Glossary

ACCLIMATIZATION
the process of an organism adjusting to changes in the environment

ADAPT
the ability to fit in and live within one’s surroundings

AEOLIAN
deposited by wind

AERIAL PHOTO
a photograph taken from an aircraft or other flying object

AFFORESTATION
the planting of new forested area

AKAIKE MODEL WEIGHT
measures the relative quality of a statistical model based on both the complexity and goodness of fit

ANDOSOLS
soils containing volcanic material and formed in volcanic areas with tephra

ANTHROPOGENIC
caused by or originating by human activity

ANURAN
scientific name for all frog species

APEX PREDATOR
a predator that is at the top of the food chain and is not preyed upon by any other species in the environment

AQUAPONICS
any system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment

ARBOREAL
adapted for living in trees

ARID
barren land lacking rainfall

ARTHRITIS
soreness and irritation of joints usually due to activity

AUTOMATIC WEATHER STATION (AWS)
a stationary automated system that records and monitors weather conditions using a data logger, sensors, and a rechargeable battery, often in unfavorable conditions

BIOACCULMULATION
refers to the build-up of toxins or other chemicals in an organism; usually the result of an organism absorbing more of a toxin at a rate faster than that substance is excreted

BIOAUGMENTATION
the method of adding foreign living organisms to a contaminated system to break down compounds

BIODEGRADE
to be decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms

BIODIVERSITY
the variety of life in a defined area of on Earth

BIOLOGICAL CONTROL
a method of controlling unwanted organisms using other living organisms that are usually natural enemies

BIOMAGNIFICATION
refers to the increasing concentration of a substance in the tissues of organisms at successively higher levels in the food chain

BIOMASS
available total weight of biological material in an area of system

BIOREMEDIATION
the method of cleaning contamination using living organisms

BIOTA
the plant and animal life of a certain region, habitat, or time period

BLACK MARKET
an illegal network where trade in scarce and/or illegal goods is common. Drugs, firearms, humans, and animals are all traded on the black market

BOTTLENECK EFFECT
a hibernating-like statue used by cold blooded species to handle extreme temperatures

BRUMATION
a hibernating-like statue used by cold blooded species to handle extreme temperatures

CALCIFICATION
the process through which coral reefs produce calcium carbonate, which is necessary for their construction

CALVIN CYCLE
the cycle of reactions that occurs in the second phase of photosynthesis and does not require the presence of light. It involves the fixation of carbon dioxide and its reduction to carbohydrate and the dissociation of water, using chemical energy stored in ATP.

CANINE DISTEMPER
a highly contagious viral disease that affects a wide assortment of animals and causes symptoms in multiple areas of the body

CARBON SEQUESTRATION
capturing carbon dioxide, CO2, to remove it from the atmosphere

CHROMATOGRAPHY
the separation of a mixture by passing it in solution or suspension or as a vapor through a medium in which the components move at different rates

CLIMATE CHANGE
a change in the pattern of the world’s climate, mostly due to the increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere due to the use of fossil fuels

CLIMATE MODEL
mathematical and scientific system that is used to predict future behavior of the climate

COLD BLOODED
an animal whose body temperature varies with the temperature of their environment

COMPACTION
using available land within city limits as opposed to expanding

CONCENTRATED ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATIONS (CAFO)
an industrialized livestock operation

CONFORMITY
the extent to which an individual complies with group norms or expectations

CONNECTIVITY
the amount which the landscape allows for animal movement from one habitat to another

CONSERVATION
effort by countries, organizations, and individuals to prevent the excessive or wasteful use of a resource

CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES OF WILD FAUNA AND FLORA (CITES) an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival

CORAL BLEACHING
the loss of intracellular endosymbionts (Symbiodinium, also known as zooxanthellae) through either expulsion or loss of algal pigmentation

COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS
an economic concept in which a decision is made after assessing the cost and the benefit of all options

CURRENT
a body of water or air moving in a definite direction

CYANIDE
a salt or ester of hydrocyanic acid, containing the anion CN- or the group — CN. The salts are generally toxic

DEHORNING
to remove the horn from an animal, such as a rhinoceros, elephant, or cow

