File Name: glossary of biology terms and definitions .zip
This glossary of biology terms is a list of definitions of fundamental terms and concepts used in biology , the study of life and of living organisms.
Half the battle in finishing any assignment for science is figuring out what you are reading. This handy list of basic science terms, culled from the University of Berkeley science glossary , can help you get through any homework assignment or project, big or small.
Humans perceive this energy as sunlight. Find out how you can help support Wikipedia's phenomenal growth.. Health science is a medical discipline of applied science which deals with human or animal health.
It was published online on WoRMS from and comments by users led to additions and corrections. As it was removed after a few years with the intention of being replaced by an improved system it is here republished.
The glossary does not intend to provide a review or history of all uses of particular terms, nor how they may be used in other fields of research. The definitions are those recommended for use in marine biology, ecology and geology.
Where a term has different uses that the editors feel require clarification, then these will be included. At present, this glossary excludes terminology specific to the following areas: names of marine species and higher taxa see WoRMS ; place names see gazetteers at Marine Regions.
The glossary could be expanded should experts offer to do so and where no existing online peer-reviewed glossary exists. A glossary of terminology used in marine biology, ecology, and geology. Version 2. The great depths of the oceans, usually considered to be depths of to m, a region of low temperatures, high pressure and an absence of sunlight. A method of detecting discontinuities in the water, often used for current and turbidity measurements and for detecting changes in the character of the seafloor.
The horizontal movement of water, or a property of water through such movement e. The collective term for sand, gravel and crushed rock typically used by the building industry. They can be compacted to firmly fill a space and are often bound together with cement to make concrete or bitumen for road surfacing. The simplest plants; maybe single-celled such as diatoms or quite large such as seaweeds.
Live in salt or fresh water and on land. Gently dipping seabed surface comprised of sediment found at the base of a slope; commonly the product of slumping sediment failure of a steep slope. An annular reef enclosing a lagoon in which there are no promontories other than reefs and islets composed of reef material.
Elevation of the seabed over which the depth of water is relatively shallow. Sand banks are sedimentary features longitudinal to the current. Elongate offshore islands or sandbanks oriented parallel to the coastline which may form a lagoon between the island and the coast and which protect the coast from prevailing wave action.
Depression, characteristically in the deep sea floor, more or less equidimensional in shape and of variable extent. The zone of open water below the euphotic well-lit and mesopelagic poorly lit but above the abysso-pelagic. Placement of aggregates on beaches to replace that lost by erosion beach nourishment or to protect coastal resources. Sedimentary features of the seabed oriented transverse to flow direction; ripples, dunes and sand waves. This means that species have the potential to be everywhere over time but that the environment selects which species live in a place.
While strictly untrue, there is evidence that it applies relatively more to microscopic than larger organisms. The nature and distribution of organisms on or within the seabed and the interactions between them and their environment. A narrow shelf, bank, or ledge at the top or bottom of a slope; in coastal geomorphology a sedimentary feature ridge built along the coast, above the level of high tide, by storm wave action.
The Convention of Biological Diversity definition encompasses the variation within species genetic, phenotypic , between species, and of ecosystems habitats, productivity, processes. Most commonly used to describe variation between species.
Physical habitat created by living organisms, such as coral reefs, oyster beds, tubeworm reefs, kelp beds, seagrass beds. The area across which species composition changes more rapidly than within a biogeographic region.
Not to be confused with habitat boundaries and ecotones. Mound-shaped deposits of rock and sediment produced by marine organisms. Coral reefs and Halimeda banks are well-known examples. A large geographic area dominated by a plant life-form that provides physical habitat for other species. Used on land for deciduous forests, tundra, grasslands. Comparable marine biomes are seagrass beds, kelp and mangrove forests, and coral reefs with symbiotic algae.
A spatial representation depicting the boundaries of hierarchical geographic areas considered useful for environmental management. A zone of transition between core provinces used in an Australian bioregionalisation scheme. A relatively narrow, deep depression with steep sides, the bottom of which generally has a continuous slope, developed characteristically on some continental slopes.
A narrow sea area, often with strong currents, between island and mainland, between two major islands, or created by currents in seafloor sediment. Organisms that create energy from chemical reactions, as distinct from phototrophs which use sunlight.
Seabed on the Continental Shelf dominated by animals, where benthic algae are rare or absent. It is usually seasonally stratified, and the effect of wave action is limited to storms. Typically considered between m depth range. Particles of between 0. Smaller than silt. In contrast to silt, clay has colloidal properties i. Mud is comprised of clay and silt.
Animals that live as a part of one physically connected colony, such as corals, bryozoans and some tubeworms and tunicates. Process of organisms establishing themselves in an environment where they were not already present. Organisms of different species that live together, sharing space or food, whereby at least one partner benefits from the association and neither have detrimental effects on the other i.
Not parasitic. A group of species that are assumed to be interdependent though this is often not demonstrated. The term can be used in a variety of hierarchies.
Communities at larger scales can be progressively subdivided, such as spatially, taxonomically and trophically, to finer scales. A gentle slope rising from the oceanic depths towards the foot of a Continental Slope of between 1 and 2 degrees slope. Seafloor that is the submerged part of a continent, extending from the low water line to a depth at which there is usually a marked increase of slope towards oceanic depths; often generalized to about m depth.
