English dictionary of Ecology

English dictionary of Ecology

English dictionary of Ecology

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A
accident
an unfortunate mishap; especially one causing damage or injury

acid rain ; acid precipitation
rain containing acids that form in the atmosphere when industrial gas emissions (especially sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) combine with water

act ; enactment
a legal document codifying the result of deliberations of a committee or society or legislative body

adaptation ; version
a written work (as a novel) that has been recast in a new form; "the play is an adaptation of a short novel"

air
a mixture of gases (especially oxygen) required for breathing; the stuff that the wind consists of; "air pollution"; "a smell of chemicals in the air"; "open a window and let in some air"; "I need some fresh air"

air pollution
pollution of the atmosphere; "air pollution reduced the visibility"

alluvium ; alluvion
clay or silt or gravel carried by rushing streams and deposited where the stream slows down

ambiance ; ambience
the atmosphere of an environment

ammonium nitrate
used as an explosive and fertilizer and rocket propellant

area ; country
a particular geographical region of indefinite boundary (usually serving some special purpose or distinguished by its people or culture or geography); "it was a mountainous area"; "Bible country"

artificial ; unreal
contrived by art rather than nature; "artificial flowers"; "artificial flavoring"; "an artificial diamond"; "artificial fibers"; "artificial sweeteners"

ash
the residue that remains when something is burned

atmosphere ; air
the mass of air surrounding the Earth; "there was great heat as the comet entered the atmosphere"; "it was exposed to the air"

atmosphere ; ambience
a particular environment or surrounding influence; "there was an atmosphere of excitement"

avalanche
a slide of large masses of snow and ice and mud down a mountain

azote
an obsolete name for nitrogen


B
bacteria ; bacterium
(microbiology) single-celled or noncellular spherical or spiral or rod-shaped organisms lacking chlorophyll that reproduce by fission; important as pathogens and for biochemical properties; taxonomy is difficult; often considered to be plants

balance
a state of equilibrium

balance ; equilibrium ; equipoise
equality of distribution

biomass
the total mass of living matter in a given unit area

biomass
plant materials and animal waste used as fuel

biome
a major biotic community characterized by the dominant forms of plant life and the prevailing climate

biosphere
the regions of the surface and atmosphere of the Earth (or other planet) where living organisms exist

breakdown ; equipment failure
a cessation of normal operation; "there was a power breakdown"

brook ; creek
a natural stream of water smaller than a river (and often a tributary of a river); "the creek dried up every summer"

butane
occurs in natural gas; used in the manufacture of rubber and fuels


C
calamity ; catastrophe ; disaster ; tragedy ; cataclysm
an event resulting in great loss and misfortune; "the whole city was affected by the irremediable calamity"; "the earthquake was a disaster"

capacity ; content
the amount that can be contained; "the gas tank has a capacity of 12 gallons"

carbon dioxide ; carbonic acid gas
a heavy odorless colorless gas formed during respiration and by the decomposition of organic substances; absorbed from the air by plants in photosynthesis

carcinogen
any substance that produces cancer

carnivore
any animal that feeds on flesh; "Tyrannosaurus Rex was a large carnivore"; "insectivorous plants are considered carnivores"

catastrophe ; disaster
a state of extreme (usually irremediable) ruin and misfortune; "lack of funds has resulted in a catastrophe for our school system"; "his policies were a disaster"

chlorofluorocarbon ; CFC
a fluorocarbon with chlorine; formerly used as a refrigerant and as a propellant in aerosol cans; "the chlorine in CFCs causes depletion of atmospheric ozone"

chlorophyll ; chlorophyl
any of a group of green pigments found in photosynthetic organisms; there are four naturally occurring forms

cinder ; clinker
a fragment of incombustible matter left after a wood or coal or charcoal fire

coal
fossil fuel consisting of carbonized vegetable matter deposited in the Carboniferous period

colony ; settlement
a body of people who settle far from home but maintain ties with their homeland; inhabitants remain nationals of their home state but are not literally under the home state's system of government; "the American colony in Paris"

