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Biodiversity
BIODIVERSITY, a portmanteau of "biological diversity," generally refers to the variety and variability of life on Earth
Earth
. According to the United Nations Environment Programme , biodiversity typically measures variation at the genetic , the species , and the ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity tends to be greater near the equator , which seems to be the result of the warm climate and high primary productivity . Biodiversity
Biodiversity
is not distributed evenly on Earth
Earth
, and is richest in the tropics. These tropical forest ecosystems cover less than 10 per cent of earth's surface, and contain about 90 percent of the world's species. Marine biodiversity tends to be highest along coasts in the Western Pacific , where sea surface temperature is highest and in the mid-latitudinal band in all oceans. There are latitudinal gradients in species diversity . Biodiversity
Biodiversity
generally tends to cluster in hotspots, and has been increasing through time, but will be likely to slow in the future. Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass extinctions
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Portmanteau
A PORTMANTEAU (/pɔːrtˈmæntoʊ/ (_ listen ), /ˌpɔːrtmænˈtoʊ/ ; plural portmanteaus_ or _portmanteaux_ /-ˈtoʊz/ ) or PORTMANTEAU WORD is a linguistic blend of words , in which parts of multiple words or their phones (sounds) are combined into a new word, as in _smog_, coined by blending _smoke_ and _fog_, or _motel_, from _motor_ and _hotel_. In linguistics , a portmanteau is defined as a single morph that represents two or more morphemes . The definition overlaps with the grammatical term _contraction _, but contractions are formed from words that would otherwise appear together in sequence, such as _do_ and _not_ to make _don't_, whereas a portmanteau word is formed by combining two or more existing words that all relate to a singular concept which the portmanteau describes. A portmanteau also differs from a compound , which does not involve the truncation of parts of the stems of the blended words. For instance, _starfish_ is a compound, not a portmanteau, of _star_ and _fish_; whereas a hypothetical portmanteau of _star_ and _fish_ might be _stish_
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Genetic Variability
GENETIC VARIABILITY is either the presence of, or the generation of, genetic differences. It is defined as the formation of individuals differing in genotype , or the presence of genotypically different individuals, in contrast to environmentally induced differences which, as a rule, cause only temporary, nonheritable changes of the phenotype . Genetic variability in a population is important for biodiversity . CONTENTS * 1 Causes * 2 Factors that decrease genetic variability * 3 See also * 4 References CAUSESThere are many sources of genetic variability in a population: * Homologous recombination is a significant source of variability. During meiosis in sexual organisms, two homologous chromosomes cross over one another and exchange genetic material. The chromosomes then split apart and are ready to contribute to forming an offspring. Recombination is random and is governed by its own set of genes. Being controlled by genes means that recombination is variable in frequency. * Immigration , emigration , and translocation – each of these is the movement of an individual into or out of a population. When an individual comes from a previously genetically isolated population into a new one it will increase the genetic variability of the next generation if it reproduces
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Life
Life on Earth: * Non-cellular life * Viruses * Viroids * Cellular life * Domain Bacteria * Domain Archaea * Domain Eukarya * Archaeplastida * SAR * Excavata * Amoebozoa * Opisthokonta This article is one of a series on: LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE ASTROBIOLOGY LIFE IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM Life on Venus Life on Earth Life on Mars Life on Europa Life on Titan LIFE OUTSIDE THE SOLAR SYSTEM SETI Exoplanetology Planetary habitability Circumstellar habitable zone * v * t * e LIFE is a characteristic distinguishing physical entities having biological processes , such as signaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased , or because they never had such functions and are classified as inanimate. Various forms of life exist, such as plants , animals , fungi , protists , archaea , and bacteria . The criteria can at times be ambiguous and may or may not define viruses , viroids , or potential artificial life as "living". Biology is the primary science concerned with the study of life, although many other sciences are involved. The definition of life is controversial
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United Nations Environment Programme
The UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME is an agency of United Nations and coordinates its environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices . It was founded by Maurice Strong , its first director, as a result of the United Nations
United Nations
Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) in June 1972 and Environment has overall responsibility for environmental problems among United Nations agencies but international talks on specialized issues, such as addressing global warming or combating desertification, are overseen by other UN organizations, like the Bonn-based Secretariat of the United Nations
United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification . UN Environment activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere , marine and terrestrial ecosystems , environmental governance and green economy
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Genetics
GENETICS is the study of genes , genetic variation , and heredity in living organisms . It is generally considered a field of biology , but intersects frequently with many other life sciences and is strongly linked with the study of information systems . The father of genetics is Gregor Mendel
Gregor Mendel
, a late 19th-century scientist and Augustinian
Augustinian
