Glossary of ALL Terms for Data on EOL


paddy field
A flooded parcel of arable land used for growing rice and other semiaquatic crops.
paddy field soil
pain of sting
paleoarchean era
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
paleocene epoch
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
paleogene period
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
paleoproterozoic era
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
paleozoic era
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
palm tree
a tropical monocot tree relying for support on overlapping leaves wrapping around the stem, thickened parenchyma cells, and prop or brace roots
Hand shaped
palm tree woodland
A low oval elevation in areas with permafrost, frequently peat bogs, where a perennial ice lens has developed within the soil. A palsa consists, similarly to a pingo, of an ice core and overlying soil materials, in case of a palsa usually boggy soil. Palsas are characteristically found in areas with discontinuous permafrost and in such areas bay be the only reliable surface evidence of permafrost. A palsa needs large quantities of water for the formation of its ice core (i.e. ice lens), which is why they frequently emerge from and are bound by boggy soils, which can store enormous quantities of water in their pores. Palsas develop particularly in moorlands and are therefore also named palsamoors.
All of the specimens in the syntype series of a species or infraspecific taxon other than the lectotype itself. Also called "lectoparatype". [Zoo.]
parallel/free (leaf veins)
veins run parallel and equidistant to each other for most of the length of the leaf; they may converge or fuse (anastomose) towards the apex
All of the specimens in the syntype series of a species or infraspecific taxon other than the neotype itself
lateral outgrowths or protrusions from the body.
organism adapted to living on or in another organism and causing harm to its host
A paratype from the same locality as the holotype
Hawksworth, D. L. 2010. Terms Used in Bionomenclature. The naming of organisms (and plant communities). Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Copenhagen.
All of the specimens in the type series of a species or infraspecific taxon other than the holotype (and, in botany, isotypes). Paratypes must have been at the disposition of the author at the time when the original description was created and must have been designated and indicated in the publication. Judgment must be exercised on paratype status, for only rarely are specimens explicitly cited as paratypes, but usually as "specimens examined,''other material seen", etc. [Zoo./Bot.]
parental care
A reproductive behavior in which a parent cares for and rears offspring.
a unisexual trematode lifestage in an intermediate host
particle displacement
measurement of distance of the movement of a particle from its equilibrium position in a medium as it transmits a sound wave
particulate organic matter
organic particles in soil or water, usually defined by size class, (eg: up to 2mm in soil, or 1mm at sea) which may include detritus, as well as living particles such as microbes or pollen
particulate skeleton (non-solid)
small and individual structural elements that function as supporting structure/enclosure, e.g. spicules in sponges.
Grassland used for grazing of ungulate livestock as part of a farm or ranch.
pasture soil
patch reef
"patch reef": a coral boulder or clump of corals formed on a shelf, usually of less than 70 m depth, often in the lagoon of a barrier reef or atoll. It is unattached to a major reef structure
pathogen vector parasite
a parasite that introduces a pathogen, eg: a bacterium, into the body of its host, and then feeds on the pathogen as it proliferates in or on the host.
Richard C. Brusca, Wendy Moore, and Stephen M. Shuster, eds. 2016. Invertebrates, 3rd edition. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, USA. p. 677, Nematoda Feeding and Digestion.
peat cut
An artificial working of peatland to remove the peat.
peat soil
peat swamp
Forested peatlands including both rain- and groundwater-fed types, commonly recorded in tropical regions with high rainfall. This type of peatland covers around 350,000 km2, primarily in south-east Asia but also occurring in the Everglades in Florida.
