Adaptation: The genetic advantage of an organism to adjust easily to a changed environment.

Alkaline: Soil that is basic or the opposite of acidic. It is soil that is prone to drought.

Alluvium: A deposit of earth, sand, and other transported matter left by glaciers and meltwater flowing over land.

Awns: A thin, rigid quill-like extension of a grass.

Axils: The angle at which a branch grows off a main stem of a plant.

Bracts: Leaves immediately under a flower or group of flowers.

Bulb: An underground, fleshy-layered organ for storing food and nutrients for successive years. Each year the bulb produces a new stem, flowers and fruit. It also has roots to take nutrients and water out of the soil. Onions and lilies have bulbs.

Carrying Capacity: The number of organisms an environment and its resources can handle.

Climax Community: The stable and self-maintaining community achieved through the course of succession.

Community: Interacting groups of plants and animals living together in a certain location.

Competition: A confrontation that occurs between species or within a species when resources are shared or become scarce.

Covered: (valleys) Process of a valley being filled as a glacier covers it over, filling it with ice, soil and gravel.

Crescentic Gouges: (boulders) Crescent shaped marks formed by glacial plucking with its "horns" pointing away from the direction of ice movement.

Cut: (valleys) Land formations created by the movement of glaciers and meltwater as they are channeled in specific ways.

Deciduous: Plants that at the end of the growing season lose their leaves so to protect vulnerable parts from freezing and water loss during a time when moisture is not readily available. The leaves change colour as the main plant draws nutrients out of the leaves. This is an energy saving tactic of the plant.

Decomposer: An organism that sustains itself on the decaying organic material of the dead; it helps in the breakdown of dead material and returns vital nutrients to the soil or water. Most decomposers are bacteria or fungus.

Disc Florets: Tube shaped florets. A flower can either be entirely made of disc florets, discoid or can be in combination with ray florets or radiate.

Disturbance: A natural necessary physical force, such as fire, flood, or wind. Disturbances create new community possibilities as room is opened up for new species to move in.

Disturbed Site: A site or area that has been modified from its stable or natural condition by a natural or man-made disturbance or change, such as a gravel pit or flood.

Diversity: The community's abundance of different species of organisms and differing genes.

Echo Lake Gravel: Name for the sand and gravel lying between tills of the Sutherland Group and Floral Formation (See figure from Stop 11).

Ecology: The study of organisms, their relationships with their surroundings, and their relationships with other organisms.

Ecosystems: A nutrient-recycling and energy-harnessing structure composed of living and non-living functions.

Edge Community: A community created by the edges of two communities overlapping.

Emergent Vegetation: Plants rooted under water but having stems, leaves, and blossoms in the air.

Empress Group Deposits: Name for layered sediments lying between bedrock and till.

Erode: The formation of landforms by the gradual wearing away of the soil.

Erratic Boulders: Boulders that have been displaced by the movement of glaciers.

Evaporation: A body of water loses surface water to the atmosphere when the water molecules change from the liquid phase into the gaseous phase

Excavation: Process of digging out the earth, usually for the purpose of building.

Fill: (valleys) Gravitational pull on valley walls causing soil and gravel to slide downwards and settle on the valley floor. Over great periods of time, if untouched, a valley will fill entirely.

Fodder: Grazing plants or forages eaten by wildlife or livestock.

Forage: Non-woody plants grazed on by wildlife or livestock.

Formic Acid: An acid used as a defence mechanism by some species of plants and ants to kill attackers when eaten. The acid is used in insecticides.

Galls: Abnormal swelling of plant tissues caused by insects, bacteria or injury.

Gene Pool: All of the genes in a population.

Glaciation: Period when the surface of the earth is covered by a glacier.

Hummocky: An area of knob and kettle depressions.

Hydrocyanic Acid: Hydrogen cyanide in water that can cause cyanide poisoning that can lead to death.

Inflorescence: The arrangement of flowers on a plant.

Interspecific Competition: Competition between members of different species.

Intraspecific Competition: Competition between members of the same species.

Introduced: Species that are not native to an area, and that have been brought in from other locations.

Island Community: A community that is isolated from other similar communities either because it is an island or due to fragmentation of the landscape; can be large or small; may have low diversity and little influx of new genes.

Kettle: A steep-sided depression in glacial terrain commonly containing a lake or swamp and believed to have formed by the melting of a large, detached block of stagnant ice buried within glacial deposits.

Larval: Second stage of insect development; between egg and nymphal stages.

Legume: Nitrogen-fixing plants, such as peas, beans, soybeans, etc. They have pink swellings on their roots (nodules) caused by bacteria that draw nitrogen out of the air, down through the plant into the roots and convert it into nitrate, a form that plants can actually use. Nitrate is very important to plant growth and soil regeneration. The term legume also refers to the fact the plants belong to the Pea Family and pods are their fruiting structures.

Meltwater: Glacial ice that has melted into water as the glacier retreats.

Moraines: Distinct accumulations of unsorted, unorganized glacial material, mainly till, deposited directly by glaciers.

Mutualism: A relationship between two species in which both can benefit.

Niches: The role in which a species occupies in a community.

Nodule: A swelling on the roots of legumes (peas, beans, soybeans) that was caused by bacteria. The nodules draw nitrogen out of the air, down through the plant into the roots and convert it into nitrate, a form that plants can actually use. Nitrate is very important to plant growth and soil regeneration.

Nymphal: Third stage of insect development.

Omnivores: Organisms, such as humans, that are primary, secondary and tertiary consumers.

Ordovician Period: The second earliest period of the Paleozoic Era, thought to have covered a span of time between 500 to 430 million years ago.

Parasitism: When two species have an association in which one benefits, while the other is hurt.

Percolate: Movement of water through a surface, one drop at a time.

Pioneer Species: The first plants to settle into a disturbed site, usually a weedy species.

Pipestone Spillway: Water channel formed approximately 15,000 years ago as Lake Indian Head drained into Lake Souris (See figure from Stop 8).

Plucking: (boulders) The process of glacial erosion by which sizeable rock fragments are loosened, detached, and borne away by the glacier.

Pods: A dry fruit that opens to release its seeds when ripe.

Porewater Pressure: The stress transmitted through the fluid that fills the voids between particles of soil or rock.

Precipitation: In the last part of the water cycle, moisture from the earth's surface accumulates in clouds above the earth and falls back to earth as snow, rain, or other forms.

Predation: Killing another organism for food or to eliminate competition.

Primary Consumer: The first consumption level of the food chain; a herbivore.

Primary Producer: A photosynthesizing plant or algae that harnesses the sun's energy and transforms water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates for the consumption of higher beings in the food chain. Oxygen is produced as a by-product.

Primary Succession: Succession that occurs in areas that have not been occupied before, such as rock surfaces, sand dunes or alluvial deposits.

Quaternary Period: Consists of the Pleistocene (glacial) and Holocene (postglacial) Eras and is thought to cover the last two or three million years of the earth's history.

Ray Florets: Irregular shaped florets with a single tie-shaped petal. A flower composed entirely of ray florets is called ligulate and if mixed with disc florets, it is called radiate.

Runners: A thin, horizontally running stem that may take root in the ground periodically

Scarp: A steeply sloping surface on the undisturbed ground around the edge of a landslide.

Secondary Consumer: The second consumption level of the food chain, that which eats only the primary consumer; a carnivore that only eats herbivores.

Secondary Succession: Succession that occurs where other organisms are already present. Secondary succession is the result of vegetation disturbance by humans, animals or nature.

Sedge: Grass-like plants that have unremarkable flowers surrounded by slender bracts.

Seral Stage: Stages of succession that come after one another.

Sere: The successional series that will end in the climax community.

Shearing Resistance: Resistance created when sliding soil contacts and grates against a static surface.

Shearing Surface: Surface upon which a landslide shifts and moves.

Sheath: An organ on a grass plant that surrounds and protects the stem.

Silt: A rock fragment smaller than a very fine sand grain and larger than coarse clay having a diameter ranging from 0.002 to 0.05 mm.

Slump Ridge: Accumulation of soil in a hump formation as gravity pulls it down from the scarp. If the weight of the slump ridge is too much for the slope of the hill to bear, a landslide will occur.

Spikelets: A small group of grass flowers.

Spikes: An elongated arrangement of stemless flowers.

Springhead: A place where groundwater emerges naturally from the ground onto the land surface or into a body of surface water.

Striated: (boulders) A superficial scratch inscribed on the rock surface by a rock fragment imbedded in the base of a glacier.

Succession: The replacement of one community by another, often progressing toward a stable, terminal community called the climax community. The climax community will exist until a disturbance oocurs, in which the succession cycle will repeat itself. Anytime along the process towards a climax community, a disturbance can occur that will start succession over again.

Succulents: Plants that store water in fleshy stems or leaves.

Taproot: The main root of a plant that may have many smaller roots extending off of it.

Tendril: A thin extension found in many climbing plants which wraps itself around solid objects. The plant cells touching the object dry up and cause the tendril to curl.

Terrace: Bench-like surfaces that break the continuity of the valley slope. Such terraces are remnants of former valley bottoms.

Tertiary Consumer: The third consumption level of the food chain, that which only eats the secondary consumer, or a carnivore that only eats carnivores.

Till: Unsorted and unorganized material deposited directly by a glacier and consisting of a mixture of clay, silt, sand, gravel, and boulders.

Topography: Natural or physical surface features of a region commonly shown on a map by contour lines.

Transpiration: Loss of water to the atmosphere from living plants.

Tributaries: A stream contributing its flow to a larger stream or lake. In the case of Stop 6, the tributaries feeding into Katepwa Lake developed from groundwater.

Undulating: Land surface that rises and descends, appearing to the eye as waves.

Volatile Oils: Oils with unpredictable properties, for example the liquid oil can vaporize, or turn into a mist, rapidly.

Page last updated on 2004-10-08
© Copyright University of Regina 2004
We welcome your .