Windows into Wonderland

Hot Colors - Windows into Hidden Worlds eTrip Glossary


acidic-tending to form an acid, having a pH of less than 7

algae-photosynthetic microrganisms which are mainly aquatic and differ from plants because of a lack of true stems, roots, and leaves

alkaline-tending to form a base, having a pH of more than 7

archaea-unicellular microorganisms that are members of Domain Archaea, one of the three trunks of the Tree of Life

arsenic-a highly poisonous metallic element

asteroid-a rock that orbits the sun


bacteria-unicellular microorganisms that are members of Domain Bacteria, one of the three trunks of the Tree of Life

¡Buena suerte, amigos!-Spanish sentence meaning, "Good luck, friends!"


caldera-large volcanic crater

chemosynthesis-type of metabolism carried out by only a few kinds of bacteria and archaea in which chemical forms of energy (such as hydrogen gas, hydrogen sulfide and iron) are used to make cell material

chlorophyll-green pigment found in organisms capable of photosynthesis

chloroplast-tiny organ-like parts of photosynthetic eukaryotic cells where chlorophyll is contained.

cyanobacteria-blue-green colored bacteria that are capable of photosynthesis


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

domain-a category larger than a kingdom. Three domains make up the Tree of Life: Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya. Each contains many kingdoms.


ephydrid fly-small, nonbiting insects often found at lower temperatures on microbial mats in the hot springs
eukaryote, eukaryotic-an organism, or pertaining to an organism, whose cells have a true nucleus

extremophile-lover of an environment that is extreme to humans


filaments-threads of microscopic cells stacked end to end

fumarole-thermal feature that releases gas only

fungi-organisms of Domain Eukarya that lack chlorophyll and obtain energy by breaking down dead organic material. They range in form from a single cell to complex structures such as mushrooms. Like animals, they break down dead organic matter, but like plants, they absorb nutrients (often from soil). Unlike animals, they do not move or ingest their food; unlike plants, they do not use light.


¡Hasta luego, amigos!-Spanish sentence meaning, "Until later, friends."

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


larvae-newly hatched insects that are still without wings


microbial mat-different types of microorganisms gathered together in a carpet-like mass

microbes-tiny life forms such as bacteria, archaea, algae, fungi and protozoa, usually not visible to the naked eye

microbiology-the study of microscopic organisms

microenvironments-microscopic habitats


nucleus-the part of a living cell that contains the cell's hereditary information and that controls the cell's metabolism, reproduction, and growth. nuclear region-an area within a prokaryotic cell that contains hereditary information and controls its metabolism, reproduction, and growth


¡Óigan, amigos!-Spanish sentence meaning, "Listen, friends!"

¡Óigan, hermanos!-Spanish sentence meaning, "Listen, brothers!"


pH-the level of acidity in water, ranging from 0-14

photosynthesis-the process in which plants or plant-like microorganisms use sunlight to change carbon dioxide into cellular material and split water (or hydrogen sulfide into byproducts such as oxygen (or sulfur).

prokaryote, prokaryotic-an organism, or pertaining to an organism, whose cells do not have a true nucleus. Bacteria and archaea are both prokaryotic.


Sulfolobus acidocaldarius-a lobe-shaped, heat-loving archaeum that eats hydrogen sulfide and lives in the sulfuric acid it produces

Spirulina-a spiral-shaped cyanobacterium


thermal-having to do with extremely hot water

travertine-a form of calcium carbonate

Tree of Life-the genetic classification of all life on Earth. The Tree of Life is based on differences in DNA and divides all living things into three separate domains: Eukarya, Bacteria, and Archaea.


virus(es)-microscopic parasites incapable of performing the basic functions of life

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