friar . Mendel studied "trait inheritance", patterns in the way traits are handed down from parents to offspring. He observed that organisms (pea plants) inherit traits by way of discrete "units of inheritance". This term, still used today, is a somewhat ambiguous definition of what is referred to as a gene . Trait inheritance and molecular inheritance mechanisms of genes are still primary principles of genetics in the 21st century, but modern genetics has expanded beyond inheritance to studying the function and behavior of genes. Gene
Gene
structure and function, variation, and distribution are studied within the context of the cell , the organism (e.g. dominance ), and within the context of a population. Genetics has given rise to a number of subfields, including epigenetics and population genetics . Organisms studied within the broad field span the domain of life, including bacteria , plants , animals , and humans
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Species
In biology , a SPECIES (abbreviated SP., with the plural form SPECIES abbreviated SPP.) is the basic unit of biological classification and a taxonomic rank . A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which two individuals can produce fertile offspring , typically by sexual reproduction . While this definition is often adequate, looked at more closely it is problematic . For example, with hybridisation , in a species complex of hundreds of similar microspecies , or in a ring species , the boundaries between closely related species become unclear. Other ways of defining species include similarity of DNA , morphology , or ecological niche . All species are given a two-part name , a "binomial". The first part of a binomial is the genus to which the species belongs. The second part is called the specific name or the specific epithet (in botanical nomenclature , also sometimes in zoological nomenclature ). For example, _ Boa constrictor _ is one of four species of the _Boa _ genus. Species were seen from the time of Aristotle until the 18th century as fixed kinds that could be arranged in a hierarchy, the great chain of being . In the 19th century, biologists grasped that species could evolve given sufficient time
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Ecosystem
An ECOSYSTEM is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system. These biotic and abiotic components are regarded as linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. As ecosystems are defined by the network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment, they can be of any size but usually encompass specific, limited spaces (although some scientists say that the entire planet is an ecosystem). Energy, water, nitrogen and soil minerals are other essential abiotic components of an ecosystem. The energy that flows through ecosystems is obtained primarily from the sun. It generally enters the system through photosynthesis , a process that also captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By feeding on plants and on one another, animals play an important role in the movement of matter and energy through the system. They also influence the quantity of plant and microbial biomass present. By breaking down dead organic matter, decomposers release carbon back to the atmosphere and facilitate nutrient cycling by converting nutrients stored in dead biomass back to a form that can be readily used by plants and other microbes
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Equator
An EQUATOR is the intersection of the surface of a rotating spheroid (such as a planet ) with the plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation and midway between its poles . On Earth , _the Equator_ is an imaginary line on the surface, equidistant from the North and South Poles , dividing the Earth into Northern and Southern Hemispheres . It is about 40,075 kilometres (24,901 mi) long, of which 78.7% lies across water and 21.3% over land. CONTENTS * 1 Overview * 2 Equatorial seasons and climate * 3 Equatorial countries and territories * 4 Crossing-the- Equator ceremonies * 5 Geodesy * 5.1 Precise location * 5.2 Exact length * 6 Climate * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Sources OVERVIEW Left: A monument marking the Equator near the town of Pontianak, Indonesia Right: Road sign marking the Equator near Nanyuki , Kenya The latitude of the Earth's equator is, by definition, 0° (zero degrees ) of arc. The Equator is one of the five notable circles of latitude on Earth; the other four are the two Polar Circles (the Arctic Circle and the Antarctic Circle ) and the two Tropical Circles (the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn )
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Climate
Atmospheric physics Atmospheric dynamics (category) Atmospheric chemistry (category) METEOROLOGY Weather (category) · (portal) Tropical cyclone (category) CLIMATOLOGY Climate (category) Climate change (category) Global warming (category) · (portal) * v * t * e Part of the nature series WEATHER CALENDAR SEASONS *
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Primary Productivity
In ecology , PRIMARY PRODUCTION is the synthesis of organic compounds from atmospheric or aqueous carbon dioxide . It principally occurs through the process of photosynthesis , which uses light as its source of energy, but it also occurs through chemosynthesis , which uses the oxidation or reduction of inorganic chemical compounds as its source of energy. Almost all life on Earth
Earth
relies directly or indirectly on primary production. The organisms responsible for primary production are known as primary producers or autotrophs , and form the base of the food chain . In terrestrial ecoregions , these are mainly plants , while in aquatic ecoregions algae predominate in this role. Ecologists distinguish primary production as either net or gross, the former accounting for losses to processes such as cellular respiration , the latter not
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Earth