DELETERIOUS
causing harm or damage. In the case of genes, these can lead to malformations and often result in the death of the individual, whether before or after birth

DICHLORODIPHENYLTRICHLOROETHANE (DDT)
an environmentally harmful yet effective pesticide

DIURNAL
a species that is active during the day

DORMANT
temporarily inactive; resting

ECHINODERM
a marine invertebrate of the phylum Echinodermata, such as a starfish, sea urchin, or sea cucumber

ECONOMIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT
a scientific assessment that calculates the direct, indirect, and induced costs and benefits of a project or
phenomenon

ECOSYSTEM
a community of living organisms and abiotic components linked in the environment

ECOSYSTEM PROCESSES
chemical, biological, and physical actions or events that connect organisms to their environment

ECTOTHERMIC
a ‘cold-blooded’ organism. A term which often refers to animals which cannot regulate their own body temperature. Note that cold-blooded denotes the organism may be ‘cold’ to the touch, where that is not always the case.

EL NINO
an irregularly occurring and complex series of climatic changes affecting the equatorial Pacific region and beyond every few years, characterized by the appearance of unusually warm, nutrient-poor water off northern Peru and Ecuador, typically in late December

ENDANGERED
a conservation status for threatened, wild populations that can show a species are risk of extinction

ENDEMIC
a native species restricted to a certain location

ENDOCRINE DISRUPTOR
chemicals, such as PCBs, that if ingested in certain amounts can interfere with the hormone cycles of mammals

ENDOSYMBIOTIC
a symbiosis in which one of the symbiotic organisms lives inside the other

ENSEMBLE MODEL
a climate model produced by Dr. Ainley to predict future temperature/sea ice conditions in Antarctica. It is used to help compare current conditions in the Ross Sea to conditions projected for when the Earth’s average tropospheric temperature reaches 2ºC above preindustrial levels.

ENVIRONMENTAL DEGREDATION
the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources, such as air, water, and soil, and/or through the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife

ERADICATION
to completely destroy or remove

EVOLUTION
the alteration of heritable traits over generations of biological populations giving rise to diversity

EXTANT
still in existence

EXTIRPATED
to become extinct locally, but still have an extant population elsewhere

EXTRAPOLATION
an estimation of an unknown value by extending beyond a known sequence of values

EYJAFJALLAJOKULL ERUPTION
a volcano in southern Iceland that erupts relatively frequently

FECAL PELLET
rounded pellets excreted by an organism

FEN
a marshy or frequently flooded area of land, often having a neutral or alkaline/basic pH

FERMENT
a form of anaerobic respiration

FORAGE
plants or plant matter typically best utilized by ruminants (i.e. pasture, corn silage)

FORB
a herbaceous, flowering plant that is distinct from grasses

FOREST DEGRADATION
reduction of forest quality usually resulting from the removal of forest cover

FOREST PLANTATION
not a naturally occurring forest; planted by humans for a specific purpose

FOSSIL FUELS
fuels formed by natural processes over an extended period over time, such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms

FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI NUCLEAR DISASTER
an energy accident that occurred in 2011 as a result of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan. The resulting damage led to three nuclear meltdowns and release of radioactive material into the air.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMOs)
an organism in which the use of genetic engineering tools have been used to edit the organism’s genetic makeup

GENOTYPE
the genetic makeup of an organism

GLACIER
a large, persistent body of ice that takes many years to form from compacted snow. These bodies of ice form where accumulation has exceeded melting and sublimation. Their melting can be indicative of climate change

GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM (GPS)
a system that utilizes satellites to provide location and time information in all weather conditions

GOAL PRIMING
unconscious activation, leads to desired behaviors

GRAVID
pregnant with eggs or young

GREENHOUSE GAS
a gas that traps the sun’s heat in Earth’s atmosphere, with the most prominent being the following: H2O, CO2, CH4, N2O, O3, CFCs

GREENSPACE
piece of land partially or totally covered by grass, trees, and other vegetation

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP)
a periodic measurement of total monetary value in relation to all final goods and services produced

GYRE
any large system of rotating ocean currents caused by the Coriolis affect, where horizontal and vertical friction determines circulation patterns

HABITAT
the environment and surroundings of an organism

HARVESTING
systematic hunting of problematic species

HEPATIC STRESS
medical problems of the liver when affecting the hepatic artery, which conveys oxygenated blood to the liver

HERBICIDE
a chemical substance that is toxic to plants

HERBIVORE
an animal that only eats and gets its energy solely from consuming plants

HIBERNACULA
a location which an animal hibernates

HOLOCENE
the present epoch of geologic time which began about 10,000 years ago. It is the second of the two epochs in the Quaternary period. It is associated with the current “warm period.”