A wetland type that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material.
pebble sediment
Sediment characterised by an average particle diameter between 4 and 32 mm.
pectoral fin oscillation
a type of pectoral-fin-based swimming, also known as mobuliform locomotion. Lower frequency than fin undulation; can be described as the production of less than half a wave on the fin, similar to a bird wing flapping. Pelagic stingrays use oscillatory locomotion.
pectoral fin swimming
swimming mainly using undulations of the pectoral fins
pectoral fin undulations
a type of pectoral-fin-based swimming, also known as mobuliform locomotion. Lower frequency than fin undulation; can be described as the production of less than half a wave on the fin, similar to a bird wing flapping. Pelagic stingrays use oscillatory locomotion.
a structure that resembles feet, or has a quality of feet
living in aquatic habitat, in the water column, not associated with the coastal or benthic zones
pelagic zone
An open ocean region.
pennsylvanian sub-period
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
pentadecanoic acid
hydrolases found in the venoms of cephalopods, hymenopterans, remipedes, reptiles, and mammals. Effects: prevention of blood coagulation, and the causing of vasodilation, smooth muscle contraction, pain, and inflammation.
Björn M. von Reumont, Alexander Blanke, Sandy Richter, Fernando Alvarez, Christoph Bleidorn, Ronald A. Jenner, The First Venomous Crustacean Revealed by Transcriptomics and Functional Morphology: Remipede Venom Glands Express a Unique Toxin Cocktail Dominated by Enzymes and a Neurotoxin, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Volume 31, Issue 1, January 2014, Pages 48–58,
per acre
per day
A frequency rate of occurrences of something within a period of time equal to twenty-four hours.
per year
A frequency rate of occurrences of something within a period of time equal to three hundred sixty-five days.
A dimensionless ratio unit which denotes numbers as fractions of 100.
percent of marine species currently described
percent of all marine species in this clade that are currently described (estimate) (Appeltans et al. 2012. The Magnitude of Global Marine Species Diversity. Current Biology 22, 2189–2202.
percent surveyed species not yet known to science
percent of undescribed species in this clade, found in this survey (Appeltans et al. 2012. The Magnitude of Global Marine Species Diversity. Current Biology 22, 2189–2202.
percent synonyms among marine species
percent of all marine species names in this clade that are considered subjective synonyms (Appeltans et al. 2012. The Magnitude of Global Marine Species Diversity. Current Biology 22, 2189–2202.
Locomotory thoracopod, a thoracic appendage used for movement, feeding, and/or defense Mauchline, J. 1984. Euphausiid, stomatopod, and leptostracan crustaceans. Keys and notes for the identification of species. Synopses of the British Fauna, no. 30. The Linnean Society of London and The Estuarine and Brackish-Water Sciences Association.
Of plant duration, a plant whose life span extends over more than two growing seasons, c.f. annual, biennial, ephemeral, of flowering with respect to architecture, hapaxanthic, monocarpic, pleonanthic
Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 12, July 2012. Glossary:
A wavelike sequence of muscular contraction and relaxation that passes along a tubelike structure, such as a vertebrate intestine, or the body of an earthworm
permanent spring
A spring whose flow is continuous.
permian era
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
Of seed bank longevity. Seeds do not germinate in the first favourable season after dispersal. Generally seed bank longevity is > 1 yr (could be longer but it is unknown).
pest control
picogram. A mass unit which is equal to 10^[-12] g
ph of water
Measured pH of water at a location where this organism has been observed or collected.
Phaeozems accommodate soils of relatively wet grassland and forest regions in moderately continental climates. Phaeozems are much like Chernozems and Kastanozems but are leached more intensively. Consequently, they have dark, humus rich surface horizons that, in comparison with Chernozems and Kastanozems, are less rich in bases. Phaeozems may or may not have secondary carbonates but have a high base saturation in the upper metre of the soil.
phagocytosis feeder
a consumer that feeds primarily by phagocytosis, a cellular-level process that results in the engulfment of food particles outside the body, by specialized cells called phagocytes. Literally, "eating by the cell".
phanerozoic eon
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
phenological season
the time, usually months or seasons, at which life history events take place, eg: breeding, insect emergence, or plant blooming
photic zone
The zone of an ocean from the surface to 200m where photosynthesis can occur, due to the penetration of light.
An autotroph which is capable of transforming light into chemical energy.
A heterotroph which is capable of transforming light into chemical energy.
photoreceptor cell
A specialized cell type in a multicellular organism that is sensitive to light.
