Glossary of ALL Terms for Data on EOL


Aalenian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
abdomen length
above ground dwelling
An organism that is adapted to terrestrial life above ground but not immediately on the ground. This includes arboreal and volant organisms.
abyssal feature
Feature on the ocean floor at a depth of 3500 - 6000 meters.
abyssal plain
A flat or very gently sloping areas of the deep ocean basin floor.
abyssal zone
The marine abyssal zone biome comprises regions of the marine benthic biome between approximately 2500 m and 6000 m depth. This zone generally coincides with the continental rise and the abyssal plain.
abyssal zone (4000-6000m)
abyssalpelagic zone
The zone of the ocean below the bathypelagic zone, with its lowest boundary at about 6000m.
A stony meteorite that is made of material similar to terrestrial basalts or plutonic rocks.
acicular (needle-like)
Slender and pointed, needle-like
acid dune sand
acid hot spring
A hot spring whose water has an acidic pH.
acid mine drainage
A mine drainage with an acidic pH.
acidic freshwater mining lake
acidic soil
activated sludge
active foraging
An organism which obtains food primarily by active searching.
active growth period
The growing season of a plant. The time of year when a plant has its most active growth.
actual evapotranspiration rate in geographic range
Monthly AET (Actual Evapotranspiration Rate) within the geographic range of a taxon. Evapotranspiration (ET) is the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth's land surface to atmosphere.
adobe soil
A maturity quality inhering in a bearer by virtue of the bearer's being between the onset of puberty and maturity.
[database_cross_reference: WordNet:WordNet]
A maturity quality inhering in an individual by virtue of the individual having attained sexual maturity and full growth
Adult Yearly Survival
organisms adapted to spending a considerable part of their life in the air, away from the ground, vegetation or water.
aerial habitat
A habitat that is solely in the air.
aerial locomotion behavior
Behavior related to the movement of an organism from one location to another through the air.
Aeronian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
Airborne solid particles (also called dust or particulate matter (PM)) or liquid droplets.
after harvest regrowth rate
Indicates the relative rate of regrowth of a herbaceous plant after a harvest of above ground herbage.
USDA PLANTS database Characteristics Data Fields.
age at eye opening
Age at which both eyes are fully open after birth.
Kate E. Jones, Jon Bielby, Marcel Cardillo, Susanne A. Fritz, Justin O'Dell, C. David L. Orme, Kamran Safi, Wes Sechrest, Elizabeth H. Boakes, Chris Carbone, Christina Connolly, Michael J. Cutts, Janine K. Foster, Richard Grenyer, Michael Habib, Christopher A. Plaster, Samantha A. Price, Elizabeth A. Rigby, Janna Rist, Amber Teacher, Olaf R. P. Bininda-Emonds, John L. Gittleman, Georgina M. Mace, and Andy Purvis. 2009. PanTHERIA: a species-level database of life history, ecology, and geography of extant and recently extinct mammals. Ecology 90:2648.
age at first birth
Age at which females give birth to their first litter, or their young attach to teats or hatch out
age at first reproduction
age at maturity
Age at the first successful reproduction.
age at maturity of resprouts
Age of resprouts at first successful reproduction (in years), i.e., when most of the resprouting plants produce the first seed crop.
BROT trait database. Traits: units and categories (MatResp),
agricultural environmental material
{definition missing}
agricultural soil
agricultural terrace
agricultural waste
Wastewater produced in the course of agricultural activities
agricultural waste
waste produced as a result of various agricultural operations. It includes manure and other wastes from farms, poultry houses and slaughterhouses; harvest waste; fertilizer run- off from fields; pesticides that enter into water, air or soils; and salt and silt drained from fields
agricultural wastewater treatment plant
A wastewater treatment plant that treats agriculatural wastewater. Agricultural wastewater treatment relates to the treatment of wastewaters produced in the course of agricultural activities. Agriculture is a highly intensified industry in many parts of the world, producing a range of wastewaters requiring a variety of treatment technologies and management practices.
air conditioning unit
air filter
air temperature
A steep-sided depression formed by the melting of permafrost; it may contain a lake.
Albeluvisols are soils that have, beginning within 1 m of the soil surface, a clay illuviation horizon with an irregular or broken upper boundary resulting in tonguing of bleached soil material into the illuviation horizon.
Albian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
algal bloom
A feature that arises from a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae (typically microscopic) in an aquatic system.