compost
a mixture of decaying vegetation and manure; used as a fertilizer

concentration
the strength of a solution; number of molecules of a substance in a given volume

conservation
the preservation and careful management of the environment and of natural resources

consumer
a person who uses goods or services

contamination ; taint
the state of being contaminated

control
power to direct or determine; "under control"

coral
marine colonial polyp characterized by a calcareous skeleton; masses in a variety of shapes often forming reefs

country ; land
the territory occupied by a nation; "he returned to the land of his birth"; "he visited several European countries"

crash ; wreck
a serious accident (usually involving one or more vehicles); "they are still investigating the crash of the TWA plane"


D
damp ; dampness ; moistness
a slight wetness

debacle ; fiasco
a sudden and violent collapse

decay ; decomposition
the organic phenomenon of rotting

decomposition
(chemistry) separation of a substance into two or more substances that may differ from each other and from the original substance

decomposition ; rot ; putrefaction
(biology) the process of decay caused by bacterial or fungal action

defilement ; pollution
the state of being polluted

density ; denseness
the amount per unit size

desert
arid land with little or no vegetation

detergent
a cleansing agent that differs from soap but can also emulsify oils and hold dirt in suspension

dioxin
any of several toxic or carcinogenic hydrocarbons that occur as impurities in herbicides

dissolution ; disintegration
separation into component parts

district ; territory
a region marked off for administrative or other purposes

dump
a piece of land where waste materials are dumped


E
earth ; ground
the loose soft material that makes up a large part of the land surface; "they dug into the earth outside the church"

ecology ; bionomics
the branch of biology concerned with the relations between organisms and their environment

ecosystem
a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment

electricity ; electrical energy
energy made available by the flow of electric charge through a conductor; "they built a car that runs on electricity"

emission ; emanation
the act of emitting; causing to flow forth

energy ; free energy
(physics) a thermodynamic quantity equivalent to the capacity of a physical system to do work; the units of energy are joules or ergs; "energy can take a wide variety of forms"

environment
the totality of surrounding conditions; "he longed for the comfortable environment of his living room"

environment ; environs ; surroundings
the area in which something exists or lives; "the country--the flat agricultural surround"

environmentalism
the activity of protecting the environment from pollution or destruction

equilibrium
a stable situation in which forces cancel one another

erosion
condition in which the earth's surface is worn away by the action of water and wind

erosion
(geology) the mechanical process of wearing or grinding something down (as by particles washing over it)

ethylene ; ethene
a flammable colorless gaseous alkene; obtained from petroleum and natural gas and used in manufacturing many other chemicals; sometimes used as an anesthetic

exhaust
gases ejected from an engine as waste products

extraction
the process of obtaining something from a mixture or compound by chemical or physical or mechanical means


F
factitious
not produced by natural forces; "brokers created a factitious demand for stocks"

fertilizer ; fertiliser
any substance such as manure or a mixture of nitrates used to make soil more fertile

food chain
(ecology) a community of organisms where each member is eaten in turn by another member

fuel
a substance that can be consumed to produce energy; "more fuel is needed during the winter months"; "they developed alternative fuels for aircraft"


G
garbage ; refuse
food that is discarded (as from a kitchen)

gas turbine
turbine that converts the chemical energy of a liquid fuel into mechanical energy by internal combustion; gaseous products of the fuel (which is burned in compressed air) are expanded through a turbine

generator
engine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy by electromagnetic induction

glacier
a slowly moving mass of ice

global warming
an increase in the average temperature of the earth's atmosphere (especially a sustained increase that causes climatic changes)

greenhouse effect ; greenhouse warming
warming that results when solar radiation is trapped by the atmosphere; caused by atmospheric gases that allow sunshine to pass through but absorb heat that is radiated back from the warmed surface of the earth

ground ; land ; soil
material in the top layer of the surface of the earth in which plants can grow (especially with reference to its quality or use); "the land had never been plowed"; "good agricultural soil"

