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Monk Seal Fact Files

Mediterranean Monk Seal

(Monachus monachus)

Glossary

Biogeography

The study of the geographical distribution of plants and animals.

Congener

A member of the same taxonomic genus as another plant or animal.

Source: Merriam-Webster

Dimorphism

The presence of one or more morphological differences that divide a species into two groups. Many examples come from sexual differences of particular traits, such as body size (males are often larger than females), or plumage (male birds are usually more colourful than females). These result from sex-linkage of the genes coding for the particular trait. However, some dimorphisms, such as the colour-phases of some birds, may not be sex linked.

Source: Allaby, M. (Ed.) 1999. A dictionary of zoology. Oxford University Press.

Genotype

The genetic constitution of an organism, as opposed to its physical appearance (Phenotype). Usually this refers to the specific allelic composition of a particular gene or set of genes in each cell of an organism, but it may also refer to the entire genome.

Source: Allaby, M. (Ed.) 1999. A dictionary of zoology. Oxford University Press.

Inbreeding

Inbreeding is the production of offspring by individuals related by descent. Inbreeding reduces reproduction and survival (reproductive fitness) – this is referred to as inbreeding depression… Inbreeding will increase the risk of extinction for most species under a wide range of circumstances.

Source: Frankham R., J.D. Ballou and D.A. Briscoe. 2002. Introduction to conservation genetics. Cambridge University Press.

Lactation

Lactation: noun, the secretion of milk by the mammary glands, the suckling of young, origin mid 17th century: from Latin lactates (n-), from lactare “suckle”, from lac, lact – “milk”.

Source: The New Oxford Dictionary of English. Ed. Judy Pearsall. Oxford University Press 1998.

Parturition

Parturition: noun, formal or technical: the action of giving birth to young, from late Latin parturitio(n-), from parturire “be in labour”.

Source: The New Oxford Dictionary of English. Ed. Judy Pearsall. Oxford University Press 1998.

Polygyny / polygynous

In animals, a pattern of mating in which a male has more than one female partner.

Source: Allaby, M. (Ed.) 1999. A dictionary of zoology. Oxford University Press.

Phylogeny or phylogenesis

The development over time of a species, genus, or group, as contrasted with the development of an individual (ontogeny).

Site fidelity

The tendency of animals to remain largely faithful to the habitat they are familiar with.

Stochastic factors/events

Stochastic factors are chance factors that come into play in small populations. They differ from deterministic ones in that they have large random components, with effects varying in direction and magnitude by chance.

Source: Frankham R., J.D. Ballou and D.A. Briscoe. 2002. Introduction to conservation genetics. Cambridge University Press.

Wean

Wean: verb, accustom (an infant or other young mammal) to food or other than its mother’s milk.

Source: The New Oxford Dictionary of English. Ed. Judy Pearsall. Oxford University Press 1998.

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