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Site Definitions

II. Fishery

III. Height

I. Coral Reef

  1. “A reef composed mainly of coral and other organic matter of which parts have solidified into limestone.”, “Coral Reef,” (accessed April 13, 2022)
  2. “A wave-resistant structure resulting from cementation processes and the skeletal construction of hermatypic corals, calcareous algae, and other calcium carbonate-secreting organisms.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Coral Reef Information System,”, April 11, 2022
  3. “Coral reef, ridge or hummock formed in shallow ocean areas by algae and the calcareous skeletons of certain coelenterates, of which coral polyps are the most important. A coral reef may grow into a permanent coral island. Often called the “rainforests of the sea,” coral reefs are home to a spectacular variety of organisms.” Britannica, “Coral Reef,” (accessed April 13, 2022)

II. Fishery

  1. “A place where fish are bred; fish hatchery.” (accessed April 13, 2022)
  2. “Refers to the activities involved in catching a species of fish or shellfish, or a group of species that share the same habitat. Different types of fisheries include:
    • Commercial fisheries refer to the whole process of catching and marketing fish and shellfish for sale. Commercial fisheries include fishery resources, fishermen, and related businesses. Commercial fisheries can include artisanal fisheries, which are based on traditional or small-scale gear and boats. They can also include industrial fisheries for species not directly used for human food (e.g., Atlantic menhaden used for omega-3 supplements, pet food, and other products).
    • In a subsistence fishery, the catch is shared and consumed directly by the families and kin of the fishermen, rather than being sold at the next larger market.
    • Last but not least are recreational fisheries in which fishermen catch fish for personal use, pleasure, or competition.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “FishWatch,” (accessed July 27, 2015)
  3. Harvesting of fish, shellfish, and sea mammals as a commercial enterprise, or the location or season of commercial fishing. Fisheries range from small family operations relying on traditional fishing methods to large corporations using large fleets and the most advanced technology. Britannica, “Fishery,” (accessed April 13, 2022)

III. Height

  1. “Ocean surface topography is the height of the ocean surface relative to a level of no motion defined by the geoid, a surface of constant geopotential, and provides information on tides, circulation, and the distribution of heat and mass in the Earth’s global ocean.” NASA, “Ocean Surface Topography,” (accessed April 13, 2022)
  2. “Sea level is defined as the height of the sea surface above an equipotential surface, called the geoid. The geoid is where the sea surface would come to rest in the absence of tides, water density variations, currents, and atmospheric effects. If the oceans did not move and there were no tides or wind, the sea surface and geoid would be the same surface.”, “Sea Level,”, June 27, 2018

IV. Ocean

  1. “While there is only one global ocean, the vast body of water that covers 71 percent of the Earth is geographically divided into distinct named regions. … Historically, there are four named oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic. However, most countries – including the United States – now recognize the Southern (Antarctic) as the fifth ocean. The Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian are known as the three major oceans.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “How Many Oceans Are There?,” (accessed April 13, 2022)

V. Ocean Current

  1. “A horizontal flow of water through the ocean. Warm and cold surface currents redistribute the Sun’s heat more evenly around the Earth.”, “Ocean Current,” (accessed April 13, 2022)
  2. “Driven by wind, water density differences, and tides. Oceanic currents describe the movement of water from one location to another. Currents are generally measured in meters per second or in knots (1 knot = 1.85 kilometers per hour or 1.15 miles per hour). Oceanic currents are driven by three main factors:
    • The rise and fall of the tides. Tides create a current in the oceans, which are strongest near the shore, and in bays and estuaries along the coast. These are called ‘tidal currents.’ Tidal currents change in a very regular pattern and can be predicted for future dates. In some locations, strong tidal currents can travel at seppeds of eight knots or more.
    • Wind. Winds drive currents that are at or near the ocean’s surface. Near coastal areas winds tend to drive currents on a localized scale and can result in phenomena like coastal upwelling. On a more global scale, in the open ocean, winds drive currents that circulate water for thousands of miles throughout the ocean basins.
    • Thermohaline circulation. This is a process driven by density differences in water due to temperature (thermo) and salinity (haline) variations in different parts of the ocean. Currents driven by thermohaline circulation occur at both deep and shallow ocean levels and move much slower than tidal or surface currents.
    • Currents affect the Earth’s climate by driving warm water from the Equator and cold water from the poles around the Earth. The warm Gulf Stream, for instance, brings milder winter weather to Bergen, Norway, than to New York, much further south.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “What Is a Current?,”, February 26, 2021
  3. “Stream made up of horizontal and vertical components of the circulation system of ocean waters that is produced by gravity, wind friction, and water density variation in different parts of the ocean. Ocean currents are similar to winds in the atmosphere in that they transfer significant amounts of heat from Earth’s equatorial areas to the poles and thus play important roles in determining the climates of coastal regions. In addition, ocean currents and atmospheric circulation influence one another. Britannica, “Ocean Current,” (accessed April 13, 2022)

VI. Pollution

  1. “Pollution refers to the contamination of water, land, or the air by substances that can adversly impact the environment and human health. Usually, these substances are waste materials. The word pollution is derived from the Latin term polluere, which means to soil or defile. Examples of modern-day pollution include oil spills, smog, and even noise.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Nonpoint Source Pollution,” (accessed April 13, 2022)

VII. Salinity

  1. “The amount of dissolved salts that are present in water. Sodium and chloride are the predominant ions in seawater, and the concentrations of magnesium, calcium, and sulfate ions are also substantial.” Britannica, “Salinity,” (accessed April 13, 2022)

VIII. Sea Surface Temperature

  1. “Sea Surface Temperature (sst) is a measure of the energy due to the motion of molecules at the top layer of the ocean.” NASA, “Ocean Temperature,” (accessed April 13, 2022)