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Intertidal: The region between the high tide mark and the low tide mark. The intertidal zone is also known as the foreshore or seashore and sometimes referred to as the littoral zone.
Sediment-dwelling animals: Sediment-dwelling animals are animals that live in or on the seabed. More specifically for this monitoring programme, we monitor macrobenthic invertebrates. These are animals with no backbone (invertebrates) living in or on the seabed (benthic) that will not pass through a 0.5 mm mesh (macro). Examples are worms or shellfish.
Estuaries: An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more river or stream flowing into it that has a free connection to the open sea.
Habitat: A habitat (which is Latin for "it inhabits") is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant, or other type of organism. It is the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the physical environment that surrounds (influences and is utilised by) a species.
Invertebrate: An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. This group includes 97% of all animal species.
Catchment: A catchment (or drainage basin) is the extent of land where water from rain and melting snow or ice drains into a body of water. The catchment of an estuary is the extent of land where water drains into all rivers and streams that flow into the estuary.
Ecosystem: An ecosystem is a biological system consisting of all the living organisms in a particular area as well as the nonliving components with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil and water.
Environmental indicator: Environmental indicators summarise complex information about our environment into key measures – which may be physical, chemical, biological or socio-economic – so that we can understand what’s happening in our environment. Where indicators are compiled regularly it is possible detect changes in the environment over time.
Ecosystem goods and services: Ecosystem goods and services are the benefits arising from the ecological functions of healthy ecosystems. Such benefits affect all living organisms, including animals and plants, rather than only humans. However, there is a growing recognition of the importance to society that ecosystem goods and services provide for health, social, cultural, and economic needs.
Terrigenous sediment: Terrigenous sediments are derived from the terrestrial environment, typically from the erosion of rocks on land. They consist of sand, mud, and silt carried to sea by rivers. Their composition is usually related to their source rocks. Sources of terrigenous sediments include volcanoes, weathering of rocks, wind-blown dust, grinding by glaciers and sediment carried by icebergs.
Natural infrastructure: Natural infrastructure is defined as natural features, habitats and ecosystems that provide beneficial goods and services. Services include hazard reduction, water purification, slope stability and amenities. Goods include provision of food or materials.