EARTH is the third planet from the Sun and the only object in the Universe known to harbor life . According to radiometric dating and other sources of evidence, Earth formed over 4 billion years ago . Earth\'s gravity interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon , Earth's only natural satellite . During one orbit around the Sun , Earth rotates about its axis about 365.26 times; thus, an Earth year is about 365.26 days long. Earth's axis of rotation is tilted, producing seasonal variations on the planet's surface. The gravitational interaction between the Earth and Moon causes ocean tides , stabilizes the Earth's orientation on its axis, and gradually slows its rotation. Earth is the densest planet in the Solar System and the largest of the four terrestrial planets . Earth\'s lithosphere is divided into several rigid tectonic plates that migrate across the surface over periods of many millions of years. About 71% of Earth's surface is covered with water , mostly by its oceans . The remaining 29% is land consisting of continents and islands that together have many lakes, rivers and other sources of water that contribute to the hydrosphere . The majority of Earth's polar regions are covered in ice, including the Antarctic ice sheet and the sea ice of the Arctic ice pack
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Marine Biology
MARINE BIOLOGY is the scientific study of organisms in the sea . Given that in biology many phyla , families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather than on taxonomy . A large proportion of all life on Earth lives in the ocean. The exact size of this _large proportion_ is unknown, since many ocean species are still to be discovered. The ocean is a complex three-dimensional world covering approximately 71% of the Earth's surface. The habitats studied in marine biology include everything from the tiny layers of surface water in which organisms and abiotic items may be trapped in surface tension between the ocean and atmosphere, to the depths of the oceanic trenches , sometimes 10,000 meters or more beneath the surface of the ocean. Specific habitats include coral reefs , kelp forests , seagrass meadows , the surrounds of seamounts and thermal vents , tidepools , muddy, sandy and rocky bottoms, and the open ocean (pelagic ) zone, where solid objects are rare and the surface of the water is the only visible boundary. The organisms studied range from microscopic phytoplankton and zooplankton to huge cetaceans (whales) 30 meters (98 feet) in length. Marine ecology is the study of how marine organisms interact with each other and the environment
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Pacific Ocean
The PACIFIC OCEAN is the largest and deepest of Earth 's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica ) in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east. At 165,250,000 square kilometers (63,800,000 square miles) in area, this largest division of the World Ocean —and, in turn, the hydrosphere —covers about 46% of Earth's water surface and about one-third of its total surface area, making it larger than all of Earth's land area combined. The equator subdivides it into the NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN and SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN, with two exceptions: the Galápagos and Gilbert Islands , while straddling the equator, are deemed wholly within the South Pacific. The Mariana Trench in the western North Pacific is the deepest point in the world, reaching a depth of 10,911 meters (35,797 feet). Both the center of the Water Hemisphere and the Western Hemisphere are in the Pacific Ocean
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Sea Surface Temperature
SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE (SST) is the water temperature close to the ocean 's surface. The exact meaning of surface varies according to the measurement method used, but it is between 1 millimetre (0.04 in) and 20 metres (70 ft) below the sea surface. Air masses in the Earth\'s atmosphere are highly modified by sea surface temperatures within a short distance of the shore. Localized areas of heavy snow can form in bands downwind of warm water bodies within an otherwise cold air mass. Warm sea surface temperatures are known to be a cause of tropical cyclogenesis over the Earth 's oceans. Tropical cyclones can also cause a cool wake, due to turbulent mixing of the upper 30 metres (100 ft) of the ocean. SST changes diurnally, like the air above it, but to a lesser degree. There is less SST variation on breezy days than on calm days. In addition, ocean currents such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), can effect SST's on multi-decadal time scales, a major impact results from the global thermohaline circulation, which affects average SST significantly throughout most of the world's oceans. Coastal SSTs can cause offshore winds to generate upwelling , which can significantly cool or warm nearby landmasses, but shallower waters over a continental shelf are often warmer. Onshore winds can cause a considerable warm-up even in areas where upwelling is fairly constant, such as the northwest coast of South America
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Latitudinal Gradients In Species Diversity
The increase in species richness or biodiversity that occurs from the poles to the tropics , often referred to as the LATITUDINAL DIVERSITY GRADIENT (LDG), is one of the most widely recognized patterns in ecology . Put another way, in the present day localities at lower latitudes generally have more species than localities at higher latitudes. The LDG has been observed to varying degrees in Earth's past. Explaining the latitudinal diversity gradient is one of the great contemporary challenges of biogeography and macroecology (Willig et al. 2003, Pimm and Brown 2004, Cardillo et al. 2005). The question "What determines patterns of species diversity?" was among the 25 key research themes for the future identified in 125th Anniversary issue of Science (July 2005). There is a lack of consensus among ecologists about the mechanisms underlying the pattern, and many hypotheses have been proposed and debated. A recent review noted that among the many conundrums associated with the LDG (or LBG, Latitudinal Biodiversity Gradient) the causal relationship between rates of molecular evolution and speciation has yet to be demonstrated. Understanding the global distribution of biodiversity is one of the most significant objectives for ecologists and biogeographers
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