuhn, from the Greek and Latin for “whale”)  As an adjective, belonging to Order Cetacea, the catagory of marine mammals that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. As a noun, a marine mammal in that order. Ba·leen (bə-lēn‘) , from the Middle French for “Whalebone”)  Bristle-like structures in the mouths of baleen whales, used to strain plankton from seawater, composed of keratin, similar to the material that makes up humans’ fingernails and hair. Also called “Whalebone,” once used

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Fish Versus Fishes

Fish: The food you buy at a seafood counter Fishes: The animals, both individuals and species, primarily in the classes Chondrichthyes (sharks and rays) and Osteichthyes (bony fishes), that live in the water column. As in, “There are a lot of fishes on that reef…. and a lot of types of fishes.”  On the other hand, an individual fish is a…fish.

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