Glossary of Scientific Terms

algae — photosynthetic microorganisms which are mainly aquatic and differ from plants because of a lack of true stems, roots, and leaves; algal (adj.)

archaeological — having to do with the science of studying prehistoric remains

bison — a hoofed mammal with a dark-brown coat, shaggy mane, shoulder hump, and short curved horns, commonly known in North America as a buffalo

carbon dioxide — a colorless, odorless gas, formed during respiration, combustion, and organic decomposition

carcass — the dead body of an animal

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) — the complex chemical that establishes genetic traits

enzyme — a protein substance that is produced by living cells and that affects the metabolism of the organism

extinction — the complete loss of a species

extremophile(s ) — a lover of an environment that is extreme to humans

fluoride — a compound of a pale-yellow gaseous element

forage — (v.) to search for food; (n.) food

habitat — the environment in which life forms live and grow

geothermal — having to do with heat from the Earth

hydrogen sulfide — a poisonous gas composed of hydrogen and sulfur and having a rotten egg smell

hydrothermal — having to do with hot water

interaction — contact between two or more species

larvae — newly hatched insects that are still without wings

microorganisms — tiny life forms such as bacteria, usually not visible to the naked eye

migrate — to change location from one region to another, usually seasonally; migration (n.)

overgraze — to graze excessively

polymerase chain reaction (PCR) — an artificial way to duplicate DNA

predator — an animal that survives by killing and eating other animals

rhyolite — a volcanic rock similar in composition to granite; rhyolitic (adj.)

scavenger — an animal that feeds on dead or decaying food scraps; scavenging (adj.)

sedge — a plant that looks like grass, but has a solid, triangular stem, leaves growing in three vertical rows, and inconspicuous flowers

silica — the crystalline compound of silicon and oxygen

sulfur — a pale yellow, nonmetallic element; sulfuric (adj.)

thermal — having to do with heat

toxic — poisonous

tranquilize— to make calm or tranquil, usually with medication

ungulates — mammals with hooves such as elk, deer, bison, and bighorn sheep

vandalism — deliberate damage