CHM Biodiversity

Agenda 21 from the UN Conference on Environment and Development - Agenda 21 is the framework for activity into the 21st century addressing the combined issues of environment protections and fair and equitable development for all. Agenda 21 provides a specific framework for many aspects of the UNEP programme. The agenda comprises 40 chapters each addressing specific aspects of these issues. See also: UNCED Rio Earth Summit.
Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) - the Alliance of Small Island States is a coalition of 42 (as of May 2000) low-lying and small island countries, most of which are members of the G-77, that are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise. The AOSIS countries are united by the threat that climate change poses to their survival, and frequently adopt a common stance in negotiations.
Ayurveda - a philosophy and healing system developed over thousands of years in India, in which patients are characterized by the elements of earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Employs botanical preparations, usually combinations of a number of herbs. [CUB]
abiotic - non-living; devoid of life.
accession - a sample of a crop variety collected at a specific location and time; may be of any size. [GBA]
accident (accidental) - any incident involving a significant and unintended release of genetically modified microorganisms in the course of their contained use which could present an immediate or delayed hazard to human heath and the environment. [Council Directive 90/219/EEC on the contained use of genetically modified microorganisms]
accidental release - the unintentional discharge of a microbiological agent (i.e., microorganism or virus) or eukaryotic cell due to a failure in the containment system. [Proposed Action under the Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules (51 Federal Register 16958) National Institute of Health 55 FR 53258]
adaptation - a genetically determined characteristic that enhances the ability of an organism to cope with its environment.
adaptation traits - complex of traits related to reproduction and survival of the individual in a particular production environment. Adaptation traits contribute to individual fitness and to the evolution of animal genetic resources. By definition, these traits are also important to the ability of the animal genetic resource to be sustained in the production environment [FAO]
adaptive radiation - evolutionary diversification of species derived from a common ancestor into a variety of ecological roles.
adaptive zone - a particular type of environment requiring unique adaptations then allowing adaptive radiation to occur.
advanced informed agreement - advanced informed agreement refers to the principle that international exchange of transgenic plants and microorganisms that could adversely affect plants should not proceed without the informed agreement of, or contrary to the decision of, the competent authority in the recipient country. (See also prior informed consent.) [BSWG/2/5: FAO Draft International Code of Conduct for Plant Biotechnology as it Affects the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources]
agricultural biodiversity - see: domestic biodiversity.
agrobiodiversity or agricultural biological diversity - that component of biodiversity that contributes to food and agriculture production. The term agrobiodiversity encompasses within-species, species and ecosystem diversity. [FAO]
agrobiotechnology - the research on and development of agricultural products such as crop varieties and crop protection products by modifying genes to confer desirable properties such as pest resistance or improved nutritional profiles. [CUB]
agroecology - the use of ecological concepts and principles to study, design, and manage agricultural systems. Agroecology seeks to evaluate the full effect of system inputs and outputs by integrating cultural and environmental factors into the analysis of food production systems and to use this knowledge to improve these systems, taking into account the needs of both the ecosystem as a whole and the people within it. [GBA]
agroforestry - a collective name for land-use systems and technologies where woody perennials (tree, shrubs, palms, bamboos, etc.) are deliberately used on the same land management unit as agricultural crops and/or animals, either in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. [GBA]
algal symbiont - see  zooxanthellae.
alien species - - a species that has been transported by human activities, intentional or accidental, into a region where it does not naturally occur. (Also known as an exotic, introduced, nonindigenous, or nonnative species.) - a species occurring in an area outside of its historically known natural range as a result of intentional or accidental dispersal by human activities. (Also known as an exotic or introduced species.) [GBA]
allele - - one of several alternatives of a gene. - any of the different versions of a gene occupying a particular locus (place) on a chromosome. - one of two or more forms of a gene arising by mutation and occupying the same relative position (locus) on homologous chromosomes. [CUB]
allopatric - occupying different geographical ranges. (Opp.: sympatric.)
allopatric speciation - speciation through geographically separated populations.
anadromous - the annual migratory behavior of adult fish -such as salmon and lamprey- from the ocean into freshwater rivers and lakes in order to spawn.
animal genetic resources databank - a databank that contains inventories of farm animal genetic resources and their immediate wild relatives, including any information that helps to characterize these resources. [FAO]
anoxia - the absence of oxygen in water and sediments.
