Glossary of Scientific Terms

algae—mainly aquatic organisms that differ from plants because of a lack of true stems, roots, and leaves
alpha—the leader or most important member of a wolf pack
amphibians—smooth-skinned, cold-blooded vertebrate animals that spend some time on land, but must breed and develop into an adult in water. Examples are toads, frogs, and salamanders.
aquatic—having to do with water
arthritis—inflammation of the joints
bon appetit—French words meaning "good eating" or "Fall to!"
burrow—a hole dug by a small animal for living and refuge
cache—to hide in a safe place
canid—a member of the dog family. In North America, this includes wolves, coyotes, foxes, and domestic breeds.
carcass—the dead body of an animal
carnivorous—eating meat
carrion—the rotting flesh of a dead animal
c’est moi—French words meaning "it’s me"
culinary—relating to food or cooking
ecosystem—all living and non-living things operating together within an area
environment—the natural world within which animals and plants live
fasting—abstaining from eating
forage—to search for food
gills—the organ that fish and some other aquatic animals use to breathe
Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem—one of Earth’s largest intact temperate zone ecological communities. It encompasses Yellowstone National Park and the area surrounding the park in the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
habitat—the environment in which life forms live and grow
haunches—the upper back legs of an animal
herbivores—animals that eat only vegetation
hibernation—a time during which an animal is in a sleeplike dormant state, living off reserves of body fat, with slower metabolism and decreased body temperature and pulse rate
hydrothermal—having to do with extremely hot water
mammals—warm-blooded vertebrate animals that are capable of producing milk to feed their young. Examples are dogs, cats, and humans.
microorganisms—tiny life forms such as bacteria, usually not visible to the naked eye
midden—a refuse pile
moi—French word meaning "me"
mudpot—an acidic hot spring with limited water supply
omnivorous—eating both meat and vegetation
opportunistic omnivores—animals that take the opportunity to eat whatever is available
predator—an animal that hunts, kills, and eats other animals in order to survive
prey—an animal that is hunted or killed by another animal for food
reptiles—vertebrate animals that are cold-blooded and air-breathing. These animals have an outer covering of scales or plates, and usually (though not always) lay eggs. Examples are snakes and lizards.
scavenger—animal that feeds on dead or decaying food
sedge—a plant that looks like grass, but has a solid, triangular stem, leaves growing in three vertical rows, and inconspicuous flowers
species—individuals that are grouped together by having common characteristics and that are capable of interbreeding
spawning—the reproductive cycle for fish
sulfur—a pale yellow, nonmetallic element
talus—a slope composed of rock rubble
tranquilize—to make calm or quiet, usually with medication
tributary—a river or stream that joins a larger river or stream
tubers—a swollen, underground stem that has buds from which new plant shoots can grow. An example of a tuber is a potato.
ungulates—a mammal having hooves
voila—French words meaning, "Here it is!"