A consumer that derives energy from a photosynthetic symbiont
photosynthetic pathway
the biochemical pathway a plant uses to gain carbon for growth and reproduction. Plants have evolved three photosynthetic pathways, each in response to distinct environmental conditions, resulting in differences in their ecological patterns of growth and distribution.
photosynthetic rate
The total amount of carbon fixed by the plant per unit time
photosynthetic stem
Stem photosynthesis is similar to C3 leaf photosynthesis and occurs in species inhabiting a diversity of high-light sites
organism using energy from light in metabolic processes
phreatic zone
Zone where voids in the rock are completely filled.
physiological state
Central to physiological functioning are biophysical and biochemical processes, homeostatic control mechanisms, and communication between cells. Physiological state is the condition of normal function, while pathological state refers to abnormal conditions.
A herbivorous organism feeding primarily on phytoplankton
autotrophic components of the plankton community
piacenzian age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
A raised walkway over water, supported by piles or pillars.
Pindare Moist Forests
A mound of earth-covered ice found in the Arctic, subarctic, and Antarctica that can reach up to 70 metres in height and up to 2 kilometres in diameter.
pinhole eyes
Simple eye that has a small aperture (which may be adjustable) a deep pit, and no lens. It is only found in the nautiloids
pinnacle reef
a nearly cylindrical reef with vertical sides; may be up to 200 m diameter and 50 m in height
type of compound leaf, where leaflets arise at multiple points along a common axis
pinnate + pinnatifid
a pinnately compound leaf, with the pinnae being pinnatifid.
leaves with pinnate lobes that are not discrete, remaining sufficiently connected to each other that they are not separate leaflets.
pinyon juniper woodland
A pinyon juniper woodland is a conifer woodland which has a tree community primarily composed of trees of the subsection Cembroides of the genus Pinus and the genus Juniperus.
carnivorous animal which eats primarily fish.
an aquatic organism that feeds on planktonic food
Living in the fluid medium (water or air) but unable to maintain their position or distribution independently of the movement of the water/air mass (adapted from Lincoln et al., 1998).
Planktotrophic species generally have fairly long pelagic larval durations and feed while in the water column. Consequentially, they have the potential to disperse long distances.
plant growth form
whole plant growth form. eg: herbaceous, tree, liana
plant height
A stature and vigor trait (TO:0000133) which is associated with the height of a whole plant (PO:0000003).
plant lifeform
whole plant lifeform
An intentional planting of a crop, on a large scale, usually for uses other than cereal production or pasture. The term is currently most often used for plantings of trees and shrubs. The term tends also to be used for plantings maintained on economic bases other than that of subsistence farming.
planted forest
A forest that has been intentionally established by human intervention.
walking with the toes and metatarsals flat on the ground
planting density
Recommended minimum number of individual plants to plant per area.
USDA PLANTS database Characteristics Data Fields.
Larval form of various Cnidarian species
Multinucleate mass of protoplasm bounded only by a plasma membrane; the main vegetative form of acellular slime moulds.
A copy or cast of neotype material
An artificial specimen moulded or otherwise reproduced directly from a type; particularly used for fossils
Hawksworth, D. L. 2010. Terms Used in Bionomenclature. The naming of organisms (and plant communities). Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Copenhagen.
An elevated and comparatively level expanse of land.
pleistocene epoch
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
Limb of any of first five abdominal segments in Eumalacostraca, in many crustaceans adapted for swimming. (swimmeret) Moore, R. C., and L. McCormick. 1969. General features of Crustacea. In: R. C. Moore (ed.), Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, Part R, Arthropoda 4. Geological Society of America and University of Kansas Press, Lawrence.
the last larval form, the infective form, found in the second intermediate host of many Cestoda with aquatic life cycles
the fully developed metacestode stage of a trypanorhynch; a juvenile scolex surrounded by a bladder-like structure
A specimen upon which a subsequent or additional description or illustration of a previously named species is based
a plant that is free-floating on the water surface, not attached to or penetrating the substrate, with some photosynthetic parts in contact with air.
