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Acid rain - rain that contains toxic chemicals from the atmosphere, such as sulfur dioxide (SO2). When this rain falls, it spreads these toxic chemicals, polluting lakes, oceans, and forests.
Algae - simple plants without leaves, stems, or roots. Often single-celled organisms
Aquatic habitat - a habitat with water that includes areas permanently covered by water and surrounding areas that are occasionally covered by water
Aquifer - areas underground which store water, characterized by porous rock and soil.
Biological control - the process of using organisms to reduce a problem in nature. For example, Kudzu, a viny plant, has been introduced in Georgia to reduce the problem of erosion.
Carnivore - an animal that eats only other animals
Carnivorous - eating only animals
Climate - the long-term weather conditions of an area
Decomposer - an organism that eats dead plant and animal matter
Delta - area of wetlands that forms at the mouth of a river at the coast, usually triangle-shaped
Detritus - small pieces of decayed plant and animal matter
Discharge - the amount of water passing a point on the river in a given amount of time
Ebb tide - a tide that is falling
Erosion - the loss of soil and gravel from the surface of land. This occurs when sediments are exposed and swept away by wind or water
Estuary - a place where freshwater from a river mixes with saltwater from the ocean
Fertilizer - chemicals that contain nutrients for plant growth
Flood tide - a tide that is rising
Floodplain - area of level land on either side of a river, prone to being flooded
Food chain - a sequence of organisms that eat one another. An example of an aquatic food chain is: algae get eaten by small fish, small fish get eaten by large fish, and large fish get eaten by wading birds.
Food web - a diagram that shows all the main organisms in an ecosystem and how they are connected on the basis of feeding relationships
Freshwater - water that contains few minerals. This type of water is in streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater, and is the water we drink.
Geology - the study of the structure of the earth and the processes that have formed it over time
Groundwater - water that lies beneath the earth's surface. Most groundwater is stored in aquifers.
Habitat - an area where an organism lives
Herbicides - chemicals that kill plants
Herbivore - an animal that eats only plant matter
Herbivorous - eating only plant matter
Omnivore - an organism that eats both plant and animal matter
Omnivorous - eating both plant and animal matter
Pesticides - chemicals that kill insects and rodents
Photosynthesis - the process by which plants use energy from the sun to make their own energy. Within their cells, plants use sunlight energy to convert water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) to sugar (C6H12O6) and oxygen (O2).
Phytoplankton - tiny plants that float and drift in the water, including many types of algae
Pollutant - a material which causes damage to the environment
Pollution - the introduction of materials, such as chemicals and waste, which cause damage to an environment
Porous - a material that is full of small air holes
Predator - an organism that eats another organism
Producer - an organism that uses sunlight energy and nutrients from the air and soil to grow and develop
Riparian zone - habitat that is directly along the shore of a stream or river
Salinity - amount of salt in water
Saturated - containing as much water as possible
Sediment - small bits of soil and gravel
Sediment load - the amount of soil and gravel suspended in the water
Surface water - water we see above ground, including streams, rivers, lakes, ponds and wetlands.
Tides - the alternating rise and fall of sea levels
Topography - land surface features such as hills, valleys, rivers, and lakes
Toxic - poisonous, if consumed in sufficient quantity
Tributaries - the streams and rivers that flow into a larger river
Upland habitat - dry land along the shores of a stream or river
Wastewater - water that has been used by people that is polluted
Water flow speed - the speed that water flows down a river
Water level - water depth
Water table - the highest layer of soil underground that is saturated with water
Watershed - an area of land drained by a river system
Zooplankton - tiny animals that float and swim weakly in the water
Appendix II. Unit conversions