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Glossary of Terms

Drowned River Mouth
These estuaries were formed at the end of the last ice age. As glaciers melted and the waters warmed, sea level rose and flooded low-lying coastal river valleys. These valleys are usually shallow with gentle sloping bottoms and their depth increases toward the river's mouth.
Delta
Deltas are low-lying, watery lands formed at the mouths of large rivers. They are created by deposition of sediment and silt carried by the river. A delta is often, but not always, shaped like a triangle (hence its name, delta, a Greek letter in the shape of a triangle).
Decomposer
A plant or animal which feeds on dead material.
Deciduous
A term generally used to describe plants that lose parts that are no longer needed, such as dropping their leaves during the Fall. This can also apply to animals. For example, deer have deciduous antlers they shed annually; and human children lose deciduous teeth, commonly known as “baby teeth.”
Distribution
The arrangement of organisms in a space.
Deflation Plain
A broad flat area between dunes. This area is frequently scoured by coastal winds, eroding the surface until it is level with the water table.
Deforestation
To clear an area of forests or trees.
Depression
A geographic area which is sunken or depressed lower than its surroundings.
Desert
An area of land which is characteristically waterless and desolate. Deserts are usually defined by their lack of precipitation can can occur in a variety of areas all over the world.
Detritivore
An animal which feeds on decomposing organic matter (detritus).

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