GERMISHUIZEN, G. & MEYER, N.L. (eds) 2003. Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
pliensbachian age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
pliocene epoch
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
plunge pool
A hollow eroded by the force of the falling water at the base of a waterfall, particularly by the eddying effect.
Picomoles per meter squared per second
cysts with stored reserves of organic compounds produced beneath the pedal discs of polyps of scyphozoans in the orders Rhizostomae (suborder Dactyliophorae) and Semaeostomae. They excyst small polyps that develop into fully active polyps (scyphistomae) capable of further podocyst production and of medusa production by strobilation.
Arai M.N. (2008) The potential importance of podocysts to the formation of scyphozoan blooms: a review. In: Pitt K.A., Purcell J.E. (eds) Jellyfish Blooms: Causes, Consequences, and Recent Advances. Developments in Hydrobiology, vol 206. Springer, Dordrecht.
Podzols are soils with a typically ash-grey upper subsurface horizon, bleached by loss of organic matter and iron oxides, on top of a dark accumulation horizon with brown, reddish or black illuviated humus and/or reddish Fe compounds. Podzols occur in humid areas in the boreal and temperate zones and locally also in the tropics.
polar desert
An area reclaimed from the sea by diking and draining.
A large closed depression draining underground, witha flat floor across which there may be an intermittent or perennial stream and which may be liable to flood and become a lake. The floor makes a sharp break with parts of surrounding slopes.
A microgametophyte that develops from a microspore, located in a pollen sac in a flower
One female has an exclusive mating relationship with two or more males
polychaete feeder
a carnivore that feeds primarily on polychaete worms
class of annelid worms
mostly dioecious, but with either a few flowers of the opposite sex or a few bisexual flowers on the same plant
a sexual system that is mostly monoecious, but also partly polygamous, i.e. bisexual flowers may appear
One male has an exclusive mating relationship with two or more females
Water with a salinity between 18 and 30 PSU
created by Anne Thessen
polymetallic nodule
Polymetallic nodules, also called manganese nodules, are rock concretions on the sea bottom formed of concentric layers of iron and manganese hydroxides around a core. Nodules vary in size from tiny particles visible only under a microscope to large pellets more than 20 centimetres (8 in) across. However, most nodules are between 5 and 10 cm in diameter.
Any enclosed water area in pack ice other than a lead, not large enough to be called open water. When frozen over, a polyna becomes an ice skylight from the point of view of the submariner.
A body of water, usually of smaller size than a lake.
pond bed
The ground surface that lies beneath a pond.
pond water
populated place
Place or area with clustered or scattered buildings and a permanent human population.
a collection of individuals from the same taxonomic class living, counted or sampled at a particular site or in a particular area
population group size
Number of individuals in a group that spends the majority of their time in a 24 hour cycle together
population trend
i.e., increasing, decreasing, stable, or unknown
A spatial quality inhering in a bearer by virtue of the bearer's spatial location relative to other objects in the vicinity, eg: on the body of an organism.
post-fire seedling emergence
Seedling density per pre-fire mature individuals emerging during the first year after fire (seedlings/mature).
BROT trait database. Traits: units and categories (SeedlEmerg),
post-fire seedling survival
Proportion of seedlings surviving first dry season after fire.
BROT trait database. Traits: units and categories (SeedlSurv),
potential evapotranspiration rate in geographic range
Monthly PET (Potential 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. Potential evapotranspiration (PET) is a representation of the environmental demand for evapotranspiration and represents the evapotranspiration rate of a short green crop, completely shading the ground, of uniform height and with adequate water status in the soil profile. It is a reflection of the energy available to evaporate water, and of the wind available to transport the water vapour from the ground up into the lower atmosphere.
parts per billion
pragian age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
An area of land of low topographic relief that historically supported grasses and herbs, with few trees, and having generally a mesic (moderate or temperate) climate. Dominated by tall grasses (contrast steppe).
a replete, haematophagous larval stage of a Gnathiid isopod
product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapour that falls under gravity.
precipitation in geographic range
Monthly precipitation within the geographic range of a taxon.
