Human Impact Vocabulary

biodiversity crisis
The current rapid decline in the variety of life on earth, largely due to the effects of human culture.
biodiversity hot spot
A relatively small area with an exceptional concentration of endemic species.
biological magnification
The accumulation of persistent chemicals in the living tissues of consumers in food chains.
bioremediation
The use of living organisms to detoxify and restore polluted and degraded ecosystems.
biosphere
The entire portion of Earth inhabited by life; the sum of all the planet's ecosystems
conservation biology
A goal-oriented science that seeks to counter the biodiversity crisis, the current rapid decrease in Earth's variety of life.
convergent evolution
The independent development of similarity between species as a result of their having similar ecological roles and selection pressures.
endangered species
A species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
endemic species
Species that are confined to a specific, relatively small geographic area.
eutrophication
An increase in productivity of an aquatic ecosystem.
greenhouse effect
The warming of planet Earth due to the atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide, which absorbs infrared radiation and slows its escape from the irradiated Earth.
landscape ecology
The application of ecological principles to the study of land-use patterns; the scientific study of the biodiversity of interacting ecosystems.
movement corridor
A series of small clumps or a narrow strip of quality habitat (usable by organisms) that connects otherwise isolated patches of quality habitat.
ozone layer
The layer of O3 in the upper atmosphere that protects life on Earth from the harmful ultraviolet rays in sunlight.
sustainable development
The long-term prosperity of human societies and the ecosystems that support them.
threatened species
Species that is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.