Glossary

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The Beekeeping Crisis in Europe - an Environmentalist's point of view

Index



Additive effect

In a combination of agents, an effect equal to the sum of the effects of each agent.

Arthropod

An invertebrate animal with a segmented body covered by a hard external layer which forms an external skeleton. This phylum comprises e.g. some insects, centipedes, crabs, spiders, scorpions and mites.

Bioaccumulation

The process whereby pollutants are taken up, retained and concentrated in the cells of an organism. A toxic substance "bioaccumulates" in an organism if the input of a toxic substance to an organism is greater than the rate at which the substance is eliminated. The contaminants build up in tissues (usually fatty tissue) through ingestion, skin contact or respiratory tissue. The longer the biological halflife of the substance, the greater the risk of chronic poisoning symptoms, even if environmental levels of the toxin are very low. The term is used especially for toxic substances that accumulate via a food chain, as they are amassed in top predators' bodies through the consumption of food containing the substance.

Brood

A collective term for offspring.

In bees: The young of a beehive, comprising the egg, larva and pupa stages.

Carcinogen

A substance that causes or promotes cancerous growth.

Coevolution

Simultaneous evolution of different species, in which each species adapts to the pressures imposed by the other species.

Cosmopolitan

Which can be found in almost everywhere the world.


Ecosystem service

Material, processes and energy flows generated by the environment or components of the environment that are of advantage or benefit to humans.

Ecotoxicity

Quality of a substance which present immediate or delayed risks for the environment.

Endocrine disruptor

A substance that alters the hormonal system leading to adverse health effects in an organism, its progeny, or (sub-)populations.

Environmental Protection Agency

An agency of the federal government of the United States in charge of the protection of human and environmental health, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.

EPA

See Environmental Protection Agency

Imago

The final development stage of an insect, or its "adult" form.

Halflife

The mean time required for half of a toxic substance to break down into metabolites. It gives a measure of the persistence of a substance in the environment.

For radioactive substances: the mean time required for the activity to decrease to half its value.

Hormesis

Positive biological response to a toxin of stressor at lower rather than higher doses of that toxin of stressor.

Invasive species

Exotic species that have been introduced by humans in a new ecosystem and has been so successful to develop that it represents a threat to biodiversity in the ecosystem where it has been implanted.

LD50

See Lethal dose 50

Lethal dose 50

An indicator of the toxicity of a substance or radiation. It corresponds to the dose of the substance at which 50% of the test organisms will die. The smaller the value, the more toxic the substance.

Lipophilicity

The ability of a chemical substance to dissolve and remain stored in fats.

Maximum Residue Limit

Amount of pesticide residues and metabolites in food that should not exceed a level resulting from "good agricultural practice" and providing that the daily intake of one product does not result in an intake of the pesticide greater than the amount admitted as safe for long-term consumption.

Metabolite

Intermediate state of a product resulting from its chemical degradation. Metabolites can have unpredictable effects on organisms.

MRL

See Maximum Residue Limit

Pedofauna

The animals that live in the soil.

Pheromone

A chemical signal emitted by an organism that triggers a behavioural response in the members of the same species. In particular, insects like bees communicates with pheromones.

Sublethal

Refers to a dose of a toxic substance that is insufficient to cause the death of an organism.

Superorganism

An organism consisting of several individuals of one animal species. The individuals are each assigned to a highly specialised task inside the superorganism in which the community prevails upon the individuals.

Synergy

A dynamic combination of agents resulting in effects greater than the sum of the effects of all individual agents.

Synergistic effect

See Synergy.

Trait

A physical or behavioural characteristic of an organism that may be inherited, environmentally determined or determined by a variable combination of both.




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