antibiotic - an antimicrobial compound produced by living micro-organisms, used therapeutically or sometimes prophylactically in the control of infectious diseases. Over 4,000 antibiotics have been isolated, but only about 50 have achieved wide use. [CUB]
aquaculture - breeding and rearing fish, shellfish, etc., or growing plants for food in special ponds. [GBA]
aromatherapy - the therapeutic use of pure essential oils and other substances obtained from flowers, plants, and aromatic shrubs, through inhalation and application to the skin. Generally based on traditional practices from around the world. [CUB]
artificial insemination - a breeding technique, most commonly used in domestic animals and sometimes in captive breeding of wild animals, in which semen is introduced into the female reproductive tract by artificial means. [GBA]
artificial selection - selective breeding, carried out by humans, to produce a desired evolutionary response.
asexual reproduction - reproduction of a plant or animal without fusion of male and female gametes. It includes vegetative propagation, cell and tissue culture. [CUB]
assay - a technique that measures a biological response; the determination of the activity or concentration of a chemical. (See bioassay.)  [CUB]
assets - goods that provide a flow of services over time.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) - a natural enemy of insects which was isolated from dead silk worms. This bacterium kills insects with the help of a protein, the so-called Bt-toxin. More than 50 Bt-toxins have been detected, each with its own characteristics. [CUB]
Berlin Declaration (under the biodiversity convention, CBD) - a global initiative for the promotion of sustainable tourism, Berlin, 8 March 1997.
Berlin Mandate (under the climate change convention, UNFCCC) - adopted at  COP-1  (1995), the Berlin Mandate launched the talks that led to the adoption of the  Kyoto Protocol  (1997).
backcross - the cross of a hybrid with either of its parents (or a genetically equivalent individual). [CUB]
bacteria - members of a group of diverse single-celled organisms; organisms lacking a nucleus. [CUB]
bacteriophages - a group of viruses whose hosts are specifically bacteria. [CUB]
baseline data - fundamental units of basic inventory information that are crucial for biodiversity conservation planning and management. These are both biotic and abiotic and usually include: (1) the presence and/or abundance of species and other units; (2) other dependent biotic data (e.g. plant cover for macroarthropods); (3) the appropriate influential abiotic variables, and (4) human variables. [GBA]
benthic - living on or in the bottom (in contrast to pelagic).
benthos - organisms living on or in the bottom of oceans, seas, rivers, lakes and other water bodies. [JVG] Depending on the size of the organisms, benthos is regarded as macrobenthos (organisms > 1000 µm), meiobenthos (organisms between 42 µm and 1000 µm) and nanobenthos or microbenthos (organisms < 42 µm). Depending on the depth distribution, benthos is regarded as epibenthos (living between low water line and 200 m depth), mesobenthos (living at depths between 200 and 1000 m), hypobenthos (living between 1000 and 2000 m) and abyssal benthos (living below 2000 m).
bequest value - value, defined by willingness to pay, to ensure that peoples' offspring or future generations inherit a particular environmental asset. [GBA]
bioassay - the determination of the activity or concentration of a chemical by its effect on the growth of an organism under experimental conditions. [CUB]
bioavailability - the degree of availability to biodegradation of pollutants in contaminated soil or land. [CUB]
biocatalyst - an enzyme, used to catalyze a chemical reaction. [CUB]
biochemical - a product produced by chemical reactions in living organisms. [CUB]
biocoenosis - varied community of organisms living in the same small area, e.g. in the bark of a tree, on a wall, in a pond. [JVG]
bioconversion - the conversion of a compound from one form to another by the actions of organisms or enzymes; synonym: biotransformation. [CUB]
biodegradation - the microbially mediated process of chemical breakdown of a substance to smaller products caused by micro-organisms or their enzymes. [CUB]
biodiversity - is a synonym of biological diversity, see below. The contracted form 'biodiversity' was apparently coined by W.G. Rosen (1985) for the first planning meeting of the 'National Forum on Biodiversity' held in Washington DC (September 1986), the proceedings of which (E.O. Wilson and F.M. Peter, 1988) brought the notion of biodiversity to the attention of a wide field of scientists and others. [GBA]
bioenergy - energy made available by the combustion of materials derived from biological sources. [CUB]
bioerosion - the erosion of material such as coral rock and shells, that results from the direct action of living organisms such as boring sponges, fungi, worms, molluscs, or sea urchins.
biogeography - the scientific study of the geographic distribution of organisms.