growth ; growing ; ontogeny ; ontogenesis
(biology) the process of an individual organism growing organically; a purely biological unfolding of events involved in an organism changing gradually from a simple to a more complex level; "he proposed an indicator of osseous development in children"

gumminess ; tackiness ; viscidity
the property of being cohesive and sticky


H
heat ; warmth
the sensation caused by heat energy

herbicide ; weedkiller
a chemical agent that destroys plants or inhibits their growth

herbivore
any animal that feeds chiefly on grass and other plants; "horses are herbivores"; "the sauropod dinosaurs were apparently herbivores"

high-level radioactive waste
radioactive waste that left in a nuclear reactor after the nuclear fuel has been consumed

host
a person who invites guests to a social event (such as a party in his or her own home) and who is responsible for them while they are there

humus
partially decomposed organic matter; the organic component of soil

hydrolysis
a chemical reaction in which water reacts with a compound to produce other compounds; involves the splitting of a bond and the addition of the hydrogen cation and the hydroxide anion from the water

hydrosphere
the watery layer of the earth's surface; includes water vapor


I
iceberg ; berg
a large mass of ice floating at sea; usually broken off of a polar glacier

infrared
having or employing wavelengths longer than light but shorter than radio waves; lying outside the visible spectrum at its red end; "infrared radiation"; "infrared photography"

insulation
the state of being isolated or detached; "the insulation of England was preserved by the English Channel"

inversion
the act of turning inside out

inversion
the layer of air near the earth is cooler than an overlying layer


K
keeping ; safekeeping
the responsibility of a guardian or keeper; "he left his car in my keeping"


L
lake
a body of (usually fresh) water surrounded by land

land
the land on which real estate is located; "he built the house on land leased from the city"

land ; earth ; ground
the solid part of the earth's surface; "the plane turned away from the sea and moved back over land"; "the earth shook for several minutes"; "he dropped the logs on the ground"

law
legal document setting forth rules governing a particular kind of activity; "there is a law against kidnapping"

lichen
any thallophytic plant of the division Lichenes; occur as crusty patches or bushy growths on tree trunks or rocks or bare ground etc.

lignite ; brown coal
intermediate between peat and bituminous coal

limit ; bound ; boundary
the greatest possible degree of something; "what he did was beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior"; "to the limit of his ability"

limit ; limitation
the greatest amount of something that is possible or allowed; "there are limits on the amount you can bet"; "it is growing rapidly with no limitation in sight"

loch
Scottish word for a lake

lumber ; timber
the wood of trees cut and prepared for use as building material


M
man-made ; synthetic
not of natural origin; prepared or made artificially; "man-made fibers"; "synthetic leather"

maximum ; upper limit
the largest possible quantity

menace ; threat
something that is a source of danger; "earthquakes are a constant threat in Japan"

microbe ; germ
a minute life form (especially a disease-causing bacterium); the term is not in technical use

minimum ; lower limit
the smallest possible quantity

mining ; excavation
the act of extracting ores or coal etc from the earth

moisture ; wet
wetness caused by water; "drops of wet gleamed on the window"

monomer
a simple compound whose molecules can join together to form polymers

mutation
(genetics) any event that changes genetic structure; any alteration in the inherited nucleic acid sequence of the genotype of an organism


N
national park
a tract of land declared by the national government to be public property

natural
existing in or produced by nature; not artificial or imitation; "a natural pearl"; "natural gas"; "natural silk"; "natural blonde hair"; "a natural sweetener"; "natural fertilizers"

niche ; ecological niche
(ecology) the status of an organism within its environment and community (affecting its survival as a species)

nitrogen
a common nonmetallic element that is normally a colorless odorless tasteless inert diatomic gas; constitutes 78 percent of the atmosphere by volume; a constituent of all living tissues

noise pollution ; sound pollution
annoying and potentially harmful environmental noise

nuclear reactor ; reactor
(physics) any of several kinds of apparatus that maintain and control a nuclear reaction for the production of energy or artificial elements


