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Glossary

C

cane toads: Bufo marinus, also known as the great marine toad, that extends from the southern United States to tropical South America. These toads were deliberately introduced to Australia in 1935 to control scarab beetles that were pests of sugar cane and have subsequently become pests unto themselves.

canopy spectrum: the range of visible and non-visible wavelengths reflected from flora residing in the upper reaches of forests and jungles.

carbon dioxide: a greenhouse gas whose atmospheric concentrations have been increasing from pre-industrial (1750-1800) levels of 280 parts per million (ppm) to present day levels of 356-360 ppm, depending on location. CO2 decreases in summertime when plant productivity consumes CO2 and increases in winter when biota are less active and respiration exceeds photosynthesis. A main source of CO2 increase in the atmosphere has been the burning of fossil fuels.

carbon footprint: a concept for visualizing and measuring human impact on the environment in terms of the production of the heat-trapping gas, carbon dioxide.

carbon fuels: fuels that when burned create carbon dioxide.

carcinogen: a substance or agent that is known to cause cancer.

carnivore: an animal that eats meat in the form of other animals.

carnivorous: meat-eating

carrying capacity: the maximum number of organisms that can use a given area of habitat without degrading the habitat and without causing social stresses that result in the population being reduced.

cartographer: a person who draws or makes maps or charts.

cenotes: pools of freshwater formed from limestone sinkholes linked by a vast underground river system found in the Yucatán Peninsula

Census of Marine Life: a one billion dollar, ten-year oceanography project started in 2000 and involving more than 70 nations and hundreds of marine scientists. It aims to understand what lived, what lives and what will live in the oceans.

chain reaction: a reaction in which one of the agents necessary to the reaction is itself produced by the reaction, thus causing like reactions.

charlatan: a flamboyant deceiver; one who attracts customers with tricks or jokes.

chemical cocktails: mixings of chemicals with unknown consequences.

chemical dosages: the amount of certain chemicals.

chemical warfare: warfare using chemical agents to kill or injure or incapacitate the enemy.

Ciona: genus of a sea squirt also known as a tunicate, native to the Atlantic Ocean.

climate change: a regional change in temperature and weather patterns. Current science indicates a link between climate change over the last century and human activity, specifically the burning of fossil fuels.

colonies: communities of organisms which have taken up residence in a habitat.

concentration (of a solution): the amount of a specified substance in a unit amount of another substance.

conifers: cone-bearing trees that are mostly evergreens and belong to the order Gymnospermae, where the seeds are present in cones or catkins.

conservation: the protection, restoration or sustainability of natural resources.

conspiracy theorist: someone who postulates on the existence of secret agreements between two or more people or government to perform unlawful acts.

consumer: an individual who purchases and uses goods or services.

contaminant: a substance that spoils the purity of something else or makes it poisonous.

coral necropolis: a place consisting of dead coral skeletons.

coral reefs: large structures found in tropical seas built from the calcium carbonate skeletons of tiny, colonial stony corals

cornucopia: a symbol of plentitude, strong harvests and abundance.

cosmetics: products used for the purposes of cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or alternating one's appearance.

cost-benefit analysis: a type of economic evaluation in which both the disadvantages (costs) and advantages (benefits) of an investment, purchase or process are weighed.

Crown-of-Thorns starfish: Acanthaster planci, a tropical starfish infamous for its appetite for coral.


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