Chapter 16 - Marine and Coastal Systems and Resources Flashcards Preview

AP Environmental Science Vocabulary > Chapter 16 - Marine and Coastal Systems and Resources > Flashcards

Flashcards in Chapter 16 - Marine and Coastal Systems and Resources Deck (21):

continental shelf

the gently sloping underwater edge of a continent, varying in width from 100 m (330 ft) to 1300 km (800 mi), with an average slope of 1.9 m/km (10 ft/mi)



the flow of a liquid or gas in a certain direction



in the ocean, the flow of cold, deep water toward the surface. Upwelling occurs in areas where surface currents diverge.


thermohaline circulation

a worldwide system of ocean currents in which warmer, fresher water moves along the surface and colder, saltier water (which is denser) moves deep beneath the surface


el Nino-southern oscillation (ENSO)

a systematic shift in atmospheric temperature, and ocean circulation in the tropical pacific ocean. ENSO cycles give rise to el nino and la nina conditions


el Nino

the exceptionally strong warming of the eastern pacific ocean that occurs every 2 to 7 years and depresses local fish and bird populations by altering the marine food web in the area. Originally, the name that Spanish speaking fishermen gave to an unusually warm surface current that sometimes arrived near the pacific coast of south America around Christmas time



in the ocean, the flow of warm surface water toward the ocean floor. Downwelling occurs where surface currents converge


ocean acidification

the process by which today's oceans are becoming more acidic (attaining a lower pH) as a result of increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. Ocean acidification occurs as ocean water absorbs CO2 from the air and forms carbonic acid. this impairs the ability of corals and other organisms to build exoskeletons of calcium carbonate, imperiling coral reefs and the many organisms that depend on them


la Nina

the exceptionally strong cooling of the surface water in the equatorial pacific ocean that occurs every 2 to 7 years and has widespread climatic consequences.


photic zone

in the ocean or a freshwater body, the well-lit top layer of water where photosynthesis occurs



a tree with a unique type of roots that curve upwards to attain oxygen, which is lacking in the mud in which they grow, and that serves as stilts to support the tree in changing water levels. mangroves grow in tropics, costliness, and subtropics



an area where a river flows into the ocean, mixing fresh water with salt water


coral reef

a mass of calcium carbonate composed of the skeletons of tiny coral marine organisms called corals


salt marsh

flat land that is intermittently flooded by the ocean where the tide reaches inland. salt marshes occur along temperate costliness and are thickly vegetated with grasses, rushes, shrubs and other herbaceous plants



the periodic rise and fall of the ocean's height at a given location, caused by the gravitational pull by the sun and the moon



of for relating to living along shore lines between the highest reach of the highest tide and the lowest reach of the lowest tide


great pacific garbage patch

a portion of the north pacific gyre where currents concentrate plastics and other floating debris that pose danger to marine organisms


harmful algal blooms

a population explosion of toxic algae caused by excessive nutrient concentrations


red tide

a harmful algal blooms consisting of algae that produces reddish pigments that discolor surface water


marine protected area (MPA)

an area of the ocean set aside to protect marine life from fishing pressures. an MPA may be protected from some human activities but be open to others


marine reserve

an area of ocean designated as a no fishing zone, allowing no extractive activities