Animal Info - Glossary G

Gallery forest
Luxuriant forest lining the banks of waterways.
Gametophyte
The individual or generation of a plant exhibiting alternation of generations that bears sex organs (compare "Sporophyte").
Gamma diversity
See diversity - gamma.
Gene
Each gene is a linear segment of a DNA molecule that includes a specific sequence of paired bases. The genes belonging to each cell are arranged on chromosomes, which are simply giant molecules of DNA. Each gene is responsible for a single inherited property or characteristic of the organism. Higher organisms like flies or humans have 50,000 - 100,000 genes. Simple organisms like bacteria have 2000 - 3000 genes.
Generation (or "Generation time")
A period of time characteristic of an animal species and/or population that can be calculated as:
  1. The average age of parents in the population (used in the criteria for the 1996 IUCN Red Data List categories), or
  2. The average age at first breeding, or
  3. The time from a given stage in an animal’s life to the same stage in the animal’s offspring’s life (e.g. the time between when an animal is born and when its offspring is born)
Genus (plural "Genera")
A taxonomic division that generally refers to a group of animals which are similar in structure and descent but are not all able to breed among themselves. For example, the lion, leopard and tiger all belong to the genus "Panthera."
Germinate
To begin to grow.
Gestation
1) Pregnancy; 2) the period from implantation of the embryo in the uterus to birth; or 3) the period from conception to birth.
Gibber desert or plains
Large areas in Australia covered by small, rounded pebbles, rocky ranges and low scrubby vegetation.
GIS
A "GIS" (Geographic Information System) is a means of storing and manipulating a variety of geographic information (e.g. vegetation, animal species distributions, land use) in a computer in a way such that the information can be combined and analyzed in different ways for management purposes.
Glean
To gather food (e.g. insects) bit by bit.
Gran Chaco
The Gran Chaco is a flat plain in the region of northern Argentina, southeastern Bolivia and western Paraguay and with a mosaic of vegetation types including thorn forest, savanna, marsh and gallery forest.
Granivorous
Referring to animals that feed on seeds or grain.
Grazer
A herbivore that feeds on herbaceous vegetation (compare "browser.").
Gregarious
Tending to associate with other animals of its kind; habitually living with other animals of its kind.
Guano
A substance composed mainly of the feces of seabirds and used as a fertilizer.
Guard hair
Part of the coat of some animals consisting of longer, stiffer hairs which lie outside and support the warmer, softer underfur.

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Last modified: June 23, 2006;

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