Alisols are soils that have a higher clay content in the subsoil than in the topsoil as a result of pedogenetic processes (especially clay migration) leading to an argic subsoil horizon. Alisols have a low base saturation at certain depths and high-activity clays throughout the argic horizon. They lack the albeluvic tonguing as in Albeluvisols. They occur predominantly in humid tropical, humid subtropical and warm temperate regions.
alkaline flat
A dry lakebead consisting of fine-grained sediments infused with alkali salts. Generally the shore or bed of an endorheic lake.
alkaline habitat
A biome in which the pH is >pH9. Inhabited by alkaliphilic organisms.
alkaline hot spring
A hot spring whose water has an alkaline pH.
alkaline salt lake
A paralectotype specimen that is the opposite sex of the lectotype. The term is not regulated by the ICZN. [Zoo.]
A paraneotype specimen that is the opposite sex of the neotype. The term is not regulated by the ICZN. [Zoo.]
allotment garden
allotment garden soil
A paratype specimen designated from the type series by the original author that is the opposite sex of the holotype. The term is not regulated by the ICZN. [Zoo.]
alluvial fan
A fan-shaped deposit formed where a fast flowing stream flattens, slows, and spreads typically at the exit of a canyon onto a flatter plain.
alluvial paddy field soil
alluvial plain
A relatively flat and gently sloping landform found at the base of a range of hills or mountains, formed by the deposition of alluvial soil over a long period of time by one or more streams coming from the mountains.
alluvial soil
alluvial swamp soil
along-front current
A marine surface current that flows along an oceanic front.
alpine glacier
A glacier found in mountain terrain.
alpine soil
Altitude is a distance above sea level.
ambush predator
organisms that capture or trap prey by stealth or by strategy (typically not conscious strategy), rather than by speed or by strength.
amenity lake
A lake constructed, or modified, for the chief purpose of providing an amenity.
amniotic fluid
Amniotic fluid is a bodily fluid consisting of watery liquid surrounding and cushioning a growing fetus within the amnion. It allows the fetus to move freely without the walls of the uterus being too tight against its body. Buoyancy is also provided.
organism that is adapted to both life on land and in the water.
A section of a river or stream that diverts from the main course and rejoins later.
anaerobic mud
anaerobic sediment
Sediment characterised by the absence of oxygen.
anaerobic soil tolerance
The relative tolerance of the plant to anaerobic soil conditions.
USDA PLANTS database Characteristics Data Fields.
anaerobic stream sediment
Andosols are soils that develop in volcanic ejecta or glasses under almost any climate (except under hyperarid climate conditions). However, Andosols may also develop in other silicate-rich materials under acid weathering in humid and perhumid climates.
Seed dispersal by wind (with wind dispersal adaptations, such as pappus or wings).
animal feed
Animal feed is a biotic mesoscopic physical object consisting of any foodstuff that is used specifically to feed domesticated livestock, such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants but some is of animal origin. Fodder refers particularly to food given to the animals (including plants cut and carried to them), rather than that which they forage for themselves. It includes hay, straw, silage, compressed and pelleted feeds, oils and mixed rations, and also sprouted grains and legumes.
animal habitation
The dwelling of an animal or group of similar animals.
animal litter
Straw or other material strewn in an animal's enclosure (e.g. a stable) for it to sleep on and to absorb its faeces and urine.
animal manure
animal matter fall
The carcass of an animal that has fallen to the bottom of a body of water.
animal population density
Number of animals in a population relative to space.
animal waste
Anisian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
Of plant duration, a plant whose life span ends within one year after germination, e.g. a winter annual germinating in the autumn and flowering in the spring (esp. in Mediterranean climates), approximately synonymous to therophyte, c.f. biennial, ephemeral, perennial, c.f. also of flowering with respect to architecture, hapaxanthic, monocarpic, pleonanthic.
Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 12, July 2012. Glossary:
annual precipitation
Total depth of precipitation fallen in a given location in one year, if converted to liquid form. Precipitation is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapour that falls under gravity.
anoxic water
Water depleted of dissolved oxygen.
anterior culmen length
The distance from the front of the nares (nostrils) to the tip of the bill of a bird.
a geographic feature resulting from the influence of human beings on nature.
anthropogenic abiotic mesoscopic feature
anthropogenic contamination feature
anthropogenic environmental material
Anthropogenic material in or on which organisms may live.
anthropogenic habitat
A habitat that is in or on an environmental feature or material derived from human activity.
anthropogenic terrestrial biome
An anthropogenic terrestrial biome is a terrestrial biome which has community structures determined by human activity.
Anthrosols comprise soils that have been modified profoundly through human activities, such as addition of organic materials or household wastes, irrigation and cultivation.
A phosphate mineral with the general formula Ca5(PO4)3X where X = OH, F or Cl
apex predator
predator residing at the top of a food chain, with no predators of its own
aphotic zone
The zone of an ocean below 200m, in which photosynthesis cannot occur due to the lack of light.