O
ocean
a large body of water constituting a principal part of the hydrosphere

oil
a slippery or viscous liquid or liquefiable substance not miscible with water

oil ; petroleum ; crude oil ; crude
a dark oil consisting mainly of hydrocarbons

optimum
most favorable conditions or greatest degree or amount possible under given circumstances

outburst ; burst
a sudden intense happening; "an outburst of heavy rain"; "a burst of lightning"

oxygen
a nonmetallic bivalent element that is normally a colorless odorless tasteless nonflammable diatomic gas; constitutes 21 percent of the atmosphere by volume; the most abundant element in the earth's crust

ozone
a colorless gas (O3) soluble in alkalis and cold water; a strong oxidizing agent; can be produced by electric discharge in oxygen or by the action of ultraviolet radiation on oxygen in the stratosphere (where it acts as a screen for ultraviolet radiation)


P
paper
a material made of cellulose pulp derived mainly from wood or rags or certain grasses

parasite
an animal or plant that lives in or on a host (another animal or plant); it obtains nourishment from the host without benefiting or killing the host

parasitism
the relation between two different kinds of organisms in which one receives benefits from the other by causing damage to it (usually not fatal damage)

pesticide
a chemical used to kill pests (as rodents or insects)

pH ; pH scale
(from potential of Hydrogen) the logarithm of the reciprocal of hydrogen-ion concentration in gram atoms per liter; provides a measure on a scale from 0 to 14 of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution (where 7 is neutral and greater than 7 is more basic and less than 7 is more acidic);

phenol
any of a class of weakly acidic organic compounds; molecule contains one or more hydroxyl groups

phenol
a toxic white soluble crystalline acidic derivative of benzene; used in manufacturing and as a disinfectant and antiseptic; poisonous if taken internally

phosphate
a salt of phosphoric acid

photosynthesis
synthesis of compounds with the aid of radiant energy (especially in plants)

poise
a state of being balanced in a stable equilibrium

poisonous ; toxicant
having the qualities or effects of a poison

pollutant
waste matter that contaminates the water or air or soil

pollution
undesirable state of the natural environment being contaminated with harmful substances as a consequence of human activities

polyethylene ; polythene
a lightweight thermoplastic; used especially in packaging and insulation

polymer
a naturally occurring or synthetic compound consisting of large molecules made up of a linked series of repeated simple monomers

population
the people who inhabit a territory or state; "the population seemed to be well fed and clothed"

power station ; power plant ; powerhouse
an electrical generating station

precaution ; safeguard ; guard
a precautionary measure warding off impending danger or damage or injury etc.; "he put an ice pack on the injury as a precaution"; "an insurance policy is a good safeguard"; "we let our guard down"

precipitation ; downfall
the falling to earth of any form of water (rain or snow or hail or sleet or mist)

propane
colorless gas found in natural gas and petroleum; used as a fuel

protection
the activity of protecting someone or something; "the witnesses demanded police protection"


Q
quota
a prescribed number; "all the salesmen met their quota for the month"


R
radioactive
exhibiting or caused by radioactivity; "radioactive isotope"; "radioactive decay"; "radioactive fallout"

rain ; rainfall
water falling in drops from vapor condensed in the atmosphere

rain ; rainwater
drops of fresh water that fall as precipitation from clouds

recycling
the act of processing used or abandoned materials for use in creating new products

region
a large indefinite location on the surface of the Earth; "penguins inhabit the polar regions"

region ; part
the extended spatial location of something; "the farming regions of France"; "religions in all parts of the world"; "regions of outer space"

regulation ; regulating
the act of controlling or directing according to rule; "fiscal regulations are in the hands of politicians"

rule ; principle
a basic generalization that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning or conduct; "their principles of composition characterized all their works"


