Pinelands Animal Glossary

abiotic environment

the non-living or physical environment (Acidic water is an important component of the
abiotic environment that influences the kinds of animals living in the Pinelands.)



soil or water that has a pH of less than 7, a high concentration of hydrogen ions, and very few nutrients (The streams of the Pinelands are very acidic)


a unit of land measurement equal to 43,560 square feet (The Pinelands of New Jersey is
approximately one million acres in size



how an animal changes in structure, form, or behavior in order to survive or adjust to its environment (Webbed feet are an adaptation in a Mallard Duck that enables it to swim.)


a wet, level area with spongy soil in which the water table is near the earth's surface (Carpenter Frogs can be found in a bog.)


an animal that eats other animals (A Timber Rattlesnake is a carnivore.)

carrying capacity

the maximum population of a given species that may be supported by an ecosystem indefinitely under a given set of environmental conditions (The population of White-tailed Deer often exceeds the carrying capacity of a given area.)


animals that are abundant or numerous (Robins are common birds in New Jersey.)


animals and plants that are responsible for the rotting or decay of living materials (Decomposers are an important part of all food webs because they return nutrients to the soil and water.)


populations of living organisms that interact with each other as well as with their abiotic or physical environment (A cranberry bog is an ecosystem that is unique tot he New Jersey Pinelands.)


animals whose chances for living are in immediate danger. This danger may be from loss or change of habitat (living area), disease, over-killing or collecting of the animal, or natural events like floods or droughts (The Pine Barrens Tree Frog is an endangered animal.)


no longer existing (Dinosaurs are extinct animals.)

food pyramid

a graphic representation of food chain relationships in which organisms are arranged by trophic or feeding levels; producers form the base and each successive level contributes to the tiers which form the apex, or highest point (Carnivores, such as the Timber Rattlesnake, are frequently at the "top" of a food pyramid

food web

a complex network of organisms interrelated in their feeding habits (The students studied the food web at Absegami Lake)


food produced in a habitat; the foods in a habitat that an animal or animals consume (Atlantic White Cedar foliage, acorn, and herbaceous plants are an important part of the forage of White -tailed Deer.)


a place that has everything a living thing needs to survive (A pond is a habitat for the Yellow Perch.)


an animal that feeds principally on living plants (Grasshoppers are a common herbivore found in pine and oak forests.)


an animal that feeds principally on insects (The Eastern Mole is an insectivore that is common throughout the uplands of the New Jersey Pinelands)


an animal that eats both plants and other animals ( a Gray Fox is an omnivore.)


a bird that alights and rests on a tree limb (A Blue Jay has the feet of a percher.)

Pinelands Commission

created in 1979, this Commission developed a "Comprehensive Management Plan" for protecting and preserving the New Jersey Pinelands, while providing for development in environmentally suitable areas (The Pinelands Commission believes that lesson plans and activities should be developed to help school children learn about the New Jersey Pinelands.)


uncleanliness, state of being impure, foul, or dirty (Sewage is a source of water pollution.)


a body of water smaller than a lake (You can hear the Spring Peepers calling in Pakim Pond.)


a group of individuals of the same species that occupies a particular space (There was a large population of Pine Barrens Tree Frogs in the abandoned cranberry bog.)


an animal that lives by preying on (eating) other animals (A Screech Owl is a predator.)


a living thing, like a plant, that makes its food from non-living substances such as sunlight and minerals in the soil and water (Producers, such as green plants, make their food by the process of photosynthesis)


water collected in a natural or artificial containment that may be used as the water supply for a town, agricultural crop, etc. (Oswego Lake is a reservoir that provides water for several cranberry bogs in Burlington County, New Jersey.)


a body of water that is usually larger than a stream. A river may flow to another river, lake, ocean, or man-made reservoir (The Egg Harbor River flows into the Atlantic Ocean.)


an animal that eats dead or decaying organic matter ( a Turkey Vulture is a scavenger.)


the area an animal needs to find food, raise its young, exercise, and rest (A Red-tailed Hawk needs more space than a Blue Jay.)


a group of populations capable of successfully interbreeding and reproductively isolated from other such populations (The White-tailed Deer is a common species of mammal found in the Pinelands.)


the state or condition of an animal species' population (The status of the Gray Squirrel is that of common throughout the Pinelands.)


water that flows and follows a channel or bed (The stream flowed through the forest)


low-lying ground in which water collects (Atlantic White Cedar trees or Swamp Maple trees may grow in a swamp.)


animals that may become endangered in the near future if they are overhunted or if the conditions in their natural habitats change (water pollution) or if many of their habitats are destroyed (The Northern Pine Snake is a threatened animal.)


land that is well above sea level and is often dry (In New Jersey's Pinelands, upland is often no more than 150 feet above sea level.)


a long-legged bird that wades about in shallow water searching for food (The Great Blue Heron is a wader.)

water table

the level below the earth's surface where the soil is saturated with water (I dug a hole about five feet deep before I found the water table.)


low land that is often swampy because the water table is at or near the surface (A wetland is often found near a stream or lake.)