ancestor: A predecessor. It could be a family forebear, such as a parent, grandparent or great-great-great grandparent. Or it could be a species, genus, family or other order of organisms from which some later one evolved. For instance, ancient dinosaurs are the ancestors of today's birds. (antonym: descendant)
Arctic: A region that falls within the Arctic Circle. The edge of that circle is defined as the northernmost point at which the sun is visible on the northern winter solstice and the southernmost point at which the midnight sun can be seen on the northern summer solstice. The high Arctic is that most northerly third of this region. It’s a region dominated by snow cover much of the year.
birds: Warm-blooded animals with wings that first showed up during the time of the dinosaurs. Birds are jacketed in feathers and produce young from the eggs they deposit in some sort of nest. Most birds fly, but throughout history there have been the occasional species that don’t.
climate: The weather conditions that typically exist in one area, in general, or over a long period.
climate change: Long-term, significant change in the climate of Earth. It can happen naturally or in response to human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests.
egg: A reproductive cell that contains half of the genetic information necessary to form a complete organism. In humans and in many other animals, ovaries produce eggs. When an egg fuses with a sperm, they combine to produce a new cell, called a zygote. This is the first step in the development of a new organism."
famine: A condition where many people go hungry because there is too little food. Droughts, flooding and other weather disasters often contribute to widespread crop failures causing famine.
generation: A group of individuals (in any species) born at about the same time or that are regarded as a single group. Your parents belong to one generation of your family, for example, and your grandparents to another. Similarly, you and everyone within a few years of your age across the planet are referred to as belonging to a particular generation of humans. The term also is sometimes extended to year classes of other animals or to types of inanimate objects (such as electronics or automobiles).
habitat: The area or natural environment in which an animal or plant normally lives, such as a desert, coral reef or freshwater lake. A habitat can be home to thousands of different species.
insect: A type of arthropod that as an adult will have six segmented legs and three body parts: a head, thorax and abdomen. There are hundreds of thousands of insects, which include bees, beetles, flies and moths.
migrate: To move long distances (often across many countries) in search of a new home. (in biology) To travel from one place to another at regular times of the year to find food or more hospitable conditions (such as better weather). Species that migrate each year are referred to as being migratory.
migration: (v. migrate) Movement from one region or habitat to another, especially regularly (and according to the seasons) or to cope with some driving force (such as climate or war). An individual that makes this move is known as a migrant.
migratory: An adjective for species that travel long distances each year, along fairly regular paths, to find food or more hospitable conditions (such as better weather). Such travels are known as migrations.
New Zealand: An island nation in the southwest Pacific Ocean, roughly 1,500 kilometers (some 900 miles) east of Australia. Its “mainland” — consisting of a North and South Island — is quite volcanically active. In addition, the country includes many far smaller offshore islands.
Pacific: The largest of the world’s five oceans. It separates Asia and Australia to the west from North and South America to the east.
salmon: A popular game fish that tends to live most of its life in the ocean, then enters coastal rivers (and freshwater) to breed and lay eggs.
sea: An ocean (or region that is part of an ocean). Unlike lakes and streams, seawater — or ocean water — is salty.
sea level: The overall level of the ocean over the entire globe when all tides and other short-term changes are averaged out.
Tanzania: A nation in East Africa that sits just south of the equator. It’s well known in science communities as home to the East African Rift valley, where many hominid fossils have turned up. With a small population, many big wildlife species remain, including lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, hippos, cheetahs and giraffes. The country is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east; Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo to the west; and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south. It became a country in 1964. Its official capital is Dodoma.
weather: Conditions in the atmosphere at a localized place and a particular time. It is usually described in terms of particular features, such as air pressure, humidity, moisture, any precipitation (rain, snow or ice), temperature and wind speed. Weather constitutes the actual conditions that occur at any time and place. It’s different from climate, which is a description of the conditions that tend to occur in some general region during a particular month or season.
wildebeest: A type of antelope found in Africa. These animals are about 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall, travel in herds, eat grass and are commonly found in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, as well as on the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya and Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia.