Arctic Wildlife Glossary
adaptation - the process of changes in a living organism that help it adjust to the conditions of the environment, making it easier for animals to obtain food or shelter, or protect offspring.
arctic - the area lying above 66 ½ degrees North latitude that includes the Arctic Ocean and lies between North America and Russia.
camouflage - markings or coloration that help disguise an animal so it is less visible to predators or prey.
dominance - the species of plant or animal that exerts the most influence on the community because of its quantity or strength; the ruling animal.
mammal - a class of animals that have backbones, are warm-blooded, breath air, and whose females have milk-secreting glands for feeding their young. There are 19 orders and over 5,000 species of mammals, ranging from the 2 inch shrew to the 100 foot whale.
migration - the movement of animals, fish and birds in search of food or shelter, often on an annual basis according to the seasons.
pack ice - an area of floating islands of ice that form floes a few feet wide to ice islands miles across. These islands drift in the center of the Arctic Ocean and occasionally drift South as far as Newfoundland.
permafrost - any soil in the arctic regions in which temperatures below freezing have existed continuously for a long time.
predator - animals who live by hunting and preying on other animals for their own food supply.
tree line - (also called timber line) the point on mountain or high elevations beyond which no trees grow. The line varies depending on latitude, climate and soil conditions. Also northern boundary of boreal forest.
tundra - a treeless, level or gently rolling plain of the arctic region. It has a marshy surface where mosses, lichens and low shrubs grow with mucky soil and permafrost underneath.