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX
a statistic representing the level of income, education, and life-expectancy of citizens in a nation

HUMAN-COYOTE CONFLICTS
the potentially unsafe interactions between humans and coyotes, including attacks

ICE CORE
a long cylinder of ice that is typically removed from an ice sheet. They are formed over time through snow build-up and are obtained by drilling into a glacier.

IN SITU STUDY
a study that takes place on site or in a field setting

INDICATOR SPECIES
any biological species that defines a trait or characteristic of the environment; behaviors of these organisms reflect the health and activity of their environment

INFINITESIMAL
incredibly, almost impossibly small

INJURIOUS SPECIES
a species listed by the government as a threat to the indigenous ecosystem

INSOLATION
the solar radiation that reaches a given area. It is measured by the amount of solar energy received per square centimeter per minute

INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC)
intergovernmental panel of the United Nations designed to provide the world with unbiased data on climate change and its impacts both economic and political

INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE PREVENTION OF POLLUTION FROM SHIPS (MARPOL)
an international marine environmental convention development to minimize pollution in the oceans and seas, such as dumping, oil, and air

INVASIVE SPECIES
any species of plant, animal, or microbe that has a tendency to spread or displace desirable species and has the potential to cause harm to the environment, human health, or the economy

JAMBIYA
an Arabian knife with a curved blade, in which often the handle is made of ivory/tusk

KERBSIDE SCHEME
makes norms, makes means, gives warm-glow, creates norm awareness

KILOWATT (kW)
a unit of electrical power, equivalent to 1000 watts or 1000 joules/second

KYOTO PROTOCOL
international treaty with the goal to reduce greenhouse has emissions

LACEY ACT of 1900
a United States conservation law that prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plant species that have been obtained illegally /span>

LEACH
draining away from soil, as in rainwater

LETHAL
deadly; sufficient to cause death;

LIQUID NATURAL GAS (LNG)
a natural gas that has been converted to liquid for for ease of storage or transport

MESOCARNIVORE
carnivorous animal with a diet consisting of 50-70% meat or flesh of another animal

METABOLISM
chemical transformations that occur within organisms that serve to sustain life

METHANE (CH4)
a chemical compound considered to be a greenhouse gas that is produced by cattle due to enteric fermentation

METHANE HYDRATE
methane gas trapped within ice-like crystals found underwater

METHANOGENESIS
the process of the formation of methane by methanogens

METHANOGENS
microorganisms that produce methane as a metabolic byproduct in absence of free oxygen

MICROBIAL POPULATION
microorganisms within the gut of ruminants that break down feed that cannot otherwise be digested

MICROPLASTIC
small plastic particles that are less than 1 mm (0.039 in)

MIDWAY ATOLL
a 2.4 square mile atoll in the Pacific Ocean that contains the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge created to preserve species of the area

MITIGATE
lessen or make less severe

MOLT
when animals lose their fur, skin, or feathers so that new ones will grow back in their place

MULTICOLLINEARITY
a statistical occurrence where two predictor variables are highly correlated that results in inaccurate model predictions

MYCELIUM
the vegetative heart of fungus; small, root-like tubular structures

MYCOREMEDIATION
bioremediation with mycelium as the medium

NANKAI TROUGH
location of vast gas hydrate reserves off the east coast of Japan

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
an organization in the United States that is nonprofit and consists of some of the countries greatest scientists who offer their advice to the nation on scientific topics

NATIVE
originating in a certain area

NEONATES
a newborn

NOCTURNAL
done, occurring, or active at night

NON-NATIVE SPECIES
any species of plant, animal, or microbe that occurs outside of its native range due to human introduction, accidental, or otherwise