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.
precipitation tolerance
Minimum tolerable rainfall (in inches), expressed as the average annual minimum precipitation that occurs 20% of the time (i.e., the probability of it being this dry in any given year is 20%) at the driest climate station within the known geographical range of the plant. geographical range of the plant. For cultivars, the geographical range is defined as the area to which the cultivar is well adapted rather than marginally adapted.
USDA PLANTS database Characteristics Data Fields.
Organism that obtains food by hunting
predatory suspension feeder
A predator that captures small or microscopic prey primarily by suspension feeding
An organism which obtains food primarily by predation +scavenging. Reid WDK, Wigham BD, McGill RAR, Polunin NVC (2012) Elucidating trophic pathways in benthic deep-sea assemblages of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge north and south of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 463:89-103. doi:10.3354/meps09863
prenatal development duration
The duration of the development from fertilized, deposited or implanted egg to hatching/birth. Corresponds to egg incubation duration in oviparous animals and to gestation period duration in viviparous animals.
A list (concatenated and separated) of preparations and preservation methods for a specimen.
A physical quality that inheres in a bearer by virtue of the bearer's amount of force per unit area it exerts.
prey on
An interaction relationship involving a predation process, where the subject kills the target in order to eat it or to feed to siblings, offspring or group members
priabonian age
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
pridoli epoch
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
primarily apterous
The absence of wings in organisms that do not have winged ancestors.
primary producer
organism in an ecosystem that produces biomass from inorganic compounds
primary record
One exemplary record, representing the only or the broadest swathe of available values, may be labeled the primary record. For instance, a species found in Peru, Chile and Brazil might have a primary Geographic Distribution record of South America.
Growing horizontal to the ground without setting roots
This organism produces this material or substance, either during its life or after death. A produces B if some process that occurs in A has output B.
proglacial lake
A lake formed either by the damming action of a moraine or ice dam during the retreat of a melting glacier, or one formed by meltwater trapped against an ice mass due to isostatic depression of the crust around the ice.
a spheroid quality; the subject exhibits a polar diameter longer than its equatorial diameter.
A distinct form of hemimetabolous development which includes a winged pre-adult life stage.
A member of one sex mates with any member of the opposite sex
The dispersal unit for sexual regeneration.
BROT trait database. Traits: units and categories (Propagule),;
prosome height
Height (dorso-ventral distance) of the prosome of an arthropod. Prosome: anterior region of body, commonly limited behind by major articulation. Collective term for the combined cephalasome and metasome in copepods
prosome length
Length of the prosome of an arthropod. Prosome: anterior region of body, commonly limited behind by major articulation. Collective term for the combined cephalasome and metasome in copepods
prosome width
Width of the prosome of an arthropod. Prosome: anterior region of body, commonly limited behind by major articulation. Collective term for the combined cephalasome and metasome in copepods
protected area
An area of land and/or a body of water especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means.
action or precaution against a threat against an uncertainty or possible unpleasant events
protein composition of milk
protein content
The total protein content measured in a body or body part
A biological macromolecule minimally consisting of one polypeptide chain synthesized at the ribosome.
proterozoic eon
International Chronostratigraphic Chart:
protozoa feeder
a consumer that feeds primarily on protozoans
provide nutrients for
supplying materials, especially food
Practical Salinity Units. The conductivity ratio of a sea water sample to a standard KCl solution. Used to represent salinity.
pulp and paper
A life cycle stage of holometabolous insects in which the organism is a pupa and starts with the larval-pupal apolysis and ends with pupal-adult apolysis
A class of imidazopyrimidines that consists of purine and its substituted derivatives.
A color that falls about midway between red and blue in hue.
[database_cross_reference: Dictionary:]
Pyramid-shaped; having triangular faces that meet at a common point and containing a polygonal shaped base.