Adjustment in natural or human systems in response to current natural hazards, and actual or expected climate change impacts.
anchialine pool (English)
A small pool of surface water surrounded by porous rock and fed underground by both freshwater and ocean water.
Of or relating to water, such as an aquatic plant or animal.
underground reservoirs of water
A coral reef that circles the mouth of a sunken volcano or lagoon.
This is a general term for starfish.
bare substrate (English)
Seafloor containing no corals, algae, or invertebrates. To the eye, it looks bare; however, microscopic microbes and bacteria may be living there.
barrier island (English)
Islands made of sand or sediment that lay parallel to a mainland coastline with a bay or lagoon in between. Their existence protects the mainland from the damaging effects of storms. They are shaped and moved by the action of wind and waves.
barrier reef (English)
A coral reef formation separated from land from a lagoon or other body of water.
The variety of living organisms in an ecosystem. This term can refer to different ecosystems, species, genes, and their relative abundance.
The total mass of all living material in a specific area, habitat, or region.
A process by which corals become white; an unhealthy coral that has lost its zooxathanellae due to the stress caused by increased water temperatures.
A new opening cut through a barrier island during a storm that allows seawater to flow between the ocean and the bay, essentially cutting the island into two islands. A breach may be permanent or may fill in naturally over time.
calcium carbonate skeleton (English)
Some coral polyps secret calcium carbonate which builds a skeleton for the animals and is the foundation of coral reefs.
The ability of an otherwise visible organism to remain unnoticed by blending with its environment.
Organisms that primarily eat meat.
Climate is the average weather in a place over many years. While the weather can change in just a few hours, climate can take hundreds, thousands, even millions of years to change.
climate change (English)
Changes in air and water temperatures, and changes in long-term weather patterns due to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, whether due to natural processes or as a result of human activities.
coral cover (English)
The area on a reef covered by live coral. It is one of the most common measures of reef health.
coral recruitment (English)
The number of juveniles that settle on a reef.
coralline algae (English)
A plant that holds the reef together and prevent parts of the reef from washing ashore during storms. It also encourages the settlement of coral.
A pile of windblown sand that forms along the upper beach of a barrier island.
Something capable of action and/or change. Because barrier islands change shape and position due to the forces of wind and water, they are dynamic landforms.
An organism that exists in one particular region of the world
The process of wearing away beach or marsh land by the action of waves or tides.
fai fagogo (Samoan)
fish recruitment (English)
The number of juvenile fish living on a coral reef
freshwater pond (English)
Small inland depressions where freshwater collects and provides a water source for plants and animals. They may be temporary or permanent, and they are replenished by rain and/or groundwater.
fringing coral reef (English)
Coral reefs that form along shore or separated from the shore by a shallow lagoon.
The scientific study of landforms and the processes that shape them.
Gravity is a force that exists between all objects. It makes all objects fall to the Earth.
greenhouse gases (English)
Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. The principal greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere because of human activities are: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone-depleting gases.
Water beneath the ground that occupies the spaces between rocks.
The place or environment where an organism naturally lives.
haʻi moʻolelo (Hawaiian)
Organisms that primarily eat plants.
hīnālea lauwili (Hawaiian)
jacks or trevally
industrial revolution (English)
In the early 1800s, technological advancements in agriculture, transportation, and manufacturing led to the use of more fossil fuels.
The development of land into houses, offices, shopping malls, hotels, schools, hospitals, roads, power plants, parking lots, etc., that humans construct for their use and enjoyment.
A narrow channel of water flowing between the ocean and the bay, or between islands. Inlets are often cut through land by storm surge.
Water covering or flooding land that is normally dry.
invasive species (English)
non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the lead organization of thousands of scientists from all over the world. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization to review the most recent scientific, technical, and socio-economic information produced worldwide about climate change.
Person in charge of regulating natural resources like fishing.
live stony coral (English)
Coral that have calcium carbonate skeletons, which build coral reefs.
longshore transport (English)
The offshore movement of sand or sediment by a parallel ocean current. While a natural process, it can be interrupted or altered by human structures such as sea walls or a jetty.
Large fleshy algae which shelters some reef fish and provides food for others.
This term can be used to describe either 1) the movement of land such as occurs on some barrier islands as they rollover westward, or 2) the movement of species such as animals that travel from one location to another, seeking food or nesting habitat.
Species that travel from one location to another seeking food, breeding and nesting habitat, or better weather conditions.