NUCLEAR POWER
the use of nuclear fission to generate electricity

NUCLEAR REACTOR
used at nuclear power plants in order to generate electricity by containing controlled nuclear chain reactions

NULL HYPOTHESIS
often denoted H0, it is the hypothesis the researcher wishes to disprove, reject, or nullify, and it often is stated as there being no relationship between variables

OMNIVORE
an organism that consumes both other organisms and plants /span>

OPTICAL FIBER
a thin glass fiber through which light can be transmitted /span>

ORGANIC MATTER
natural material composted of remains of plants, animals, and other environmental waste products 

OUTBREAK
the sudden or violent start of something unwelcome

OVERFISHING
to deplete or exhaust a stock of fish by excessive fishing

OVERGRAZING
long-term exposure of vegetation to extensive grazing without a proper recovery period

OZONE HOLE
a region where the ozone layer is thinning due to pollutants in the atmosphere

PATCH OCCUPANCY
the proportion of a specific area or habitat unit occupied by a species

PERSISTENT POLLUTANT
compounds that bioaccumulate and therefore do not properly degrade in the environment through common chemical or biological processes

PESTICIDE
a substance used for destroying insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants and animals

PHENOLOGICAL MISMATCH
timing between seasonal activities and activities of a species are not in sync with one another

PHENOTYPE
the observable traits of living things

PHENOTYPIC PLASTICITY
an organism’s ability to change its phenotype as a result of a change in its environment

POACHING
an illegal practice of trespassing to hunt or steal game without the owner’s permission

POCKET PARK
small parks available for public use

POIKILOTHERMIC
an organism which has a variable body-temperature, often coinciding with external conditions

POINT COUNT METHOD
process by which a birder documents all birds that are seen or heard from a location during a specific time period

POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYLS (PCBs)
a synthetic organic chemical compound of chlorine attached to biphenyl. Is known to cause cancer, affect the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system

POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS (PAHs)
an organic pollutant; often a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion

POLYETHYLENE
a tough, light, flexible synthetic resin made by polymerizing ethylene, often used for plastic bags, food containers, and other packaging

POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION (PCR)
the use of technology to view a single or few copies of DNA pieces by copying the fragments and reproducing them

POLYPROPYLENE
a synthetic resin that is a polymer of propylene, used for ropes, fabrics, and molded objects

POLYVINYLCHLORIDE (PVC)
a common plastic with many applications

POPULATION
the number of a specific species living in a given vicinity

POTASSIUM NITRATE
A white crystalline salt, occurring naturally and produced synthetically, used in fertilizer, as a meat preservative, and as a constituent of gunpowder

PREDATOR
an organism that preys on other organisms

PRESCRIBED GOAT GRAZING
a method of plant control used to inhibit or encourage growth of specific plants by controlling the timing, intensity, duration, and area of goat grazing behavior

PRO-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
actions or beliefs that go along with the present social norms, accepted by society

PROBABILITY VALUE
a function of observed sample results in statistical analysis that is used for determining whether a hypothesis is to be rejected or fails to be rejected – if probability falls below the predetermined value, the null hypothesis is rejected

PROLIFERATION
rapid growth or spread

PROPIONATE
a volatile fatty acid that does not require methanogenesis to be broken down and utilized

RANGELAND
an expanse of land whose native vegetation is suitable for grazing and browsing animals and can be comprised of grasses, forbs, or shrubs

RED LIST
a list that details threatened species

REPATRIATION
returning an organism to its place of origin (historical habitat/range)

RESIDENTIAL DENSITY
measure of how intensely an area is filled with development or population

ROAD STRIP CORRIDORS
strips of greenspace along roads and highways in urban areas

RUMEN
the first of the four compartments that make up the stomach in ruminant animals, it’s purpose is to act as the main site of microbial fermentation

SALE PRICE PREMIUM
the additional price one would pay for a residential home with a solar photovoltaic system compared to a similar home without PV

SCALABLE
the ability of a system or product to handle growth and changes in size without compromising integrity

SECONDARY PLANT COMPOUNDS
non-essential complex compounds made by plants

SELF-DETERMINATION THEORY
motivated behavior is characterized as lying along a continuum of intentional regulation ranging from autonomous to controlled

