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Ocean Conservation: unit vocabulary

This is a list of some noteworthy vocabulary you'll find in this unit! Some are related to the unit topic, and others are generally useful academic words.
You'll know some of the words already, and some may be new. Take some time to familiarize yourself with them all before you get started on the passages and exercises in the unit.
Word: barrier
  • Definition: something that blocks the movement of things or people between places
  • Sample Sentence: The sandbar provided a natural barrier for the smaller fish—their larger predators couldn’t get into the cove.
Word: contaminate
  • Definition: to make something dirty or unsafe
  • Sample Sentence: According to Conservation International, most of the oil that contaminates our oceans doesn’t come from oil spills, but from everyday runoff from roads.
Word: debris
  • Definition: trash, rubbish, fragments of things not wanted anymore
  • Sample Sentence: Julio always picked up all the plastic debris he found on the beach because he didn’t want it to end up back in the ocean.
Word: ecosystem
  • Definition: everything (both living things and nonliving things) that are found in a specific environment
  • Sample Sentence: Did you know that more than 50% of all species on our planet make their homes in marine ecosystems?
Word: efficient
  • Definition: able to produce results without wasting time or materials; useful, effective
  • Sample Sentence: Katelyn’s biology project focused on an efficient way to gather trash from local rivers.
Word: ingenious
  • Definition: clever, inventive
  • Sample Sentence: An octopus has some ingenious methods of defense—it hides in coconut shells and then rolls away from predators.
Word: innovative
  • Definition: coming up with new ideas or approaches; inventive
  • Sample Sentence: The pollution in our oceans has reached all-time highs—we need innovative solutions to solve the problem.
Word: sanctuary
  • Definition: a place to hide and be safe; a place of protection for animals
  • Sample Sentence: There are many marine sanctuaries to help protect marine animals, including the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
Word: skeptical
  • Definition: having doubt
  • Sample Sentence: Although Mario was skeptical that he would understand what the dolphin was trying to tell him, after about 10 minutes in the water he understood the animal’s distress.
Word: subtle
  • Definition: slight, not obvious
  • Sample Sentence: Most clownfish look similar, but there are usually subtle differences in the thickness of their stripes.

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