bioinformatics - a scientific discipline that comprises all aspects of the gathering, storing, handling, analysing, interpreting and spreading of biological information. Involves powerful computers and innovative programmes which handle vast amounts of coding information on genes and proteins from genomics programmes. Comprises the development and application of computational algorithms for the purpose of analysis, interpretation, and prediction of data for the design of experiments in the biosciences. [CUB]
biolistics - in molecular biology, a method developed to inject DNA into cells by mixing the DNA with small metal particles and then firing the particles into the host cell at very high speeds. [CUB]
biological control - - control of pests by using predators to eat them. - pest control strategy making use of living natural enemies, antagonists or competitors and other self-replicating biotic entities. [FAO bis]
biological control agent - - the use of living organisms to control pests or disease. May be a single organism or a combination of a number of different ones. [CUB] - a natural enemy, antagonist or competitor, and other self-replicating biotic entity used for pest control. [FAO bis]
biological diversity - - the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. [CBD] (Syn.: biodiversity) It appears that the term 'biological diversity' was first defined as including two related concepts, genetic diversity (the amount of genetic variability within species) and ecological diversity (the number of species in a community of organisms) by Norse and McManus (1980). There are at least 25 more definitions of biological diversity. The one given on top is the definition used in the Convention text. Other definitions: - the totality of genes, species, and ecosystems in a region or the world. - the variety of life in all its forms, levels and combinations, encompassing genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. [FAO] - a variety or multiformity, the condition of being different in character or quality (R.Patrick,1983) - the variety and variability among living organisms and the ecological complexes in which they occur. Diversity can be defined as the number of different items and their relative frequency. For biological diversity, these items are organized at many levels, ranging from complete ecosystems to the chemical structures that are the molecular basis of heredity. Thus, the term encompasses different ecosystems, species, genes, and their relative abundance (OTA, 1987). - the variety of the world's organisms, including their genetic diversity and the assemblages they form. It is the blanket term for the natural biological wealth that undergirds human life and well-being. The breadth of the concept reflects the interrelatedness of genes, species and ecosystems (Reid & Miller, 1989). - the wealth of life on earth including the millions of plants, animals, and micro-organisms as well as the genetic information they contain and the ecosystems that they create (AID, 1989). - the variety of life and its processes (U.S. Forest Service, 1990). - encompasses all species of plants, animals, and microorganisms and the ecosystems and ecological processes of which they are parts. It is an umbrella term for the degree of nature's variety, including both the number and frequency of ecosystems, species, or genes in a given assemblage (McNeely et al., 1990). - the variety of life on all levels of organization, represented by the number and relative frequencies of items (genes, organisms and ecosystems (EPA, 1990). - the variety of genes, genotypes and genepools and their relationships with the environment at molecular, population, species and ecosystem levels (FAO, 1990). - the genetic, taxonomic and ecosystem variety in living organisms of a given area, environment, ecosystem or the whole planet (McAllister, 1991). - the full range of variety and variability within and among living organisms and the ecological complexes in which they occur; encompasses ecosystems or community diversity, species diversity and genetic diversity (Pending legislation, U.S. Congres 1991). - those environmental goals that go beyond human health concerns (Environmental Law Institute, Fischman, 1991). - the variety of life and its processes. It includes the variety of living organisms, the genetic differences among them, and the communities and ecosystems in which they occur (Keystone Dialogue, 1991) - the variety and variability of all animals, plants and micro-organisms on earth, - can be considered at three levels - genetic diversity (variability within species), species diversity, and habitat diversity (Overseas Development Administration, 1991). - I suggest a fourth category - functional diversity - the variety of different responses to environmental change, especially the diverse space and time scales with which organisms react to each other and the environment (J. Steele, 1991). - the totality of genes, species, and ecosystems in a region (WRI, IUCN and UNEP, 1992). - the total variety of life on earth. It includes all genes, species and ecosystems and the ecological processes of which they are part (ICBP, 1992). - full range of variety and variability within and among living organisms, their associations, and habitat-oriented ecological complexes. Term encompasses ecosystem, species, and landscape as well as intraspecific (genetic) levels of diversity (Fiedler & Jain, 1992). - the variety of organisms considered at all levels, from genetic variants belonging to the same species through arrays of species to arrays of genera, families, and still higher taxonomic levels; includes the variety of ecosystems, which comprise both the communities of organisms within particular habitats and the physical conditions under which they live (Wilson, 1992). - complex beyond understanding and valuable beyond measure, biodiversity is the total variety of life on Earth (Ryan, 1992). - the structural and functional variety of life forms at genetic, population, species, community, and ecosystems levels (Sandlund et al., 1993). - is the ensemble and the interactions of the genetic, the species and the ecological diversity, in a given place and at a given time (di Castri, 1995). - is the ensemble and the hierarchical interactions of the genetic, taxonomic and ecological scales of organization, at different levels of integration (di Castri & Younès, 1996). - the use of living organisms to control pests or disease. May be a single organism or a combination of a number of different ones. [CUB] - a natural enemy, antagonist or competitor, and other self-replicating biotic entity used for pest control. [FAO bis]
