Terms used to describe growth form
|Unitary||An organism composed of a single functional entity i.e. a tree, a plant, a worm, a crab etc. It may or may not be equivalent to 'individual'.|
|Modular||An organism in which the zygote develops into a discrete unit which then produces more units like itself, forming a colony or modular structure, e.g. bryozoans and sea squirts.|
|Erect||The main visible parts of organism stand straight and above the substratum.|
|Arborescent or Arbuscular||Having the shape or characteristics of a tree.|
|Forest||A dense stand of large plants in which the upper branches (trees) or laminae (macroalgae) overlap to form a canopy that shades the under story of flora and fauna.|
|Shrub||Having a very short stem with branches near the ground (Thompson, 1995).|
|Turf||The lowest stratum of erect branching or filiform species.|
|Encrusting||Forms or resembles a crust over a substratum or other organisms.|
|Crustose soft||Forming or resembling a crust (Thompson, 1995) that yields to the touch or pressure e.g. the gelatinous colonies of Botryllus schlosseri or soft cushions of sponges such as Halichondria sp.|
|Crustose hard||Forming or resembling a crust (Thompson, 1995) that is solid or resistant to touch or pressure e.g. the encrusting coralline algae or sea mats.|
|Cushion||A mass or pillow of soft material.|
|Mat||A dense mass which blankets the substratum.|
|Vermiform unsegmented||Worm-like where the external surface is divided into a chain of rings or 'annuli' by furrows giving the appearance of segments (Barnes et al., 1993).|
|Vermiform segmented||Worm-like with the body divided into semi-independent, serially repeated units (Barnes et al., 1993) e.g. Annelida.|
|Vermiform annulated||Worm-like where the external surface is divided into a chain of rings or 'annuli' by furrows giving the appearance of segments (Barnes et al., 1993).|
|Accretion||Build up or accumulation of sediment.|
|Algal gravel||Maerl; twig-like unattached (free-living) calcareous red algae, often a mixture of species and including species which form a spiky cover on loose small stones - 'hedgehog stones'.|
|Anchor-shaped||E.g Ceratium spp.|
|Articulate||Jointed, arthrous (Holmes, 1979).|
|Bivalved||Characteristically a shell of two calcareous or chitinous valves joined by a flexible ligament.|
|Bullate or Saccate||Balloon or sac-like (Prescott, 1969).|
|Capitate or Clubbed||Enlarged or swollen at the apex, with a ‘head’, clubbed. (Prescott, 1969).|
|Chains||Formed of chains of individuals.|
|Clathrate||Latticed (Holmes, 1979).|
|Cone (conical)||Cone shaped e.g. Limpet -shaped, patelliform, (adapted from Stachowitsch, 1992).|
|Cylindrical||Straight sides and a circular section (Thompson, 1995).|
|Dendroid||Branching irregularly – similar to that of a root system (Prescott, 1969).|
|Digitate||Having parts arranged like fingers on a hand (Holmes, 1979).|
|Faunal beds||Dense aggregation of animals that visually dominate the seabed or shore such as brittlestars (e.g. Ophiothrix fragilis) or mussels (e.g. Mytilus edulis).|
|Filiform or Filamentous||Slender and thread-like (Kozloff, 1996).|
|Flabellate||Flabellate, shaped like a fan, fanlike (Brusca, 1980).|
|Flaccid||Soft, limp, flabby (Brusca, 1980).|
|Foliose||Bearing leaves or leaf-like structures; having the appearance of a leaf.|
|Funnel-shaped||Shaped like a funnel.|
|Globose||Approximately spherical / ovoid / globular (Brusca, 1980).|
|Lanceolate||Lance shaped and usually elongate (Brusca, 1980).|
|Massive||Large, heavy or solid (OED, 1990).|
|Medusiform or Medusoid||Disk, bell or umbrella-shaped and often gelatinous (Barnes et al., 1988).|
|Penicillate||Brush like (Prescott ,1969).|
|Pinnate||Branching like a feather – an elongate main axis with lateral branches or lobes (Prescott, 1969).|
|Radial||Symmetrical about any plane passed perpendicular to the oral/aboral axis (Barnes et al., 1993).|
|Reticulate||In the form of a mesh or net (Prescott, 1969).|
|Stellate||Arranged like a star.|
|Strap-like or Ribbon-like||In the form of a strap or ribbon.|
|Tadpole||Having the body form of a tadpole i.e. consisting of a round head with a tail.|
|Turbinate||Whorled (Brusca, 1980).|
|Whip-like||Long and thin like a whip.|
- Barnes, R.S.K., Calow, P. & Olive P.J.W., 1993. The invertebrates: a new synthesis. Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd.
- Brusca, R.C., 1980. Common intertidal invertebrates of the Gulf of California. University of Arizona Press.
- Holmes, S., 1979. Henderson’s dictionary of biological terms. 9th ed. London: Hendersons.
- Kozloff, E.N., 1996. Marine invertebrates of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
- Prescott, G.W., 1969. The algae: a review. Sunbury-upon-Thames: T. Nelson and Sons Ltd.
- Stachowitsch, M., 1992. The invertebrates: an illustrated glossary. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Thompson, D., (ed.) 1995. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English. 9th ed. London: Oxford University Press.