A gentle slope, with a generally smooth surface, particularly found around groups of islands and seamounts.
Aptian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
Structure designed to transport water from a remote source, usually by gravity.
aquatic adapted
organism that is adapted to life in the water
aquatic habitat
A habitat that is in or on water.
aquatic plant
whole plant aquatic
aqueous humour
Aqueous humour is a bodily fluid consisting of a thick watery substance that fills the space between the lens and the cornea.
An underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, silt, or clay) from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using a water well.
Aquitanian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
arable soil
Calcium carbonate (CO3Ca), aragonite structure
Aragonite Saturation State
the degree to which seawater is saturated with respect to the aragonite form of calcium carbonate
organism that is adapted to life in trees.
arboreal habitat
A habitat in or on trees.
arboreal locomotion behavior
Behavior related to the locomotion of animals in trees.
Of habit, resembling a tree, a term applied to non-woody plants attaining tree height and to shrubs tending to become tree-like in size
Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 12, July 2012.
arbuscular mycorrhizal association
A form of mutualism between a fungus and the roots of a vascular plant, where hyphae of the fungus penetrate the plant cell wall and invaginate its cell membrane. Once inside, the fungus forms highly branched structures for nutrient exchange with the plant called arbuscules. Aids in the acquisition by the plant of nutrients such as phosphorus from the soil.
Archean Eon
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
archeological site
A place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or historic or contemporary), and which is, has been, or may be, investigated using the discipline of archaeology.
A group of geographically or geologically associated islands.
area size
areas with native and introduced infra-taxa
Lists jurisdictions in which some infra-taxa of a given organism are members of the undisturbed fauna or flora while others have been introduced recently.
areas with native and probably introduced infra-taxa
Lists jurisdictions in which some infra-taxa of a given organism are members of the undisturbed fauna or flora while others have probably been introduced recently.
Arenosols are sandy soils, including both soils developed in residual sands after in situ weathering of usually quartz-rich sediments or rock, and soils developed in recently deposited sands such as dunes in deserts and beach lands.
A thin, almost knife-like, ridge of rock which is typically formed when two glaciers erode parallel U-shaped valleys. The arte is a thin ridge of rock that is left separating the two valleys. Artes can also form when two glacial cirques erode towards one another, although frequently this results in a saddle-shaped pass, called a col.
An arid condition is an environmental condition in which annual precipitation is less than half of annual potential evapotranspiration.
arm plus disc length
arsenate treated wood
arsenic-rich mud
artificial channel
artificial harbor
A harbor constructed by human agency.
artificial island
An island constructed by human effort.
artificial lake
A lake purposefully constructed.
artificial reef
Chains of rocks or coral at or near the surface of water constructed by man.
Artinskian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
ash cone
A cone that is composed of particles of silt to sand size. Explosive eruptions from a vent where the magma is interacting with groundwater or the sea (as in an eruption off the coast) produce steam and are called phreatic. The interaction between the magma, expanding steam, and volcanic gases results in the ejection of mostly small particles called ash. Fallen ash has the consistency of flour. The unconsolidated ash forms an ash cone which becomes a tuff cone or tuff ring once the ash consolidates.
Ash Content
asphalt lake
A lake formed of a natural deposit of alphalt, a black, highly viscous liquid or semi-solid composed of fossil hydrocarbons.
Asselian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
at least short-persistent
Of seed bank longevity. Seed bank longevity is > 1 and at least <= 5 yr (could be longer but it is unknown).
An oceanic island, often having a characteristic ring-like shape surrounding a lagoon. Atolls are formed when coral reef grows around a volcanic island that later subsides into the ocean.
attached to substrate
This organism is normally physically attached to the substrate upon which it lives
Seed dispersal by gravity, without the assistance of any dispersal vector (= unassisted dispersal).
aviation fuel


back-arc basin
A depression in the sea floor that results from the collision of continental plates; the weight of the sinking plate causes the overlying plate to stretch and thin, causing a basin in the overlying plate. Sometimes, the Earth's crust in these basins stretches so much it cracks, allowing magma through from the mantle beneath. Hence, basins often contain active volcanoes and hydrothermal vents.
An area of calm water unaffected by the current of a stream.
bacteria enriched soil
An arid terrain with clay-rich soil that has been extensively eroded by wind and water.
Baffin Bay
The biomass remaining after sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juice.
A convergence of neighboring alluvial fans into a single apron of deposits against a slope.
Bajocian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
Dehiscence of fruit occurs as an explosion, launching seeds far away from the plant (= ballochory).
banana plantation
The sloping margin of a watercourse, serving to confine it to its natural channel.