S
saltpeter ; saltpetre ; niter ; nitre
(KNO3) used especially as a fertilizer and explosive

sediment ; deposit
matter that has been deposited by some natural process

self-sufficient ; self-sustaining
able to provide for your own needs without help from others; "a self-sufficing economic unit"

sewage ; sewerage
waste matter carried away in sewers or drains

shrub ; bush
a low woody perennial plant usually having several major stems

silage ; ensilage
fodder harvested while green and kept succulent by partial fermentation as in a silo

silt
mud or clay or small rocks deposited by a river or lake

sludge ; slime ; goo ; guck ; ooze
any thick, viscous matter

smog ; smogginess
air pollution by a mixture of smoke and fog

sodium nitrate ; soda niter
(NaNO3) used especially as a fertilizer and explosive

solar energy ; solar power
energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy; "the amount of energy falling on the earth is given by the solar constant, but very little use has been made of solar energy"

sourness ; acidity
the property of being acidic

stamina
enduring strength and energy

starch ; amylum
a complex carbohydrate found chiefly in seeds, fruits, tubers, roots and stem pith of plants, notably in corn, potatoes, wheat, and rice; an important foodstuff and used otherwise especially in adhesives and as fillers and stiffeners for paper and textiles

steppe
extensive plain without trees (associated with eastern Russia and Siberia)

stream ; watercourse
a natural body of running water flowing on or under the earth

substrate ; substratum
any stratum or layer lying underneath another

sulfur dioxide ; sulphur dioxide
a colorless toxic gas (SO2) that occurs in the gases from volcanoes; used in many manufacturing processes and present in industrial emissions; causes acid rain

sun ; Sun
the star that is the source of light and heat for the planets in the solar system; "the sun contains 99.85% of the mass in the solar system"; "the Earth revolves around the Sun"

symbiosis ; mutualism
the relation between two different species of organisms that are interdependent; each gains benefits from the other

system ; scheme
a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole; "a vast system of production and distribution and consumption keep the country going"


T
tanker
a cargo ship designed to carry crude oil in bulk

thaw ; thawing
warm weather following a freeze; snow and ice melt; "they welcomed the spring thaw"

thickness
the dimension through an object as opposed to its length or width

toxic
of or relating to or caused by a toxin or poison; "suffering from exposure to toxic substances"

toxin
a poisonous substance produced during the metabolism and growth of certain microorganisms and some higher plant and animal species

tree
a tall perennial woody plant having a main trunk and branches forming a distinct elevated crown; includes both gymnosperms and angiosperms

tundra
a vast treeless plain in the Arctic regions where the subsoil is permanently frozen

turbine
rotary engine in which the kinetic energy of a moving fluid is converted into mechanical energy by causing a bladed rotor to rotate


U
ultraviolet
having or employing wavelengths shorter than light but longer than X-rays; lying outside the visible spectrum at its violet end; "ultraviolet radiation"; "an ultraviolet lamp"

United Nations ; UN
an organization of independent states formed in 1945 to promote international peace and security

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization ; UNESCO
an agency of the United Nations that promotes education and communication and the arts

urea ; carbamide
the chief solid component of mammalian urine; synthesized from ammonia and carbon dioxide and used as fertilizer and in animal feed and in plastics


V
vegetation ; flora
all the plant life in a particular region or period; "Pleistocene vegetation"; "the flora of southern California"; "the botany of China"

viscosity ; viscousness
resistance of a liquid to shear forces (and hence to flow)

volcanic eruption ; eruption
the sudden occurrence of a violent discharge of steam and volcanic material

volcano ; vent
a fissure in the earth's crust (or in the surface of some other planet) through which molten lava and gases erupt


W
warmth ; warmness
the quality of having a moderate degree of heat; "an agreeable warmth in the house"

waste
any materials unused and rejected as worthless or unwanted; "they collect the waste once a week"; "much of the waste material is carried off in the sewers"

water pollution
pollution of the water in rivers and lakes

wind
air moving (sometimes with considerable force) from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure; "trees bent under the fierce winds"; "when there is no wind, row"; "the radioactivity was being swept upwards by the air current and out into the atmosphere"

wind farm ; wind park ; wind energy facility
a power plant that uses wind turbines to generate electricity

windmill
generator that extracts usable energy from winds

wood
the hard fibrous lignified substance under the bark of trees


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