The collection, measurement, and analysis of environmental information at regular intervals over time in order to track trends and change.
The flower of the perfume or ilangilang tree.
natural resources (English)
The land, water, plants, and animals that make up a natural environment.
Nekton are the 'swimmers', or the animals in the ocean that can move independently of ocean currents, by swimming or using another form of movement. A few examples of nekton are fish, crabs, clams, and snails.
The minerals that every living organism needs to survive. Nutrients can become a problem if there are too much of them.
ocean acidification (English)
The process in which the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; more carbon dioxide lowers the pH of the ocean, making it more acidic. Ocean acidification makes it harder for organisms with calcium carbonate skeletons or shells to grow.
Removing fish from a reef faster than the population can grow.
The flow of water and sand over the island during storms that erodes dunes and clears vegetation in its path. Overwash areas behind the dunes may remain until the next storm.
Reproductive section of a polychaete worm.
percent cover (English)
The area on a reef occupied by something such as stony corals or algae.
The process of changing carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight into energy and oxygen; used by plants, algae, and zooxanthellae.
an animal with a diet that consists mainly of plankton
Full of tiny pores or holes that allow water to pass through.
primary producers (English)
Organisms that make their own food from a primary energy source and are food for primary consumers.
relative sea level (English)
The combination of global sea level and the elevation of the land at a particular location.
The ability of an ecological system, habitat, or species to adapt to stress and change.
The natural movement or migration of a barrier island towards the mainland over time. It is caused by the front side of the barrier island being constantly eroded by waves and the backside of the island growing by the buildup of overwash.
A measure of the roughness or topography of an area such as the seafloor.
A measurement of the amount of salt in the ocean or other saltwater bodies of water.
salt marsh (English)
A low-lying habitat partially submerged by tides each day and that supports salt-tolerant wetland plants and animals.
saltwater intrusion (English)
The underground movement of saltwater into fresh groundwater.
A tool to project what might happen in the future. For example, a climate change scenario would indicate how temperature, precipitation, sea-level rise, and other climatic variables might change through the course of time.
sea-level rise (English)
A change in the volume of the world's oceans due to expansion as the oceans warm and to the melting of land-based ice (i.e., glaciers, ice sheets).
volcanic undersea mountain
Run-off such as mud from bare land (often cleared by fire or development) which washes onto coral reefs reducing water clarity and smothering corals.
soft coral (English)
Corals that do not produce calcium carbonate skeletons.
storm surge (English)
Water that is pushed toward and onto the shore by the force of storm waves and winds. Storm surge can cause temporary flooding as well as cut inlets through the land that may remain or fill in naturally over time.
storm tide (English)
A storm tide is the combination of storm surge and the normal astronomical tide. If storm arrives at the same time as a high tide, the height of the storm surge and likelihood of flooding will be even greater.
An environmental condition or an event that puts demand on a habitat or species.
Subsidence is the gradual settling or sinking of land. It happens naturally, but can be increased by man-made activities.
symbiotic relationship (English)
The close ecological relationship between the individuals of two (or more) different species. Sometimes a symbiotic relationship benefits both species, sometimes one species benefits at the expense of the other, and in some cases neither species benefits.
taotao Estorian (Chamorro)
thermal expansion (English)
The process of when water is heated, energy is added. The water molecules begin to bounce off each other and move apart, taking up more space.
tidal inlet (English)
Tidal inlets flow back and forth with the rise and fall of the daily tides between the ocean and a bay.
The tide is the regular rise and fall of the ocean surface due to the gravitational force of the Sun and the Moon on our Earth. High and low tides occur twice a day. Storms, as well as the position of the Sun and Moon, can affect the height of the tide.
The surface landscape features of an area.
trophic level (English)
A position in a food chain or Ecological Pyramid occupied by a group of organisms sharing the same function in the food chain and the same nutritional relationship to the primary sources of energy.
turf algae (English)
Small filament-like algae which provides food for herbivores.
jacks or trevally
The expansion of urban areas (cities) and the increase of development associated with that expansion.
The degree to which people, property, habitats, or species may be damaged by or unable to cope with the negative effects of events such as climate change and sea-level rise.
water table (English)
The upper surface of groundwater that may rise or fall due to saltwater intrusion.
Weather is the daily temperature, cloudiness, humidity, and storm conditions.
An area of low-lying land that is saturated with water part, if not all, of the year.
Microscopic plant-like cells that use photosynthesis to produce energy. They have a symbiotic relationship with corals.