A linear shoaling landform feature within a body of water. Bars tend to be long and narrow (linear) and develop where a current (or waves) promote deposition of granular material, resulting in localized shallowing (shoaling) of the water. Bars can appear in the sea, in a lake, or in a river. They are typically composed of sand, although could be of any granular matter that the moving water has access to and is capable of shifting around (for example, soil, silt, gravel, cobble, shingle, or even boulders). The grain size of the material comprising a bar is related: to the size of the waves or the strength of the currents moving the material, but the availability of material to be worked by waves and currents is also important.
Barents Sea
All tissues outside the vascular cambium or the xylem; in older trees may be divided into dead outer bark and living inner bark, which consists of secondary phloem.
[database_cross_reference: POC:curators]
Barremian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
Bartonian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
basal metabolic rate
Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy expended daily by humans and other animals at rest. Rest is defined as existing in a neutrally temperate environment while in the post-absorptive state.
Basalt is a volcanic rock which is formed by the rapid cooling of basaltic lava.
base age
In forestry, the base age, is the reference age for determining a key productivity metric, the site index. The base age is often set near average rotation length for a species. The base age is 20 years for trees in temperate areas (>30 degrees north latitude), 10 years for trees in tropical areas (≤30 degrees north latitude), and 10 years for all shrubs and sub-shrubs.
Weiskittel, A. R., D. W. Hann, J. A. Kershaw, Jr., and J. K. Vanclay. 2011. Forest Growth and Yield Modeling. Wiley-Blackwell. -- USDA PLANTS database Characteristics Data Fields.
Bashkirian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
Bathonian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
bathyal zone
The mariine bathyal zone biome comprises regions of the marine benthic biome between approximately 200 m and 3000 m depth. This zone generally coincides with the continental slope.
bathyal zone (200-4000m)
bathypelagic zone
The one of an ocean below the 10degC thermocline down to a temperature of 4degC.
An area of water bordered by land on three sides.
A small, slow-moving stream or creek; usually located in low-lying areas.
A landform consisting of loose rock particles such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles, cobble, or even shell fragments along the shoreline of a body of water.
beach ridge
A ridge of sand just inland and parallel to the beach, usually in series.
beach sand
Beaufort Sea
beaver dam
An obstruction in a stream constructed by a beaver.
beaver pond
A pond that has formed as a consequence of the activities of beavers, building a beaver dam.
bedding-plane cave
A cavity developed along a bedding-plane and elongate in cross-section as a result.
beech forest soil
behavioral circadian rhythm
Any measurable or observable behavioral characteristic related to a daily biological activity cycle.
Living at the bottom of a body of water.
Bering Sea
Berriasian Age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
Of life span, a plant which lives for more than one but less than two years after germination, c.f. annual, ephemeral, perennial, of flowering with respect to architecture, hapaxanthic, monocarpic, pleonanthic.
Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 12, July 2012. Glossary:
Bile is a bodily fluid consisting of a bitter, yellow or green alkaline fluid secreted by hepatocytes from the liver of most vertebrates. In many species, bile is stored in the gallbladder between meals and upon eating is discharged into the duodenum where the bile aids the process of digestion of lipids.
bill height
The distance from the anterior to posterior edges of the bill.
bill length
Length of the bill.
A complex aggregation of microorganisms marked by the excretion of a protective and adhesive matrix; usually adhering to a substratum.
biofilm material
Material derived from a biofilm, an aggregate of microorganisms in which cells adhere to each other and/or to a surface. These adherent cells are frequently embedded within a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). Biofilm EPS, which is also referred to as slime, is a polymeric conglomeration generally composed of extracellular DNA, proteins, and polysaccharides in various configurations.
biogenic silica
A biogenic mineral comprised of hydrated silica
biogenous sediment
Biogenous sediment is derived from living organisms, typically planktonic organisms possessing shells, frustules or coccoliths.
Biogeographic realm
The largest scale biogeographic division of the earth's surface based on the historic and evolutionary distribution patterns of plants and animals.
biological waste
waste containing mostly natural organic materials (remains of plants, animal excrement, biological sludge from waste-water treatment plants and so forth)
Has this organism been observed to produce and transmit light?
A treated form of sludge, sometimes used as a fertilizer in agriculture.
biosphere reserve
An international conservation designation given by UNESCO under its Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB).
