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  • The purpose of this book is to provide you with a bit more information about the organisms maintained at the ASLC so that you may deepen your understanding and appreciation of them. However, as a prelude to the more species-specific information contained in this document, there are three short chapters that explain more basic topics such as what criteria constitute living organisms, the basis for classification of living organisms, and the characteristics of a marine ecosystem. Reading these chapters should help to place the more species-oriented information (which can get quite detailed) into the broader frameworks of general and marine biology. Chapters IV through XVIII are descriptions of various phyla (e.g., Mollusks, Echinoderms, and Chordates) and/or species within those phyla that are maintained at the ASLC. In addition, a glossary, defining many of the less familiar, more biologically-oriented terms appears at the end of this handbook. When seen for the first time in the regular text of this handbook, such terms are presented in boldface type (the word domain, just immediately above, is an example.)
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