ALGAE: (pronounced "AL-jee") A group of plants (singular: ALGA, pronounced "AL-ga"), one-celled or many-celled, having chlorophyll, without roots, and living in damp places or in water.
BRACKISH WATER: Mixed fresh and salt water. Many species of plants and animals of marine and fresh-water habitats are adapted to life in estuaries and coastal swamps and marshes, where the water varies greatly in degree of salinity. Some animal species can be found in all three habitats.
BROMELIAD: A plant of the pineapple family. Many bromeliads are air plants, growing (not parasitically) on the trunks and branches of other plants, or even, as in the case of "Spanish moss, on telephone wires.
COMMUNITY: The living part of the ecosystem; an assemblage of plants and animals living in a particular area or physical habitat. It can be as small as a decaying log, with its variety of mosses, insect larvae, burrowing beetles, ants, etc.; or as large as a forest of hundreds of square miles.
DECIDUOUS TREES: Trees that shed their leaves annually. Most hardwood trees are deciduous; some conifers, such as larches and baldcypresses, are deciduous.
ECOLOGY: The study of the relationship of living things to one another and to their physical environment.
ECOSYSTEM: A community and its habitatfor example, all the plants and animals of the sawgrass marsh, with the limestone base, soil, water, and other physical components, in an interacting relationship.
ENVIRONMENT: All the external conditions, such as soil, water, air, and organisms, surrounding a living thing.
ESTIVATION: A prolonged dormant or sleeplike state that enables an animal to survive the summer in a hot climate. As in hibernation, breathing and heartbeat slow down, and the animal neither eats nor drinks.
ESTUARY: The portion of a river or coastal wetland affected by the rise and fall of the tide, containing a graded mixture of fresh and salt water.
EVERGLADE: A tract of marshy land covered in places with tall grasses. (In this book, "the everglades" refers to the river of grass; "Everglades" refers to the park, which contains other habitats besides everglades.)
FOOD CHAIN: A series of plants and animals linked by their food relationships, beginning with a green plant and ending with a predator.
HABITAT: The place where an organism lives; the immediate surroundings, living and unliving, of an organism. The habitat of the pine warbler is the pinelands; the habitat of an internal parasite of this bird is the body of the warbler.
HAMMOCK: A dense growth of broad-leaved trees on a slightly elevated area, not wet enough to be a swamp. In the park, hammocks are surrounded either by pineland or by marshland (glades).
HARDWOOD TREES: Trees with broad leaves (as opposed to conebearing trees, which have needles or scales). Most hardwood trees are deciduous, though many in south Florida retain their leaves throughout the year.
KEY: A reef or low-lying island. In south Florida, the term "key" is often also applied to hammocks or pinelands. which occupy areas where the limestone is raised above the surrounding wetlands.
LIMESTONE: A sedimentary rock derived from the shells and skeletons of animals deposited in seas, and consisting mostly of calcium carbonate. Soluble in water having a slight degree of acidity, it is often characterized by caverns and, in the everglades, by a very pitted surface. The rock underlying most of the park is the Miami Oolite (pronounced OH-uh-lite), formed during a recent glacial period. Oolitic limestone is composed of tiny round concretions, only indirectly derived from marine shells.
MANGROVE: Any of a group of tropical or subtropical trees, growing in estuaries and other low-lying coastal areas, usually producing aerial roots or prop roots and often forming dense growths over a large area. In south Florida there are four species, belonging to three different families.
MARSH: A wetland, salt or fresh, where few if any trees and shrubs grow, characterized by grasses and sedges; in fresh-water marshes, cattails are common.
MARL: In this book, used in the sense of a deposit of mixed limestone and smaller amounts of clay; south Florida marls are sometimes called lime muds.
PEAT: Partly decayed, moisture-absorbing plant matter accumulated in bogs, swamps, etc.
PREDATOR: An animal that lives by capturing other animals for food.
SLOUGH: A channel of slow-moving water in coastal marshland. The Shark River Slough and Taylor Slough are the main channels where the glades water flows in the park. Generally remaining as reservoirs of water when the glades dry in the rainless season, they are important to survival of aquatic animals.
SWAMP: Wetland characterized by shrubs or trees such as maples, gums, baldcypresses, and, in south Florida coast areas, mangroves. Fresh water swamps are usually not covered by water the year around.
TREE ISLAND: An island of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants growing on an elevation, in a depression, or at the same level as the surrounding glades. Includes hammocks, willow heads, cypress heads, and bayheads.