How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

Learn how plants respond to higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations

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M

Maintenance respiration
Respiration in which energy is used to maintain living biomass.

Malaria
An infectious disease that is characterized by severe chills and fever. It is caused by parasitic protozoa in red blood corpuscles that are transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected anopheles mosquito.

Medieval Warm Period
The period between the 10th and 14th centuries when global temperatures were about 1.0C warmer than present.

Meristem
A specialized area within a plant where cell division occurs very rapidly. Lateral meristems, for example, exist near root and shoot tips to facilitate cell division and, hence, vertical plant growth.

Mesophyll cell
A plant cell found in leaves whose primary function is to house the machinery of photosynthesis.  Such cells are generally located between the upper and lower leaf epidermal cell layers.

Microarthropods
Microscopic animals characterized by segmented bodies and jointed legs.

Microcosms
Miniature ecosystems representative of larger real-world entities.

Milankovitch orbital theory
A theory that suggests that changes in the amount of solar energy reaching the earth, caused by periodic variations in earth's orbit over periods of thousands of years, is responsible for the ice age climates of the Pleistocene.

Mineralization
A chemical process that converts organic materials into inorganic forms.

Missing carbon sink
The amount of carbon that yearly disappears from the atmosphere in excess of that for which scientists believe they have a reasonable explanation.

Mitotic activity
The production of new plant cells by the division of pre-existing cells.

Monocotyledons
Plants that develop from seeds containing one cotyledon, which is a specialized organ that contains food reserves to provide energy in germinating seeds and seedlings prior to food production via photosynthesis.  Many "monocot" plants fix atmospheric carbon dioxide using C4 photosynthesis.

Monocultures
Managed or natural ecosystems composed of a single plant species.

Montane taxa
Plants that live in mountainous regions.

Morphospecies
Species whose identities are determined primarily by morphological characteristics.  This type of identification is commonly used to characterize planktonic foraminifera.

mRNA
A mobile copy of information encoded for by a gene, also known as a transcript.  Its genetic information is directly used to synthesize proteins.

Mycelium
A complex network of threadlike tubular filaments (hyphae) possessed by many fungi that function in nutrient absorption and transfer.

Mycorrhizal colonization
The growth of a fungal organism on an object, such as the root of a plant.

Mycorrhizal fungi
Fungi that form close symbiotic associations with plant roots, which typically increase soil nutrient availability.