Definition: Hard framework, internal or external, which supports and protects softer parts of plant, animal or unicellular organism, and to which muscles usually attach in animals, includes skeletons (derived from Lawrence, 2005).
Definition: A built-structure inhabited by an organism and essential to its survival, but not part of its body, composed of hardened (either rigid or flexible) secretions, with or without the addition of embedded particles, with those particles either selectively collected from the environment or passively becoming glued during formation (pers. comm. Read, G.).
Definition: microscopic algae, typically found in freshwater and marine systems, living in both the water column and sediment. They are unicellular species which exist individually, or in chains or groups.