Glossary for "And the Tide Comes In ..."

Adaptations - characteristics or traits of an organism that help it to survive in its environment.

Barrier Island - a long, relatively narrow, sandy land mass located parallel to the mainland that provides protection for the coast from ocean born storms such as hurricanes. Barrier islands usually have sand dunes along the ocean side and salt marshes on the mainland side.

Coast - the region where land meets the ocean. It usually includes barrier islands, salt marshes, tidal creeks, estuaries, and sounds.

Driftwood - wood that has been weathered by floating in water. Driftwood is often left behind by the receding tide.

Estuaries - water bodies in which fresh water from land mixes with salt water from the ocean

Fiddler crabs - A type of crab found in salt marshes. Three species are common: The mud fiddler crab (Uca pugnax), is found in muddy areas; the sand fiddler (Uca pugilator), is found in sandy areas; and a larger species with orange claws (Uca minax), is found in areas that are not as salty. Fiddler crabs are in the Phylum Arthropoda.

Gravity - the force that pulls objects towards each other. Gravity is affected by the mass of the objects (e.g. the Earth and the moon) and the distance between them.

Intertidal - The area of land that is covered by high tide and exposed at low tide. Salt marshes and beaches are two common intertidal environments.

Larva (plural = larvae) - an early stage in the life cycle of many organisms, which is distinct from the adult form.

Marsh grass - Grasses found in marshes. In most salt marshes, the two primary plants are smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), and black needle rush (Juncus romerianus).

Mussels - Mussels are animals in the Class Bivalvia and Phylum Mollusca. They feed on plankton, which they filter out of the water. The Atlantic Ribbed Mussel (Geukensia demissa) is found in salt marshes.

Periwinkles - Periwinkles (Littorina irrorata), are snails commonly found living on the stems of marsh grasses. They are in the Class Gastropoda and Phylum Mollusca.

Plankton - Organisms that drift with the currents of water. The larvae of many marine organisms are part of the plankton.

Predator - An animal that kills and eats other animals.

Salt marsh - A coastal habitat dominated by salt marsh grasses. Salt marshes are found in intertidal areas with low wave energy. They are often associated with estuaries.

Shrimp - Grass shrimp (Palaemonetes vulgaris), are common in the tidal creeks found associated with salt marshes. They are much smaller than the brown and white shrimp (Penaeus aztecus and Penaeus setiferus) that are harvested for food. Shrimp are in the Phylum Arthropoda.

Tidal creek - Creeks in which the water rises and falls with the tide. Tidal creeks branch off from estuaries and are found associated with salt marshes.

Tides - changes in water level at the shoreline that are caused by the pull of gravity between the Earth and its moon