In geology, sedimentary features, comprised of macroscopic skeletal framework, built by the interaction of organisms and their environment, that have synoptic relief and whose biotic composition differs from that found on and beneath the surrounding sea floor.
Narrow geographic areas considered to facilitate the dispersal of species from one area to another across an otherwise unsuitable environment. A three-dimensional grid representation of the shape of the earth seafloor or land surface. Biological or ecological diversity is most commonly measured as the number of species, also called species richness. Many other indices of diversity include the relative abundance of species as well as species richness in their calculation. These indices may emphasise the dominance or evenness of the abundance of species in a sample.
See alpha, beta, gamma diversity, and biodiversity. A species that dominates a sample or area by virtue of its abundance, biomass, size, or conspicuousness. The process by which surface waters sink to greater depths in the ocean. Sedimentary bedforms larger than ripples, greater than 0. Dunes are mostly asymmetrical in profile, with a gentle up-current stoss slope and a steeper down-current lee slope which may be at the angle of repose of the sediment.
Dune crestlines may be either linear two-dimensional or non-linear three-dimensional, barchan-shape in plan view. Large dunes may have smaller dunes superimposed upon them. The part of the water column, below the euphotic zone, that receives low levels of sunlight but insufficient to support plant growth; see also mesopelagic. The combination of species, their interactions, and the physical and chemical processes in their environment in a defined area.
A transition zone between two ecologically distinct areas such as habitats, biotopes or ecosystems. Form of growth of animals and plants with a tough or hard texture the crust , over rocks and other materials. Species only known to occur at one location or area of defined extent, such as a country or sea area.
The collection of organisms living upon the seabed, including animals epifauna and plants epiflora living on the surface of the seabed or on other animals and plants that live there.
The collection of organisms living in well-lit euphotic surface waters of the open ocean; above the mesopelagic. Elongated and comparatively steep sometimes vertical slope separating flat or gently sloping areas at different average depth. The seaward portion of a drowned valley system which receives sediment and water from both fluvial and marine sources giving rise to a unique sedimentary regime and areas of variable salinity.
The area between the low and high tide marks, and the supralittoral and sublittoral fringe. Also called mediolittoral, tidal flat, and hydrolittoral. The environmental problem of excessive plant growth e. Planktonic or benthic alga leading to oxygen fluctuations hypoxia, anoxia, supersaturation , and where dead and rotting plants create a public nuisance. Typically results from the release of nutrients from human activities. Also called equitability, refers to how the abundance of species is distributed in a sample or group of samples.
If all species have equal abundance then evenness is maximised. The inverse of evenness is dominance. Relatively smooth, fan-like, depositional feature normally sloping away from the outer termination of a canyon or canyon system. A long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea between steep slopes, formed by glacial erosion. A strip of relatively flat and normally dry land alongside a stream, river, or lake that is covered by water during a flood.
The consequence of founding parents genes for their progeny. The breakup of an area of habitat such that what was one population of a species is now several disconnected populations which may consequently be at greater risk of extirpation.
The wavelength of sound measured in cycles wavelengths per second; one Hertz Hz is a sound wave that travels at one cycle per second. Accumulation of random mutations of alleles over time with a consequent change in genetic make-up.
The natural range diversity of geological rocks, minerals, fossils , geomorphological landforms, processes , and soil sediment features. It includes their assemblages, relationships, properties, interpretations and systems.
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Most are true to definition, and some have a variation that is specific to their application in biomimicry. Not all of these terms have been used in this Toolbox, but you may encounter them elsewhere as you continue to study biomimicry. Abiotic: Not associated with or derived from living organisms. Abiotic factors in an environment include sunlight, temperature, wind patterns, and precipitation, for example. Adaptation : A feature of an organism that results from natural selection and by which the organism becomes better fitted to survive and reproduce in its environment.
Complete terms can be found at icel3.org aquatic biome water-based biomes, defined by the availability of sunlight and the concentration of.
We have compiled a glossary of systems biology terms used throughout the Focus, which can be downloaded here in PDF format 84 KB. Such gels are constructed using oligomeric motors that can bind two or more cytoskeletal filaments, which use ATP as the energy source to walk along the fibres. A method that uses reactive probes carrying a label that will covalently bind specifically to active enzymes of a certain class. The label is often a fluorophore, enabling visualization and quantification of coupled enzymes on gels, antibody microarrays or in cells. Recently, reactive probes have been labelled with an affinity tag for capture of the coupled enzymes, quantification and identification by mass spectrometry.
Some phages, however, will incorporate their DNA into that of their host, and remain dormant for an extended period. For this reason, they have become essential tools of genetic engineers. The cell consists primarily of an outer plasma membrane, which separates it from the environment; the genetic material DNA , which encodes heritable information for the maintainance of life; and the cytoplasm, a heterogeneous assemblage of ions, molecules, and fluid.
Download this glossary PDF. It is associated with neurons passing electrochemical messages down the axon , releasing neurotransmitters to neighboring cells in the synapse. They receive signals from the brain and secrete several different hormones in response, including cortisol and adrenaline. Differing alleles, which can be found at the same spot on a chromosome , produce variation in inherited characteristics such as hair color or blood type. A dominant allele is one whose physiological function—such as making hair blonde—occurs even when only a single copy is present among the two copies of each gene that everyone inherits from their parents.
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It was published online on WoRMS from and comments by users led to additions and corrections.