Biscayne Bay
A color that lacks any hues as parts.
black smoker
A hydrothermal vent found on the ocean floor. The vents are formed in fields hundreds of meters wide when superheated water from below the Earth's crust comes through the ocean floor. The superheated water is rich in dissolved minerals from the crust, most notably sulfides, which crystallize to create a chimney-like structure around each vent. When the superheated water in the vent comes in contact with the cold ocean water, many minerals are precipitated, creating the distinctive black color. The metal sulfides that are deposited can become massive sulfide ore deposits in time.
black smoker biome
A marine black smoker biome comprises regions of the marine hydrothermal vent biome characterised by a black vent plume. This black plume is a consequence of dissolved metals and minerals forming complexes with sulphide and indicates polymetallic sulphide mineral deposits beneath the surface.
blanket bog
A peatland whose development is mostly independent of basins or topographical features where water collects; it simply covers the landscape like a blanket. Peat develops due to a continuous supply of water from rainfall, maintaining waterlogged conditions on the ground. Blanket bogs are ombrotrophic or rain fed, and as a result their pH lies between 3.5 and 4.2.
Blood is a bodily fluid composed of blood plasma and blood cells suspended within the plasma that circulates around the organism's body. Blood performs may important functions including the supplying of oxygen and nutrients, removal of waste, circulation of white blood cells, detection of antibodes, coagulation, transportation of antibodies and the regulation of pH and body temperature.
blood plasma
Blood plasma is a bodily fluid that comprises the liquid component of blood, in which the blood cells are suspended. It makes up about 55% of total blood volume.
bloom period
The seasonal period in the U.S. during which the plant blooms the most. The bloom period is defined as the time when pollen is shed and stigmas are receptive.
USDA PLANTS database Characteristics Data Fields.
A hole in coastal rock through which sea water is forced by a rising tide or waves and spurted through an outlet into the air.
A sandy depression in a sand dune ecosystem (psammosere) caused by the removal of sediments by wind.
A color hue with low wavelength of that portion of the visible spectrum lying between green and indigo, evoked in the human observer by radiant energy with wavelengths of approximately 420 to 490 nanometers.
[database_cross_reference: Dictionary:]
blue-grass field soil
bodily fluid
A natural bodily fluid or secretion such as blood, semen, saliva, blood plasma, intracellular and interstitial fluids.
body length
A measurement of the longest dimension of a body, typically between two distinct ends of the body.
[database_cross_reference: Dorland:Dorlands_Illustrated_Medical_Dictionary--31st_Ed] [database_cross_reference: ISBN:978-1416049982]
body length (VT)
The distance from point to point along the longest axis of the body of an organism.
body length (VT)
The distance from point to point along the longest axis of the body of an organism.
Body length, nose to tail
The distance between the tip of the nose to the very end of the appendage extending from the end of the trunk of an organism
body mass
The amount of matter in the body of an organism
body mass
The amount of matter in the body of an organism.
body mass
The amount of matter in the body of an organism.
Body Shape
body shape (length to depth)
The ratio of total body length to maximum body depth
body shape (swim factor)
The ratio of minimum depth of the caudal peduncle to the maximum depth of the caudal fin. Small factors are indicative of strong swimmers
Webb, P. W. 1984. Form and function in fish swimming. Scientific American 251:58–68.
Body size
The size of a multicellular organism
body temperature
The degree of heat in the body of a living organism, temperature is measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in a sample of matter, expressed in terms of units or degrees designated on a standard scale.
Body Temperature
automatically added during harvest
Body Volume
Volume occupied by the whole body of one individual of this taxon
body width
The distance from side to side of the body of an organism, perpendicular to the axis along which height is measured.
bone meal
A mixture of crushed and coarsely ground bones that is used as an organic fertilizer for plants and formerly in animal feed.
borax leachate
bore hole water
botanical garden
A place where a wide variety of plants primarily categorized and documented for scientific purposes.
A piece of rock with a grain size above 300 millimetres in diameter. Smaller boulders are, at times, referred to as rocks or stones.
boulder field
A high altitude or high latitude bare, flat area covered with large angular rocks.
boulder sediment
Sediment characterised by an average particle diameter greater than 256 mm.
boundary current front
brackish estuary
brackish lake
brackish pond
brackish water
brackish water environment
brackish water habitat
A habitat that is in or on a body of water (as in estuaries) containing medium concentrations of dissolved salts and other total dissolved solids (typically 0.5 to 35 grams dissolved salts per litre).
A built structure erected over a depression or obstacle to carry traffic or some facility such as a pipeline.
Water saturated or nearly saturated with salt (NaCl). It is used (now less popular than historically) to preserve vegetables, fish, and meat.
brine pool
A large area of brine on the ocean basin near cold seep vents which release methane into the water. These pools are concentrations of water having an extremely high salinity as compared to the surrounding ocean, caused by the motion of large salt deposits through salt tectonics.