SHIVERING THERMOGENESIS
increased metabolism of the skeletal muscles in an animal due to shivering

SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS
the social standing or class of an individual or group, measured in relation to income, occupation, and education

SOLAR AVAILABILITY
a measure of how much solar radiation that will reach a particular area. For rooftop solar panels, this can be affected by latitude, cloudiness, shading from nearby trees or other objects

SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC
a technology that converts solar radiation into direct current electricity

SPECIES RICHNESS
number of different species found in an ecosystem

SPORES
part of the fungi life cycle as a unit of reproduction that may be adapted for dispersal. This may often be in unfavorable conditions or over long periods of time.

STARCH
a carbohydrate made up of glucose connected by α-glycosidic linkages which can be broken down by enzymes in the gut rather than necessitating a microbial population

STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE
increased metabolism of the skeletal muscles in an animal due to shivering

STIGMA
a public view that something is unusual, disgraceful, or undesirable

SUBLIMATION
the transition of a substance from the solid phase to the gas phase, thus bypassing the liquid phase. It occurs at temperatures and pressures below a substance’s triple point

SUPPLY-AND-DEMAND
An economic concept in which the trade of a goods or services is analyzed by reviewing factors such as what is the current supply of the item, what is the current demand for the item, and what is the price set by those two factors. If supply is low, and demand is high, price will also be high. If supply is high, and demand is held constant, the price will decrease.

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
the act of farming based on an understanding of ecosystem services, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment

SYMBIOTIC
an interdependent relationship between two organisms in which both organisms benefit

SYNERGISTIC
acting as a system or collection of ideas or events

SYNTHETIC
a substance made by chemical synthesis, especially to imitate a natural product

TEMPORAL CONSTRUAL THEORY
competing motivations evolve and change over time with short-term goals often acting to undermine long-term goals

TEMPORAL PATTERNS
of or relating to time

TEPHRA
deposited volcanic material produced by eruptions

TEPHROCHRONOLOGICAL DATING
the use of deposited volcanic material for chronological dating of geological or environmental events

TERRESTRIAL
of or relating to the Earth

THEORY OF PLANNED BEHAVIOR
a function of a willingness to perform a behavior, and the degree of control that one perceives they have over the behavior

THERMOREGULATION
the regulation of body temperature

THREATENED
a categorization by the International Union for Conservation of Nature reserved for animals likely to become endangered

TOP DOWN PRESSURE
when the top predator in an ecosystem puts large struggles for survival on lower species of the food chain

TRANSLOCATION
transporting problematic animals to another location

TRINITROTOLUENE (TNT)
a common pollutant used as an explosive in mining and construction

TROPOSPHERE
the lowest part of the earth’s atmosphere. This is the part of the atmosphere where weather changes occur.

UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC, AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION (UNESCO)
an agency of the United Nations responsible for instituting and administering programs for cooperative, coordinated action by member states in education, science and the arts

URBAN FOREST
densely wooded area in a city

URBAN PLANNING
the process of development of a city, with respect to protection of local environment, public welfare, and city structure design

URBAN SPRAWL
also referred to as suburbanization, the expansion of a city outward from its center into further out residential communities

URBANIZATION
urban growth; movement of humans to cities

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA)
an agency of the federal government with the goal of protecting the environment and public health through regulations

VECTOR-BORNE
transmission of a pathogen from the bite of an infected arthropod species such ticks or mosquitos

VIRULENT
characterized by the ability of an agent of infection to produce disease; can also be a measure of the severity of the disease it causes

VIVIPAROUS
an organism which gives birth to live young

VOLATILIZE
to disperse as vapor into the atmosphere

WARM-GLOW EFFECT
personal satisfaction from activity independent of impact; private benefit

WORLD BANK
a global organization working to alleviate poverty by implementing sustainable strategies

ZOOXANTHELLAE
a yellowish-brown symbiotic dinoflagellate present in large numbers in the cytoplasm of many marine invertebrates

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Glossary by Brian H. Lower, Travis R. Shaul, Kylienne A. Shaul, and Ella M. Weaver is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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