biological pesticide (biopesticide) - a generic term, not specifically definable, but generally applied to a biological control agent, usually a pathogen, formulated and applied in a manner similar to a chemical pesticide, and normally used for the rapid reduction of a pest population for short term pest control [FAO bis]
biological resources - includes genetic resources, organisms or parts thereof, populations, or any other biotic component of ecosystems with direct, indirect or potential use or value for humanity. (Syn.: biotic resources) [CBD]
biologics - vaccines, therapeutic serums, toxoids, antitoxins and analogous biological products used to induce immunity to infectious diseases or harmful substances of biological origin. [CUB]
biomass - all organic matter that derives from the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy. [CUB]
biome - a major portion of the living environment of a particular region (such as a coniferous forest or grassland), characterized by its distinctive vegetation and maintained by local climatic conditions. [GBA]
biopesticide - - pesticide made from biological sources, that is from toxins which occur naturally. - naturally occurring biological agents used to kill pests by causing specific biological effects rather than by inducing chemical poisoning. The idea is based on mimicking processes that arise naturally (e.g. protecting the coffee bean by its caffeine content), and is argued to be favorable to conventional chemical pesticides as it is more easily biodegradable and more target specific. A pesticide in which the active ingredient is a virus, fungus, or bacteria, or a natural product derived from a plant source. A biopesticide's mechanism of action is based on specific biological effects and not on chemical poisons. [CUB]
biopharmaceutical - recombinant protein drugs, recombinant vaccines and monoclonal antibodies (for therapeutic roles). Biopharmaceuticals are still only a small part of the pharmaceutical industry, but of increasing importance. (See biologics.) [CUB]
biopiracy - bioprospecting regarded as the perpetuation of the colonial habit of plundering other countries' biological resources without fair and equitable compensation, resulting in environmental, economic and social detriment  (ref.: K. ten Kate, 1995. Biopiracy or Green Petroleum? Expectations & Best Practice in Bioprospecting. - Overseas Development Administration, Environment Policy Department, London).
bioprocess - any process that uses complete living cells or their components (e.g. enzymes, chloroplasts) to effect desired physical or chemical changes. [CUB]
bioprospecting - entails the search for economically valuable genetic and biochemical resources from nature (ref.: K. ten Kate, 1995. Biopiracy or Green Petroleum? Expectations & Best Practice in Bioprospecting. - Overseas Development Administration, Environment Policy Department, London).
bioreactor - a contained vessel or other structure in which chemical reactions are carried out (usually on an industrial scale), mediated by a biological system, enzymes or cells. A bioreactor can range in size from a small container to an entire building. CUB]
bioregion - a territory defined by a combination of biological, social, and geographic criteria, rather than geopolitical considerations; generally, a system of related, interconnected ecosystems. [GBA]
bioremedation - the use of biological agents to reclaim soils and waters polluted by substances hazardous to human health and/or the environment; it is an extension of biological treatment processes that have been used traditionally to treat wastes in which micro-organisms typically are used to biodegrade environmental pollutants. [CUB]
biosafety - safety aspects related to the application of biotechnologies and to the release into the environment of transgenic plants and other organisms particularly microorganisms that could negatively affect plant genetic resources, plant, animal or human health, or the environment. [BSWG/2/5: FAO Draft International Code of Conduct for Plant Biotechnology as it Affects the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources]
biosphere reserve - established under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, biosphere reserves are a series of protected areas linked through a global network, intended to demonstrate the relationship between conservation and development. [GBA]
biosynthesis - the synthesis of molecules by living organisms or their components. [CUB]
biota - all of the organisms, including animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms, found in a given area.
biotechnology - - any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use. [CBD] - any technology that is applied to living organisms to make them more valuable to people.
biotic - pertaining to any aspect of life, especially to characteristics of entire populations or ecosystems.
biotic resources - see: biological resources
biotope - small area with uniform biological conditions (climate, soil, altitude, etc.).
biotransformation - the conversion of a compound from one form to another by the actions of organisms or enzymes; synonym: bioconversion. [CUB]
biotype - group of genetically identical individuals.
bloom - a sharp increase in density of phytoplankton or benthic algae in a given area.
botanical - a substance derived from plants; a vegetable drug, especially in its crude state. [CUB]
botanical medicine - a medicine of plant origin, in crude or processed form; used to represent herbal, or plant-based, medicines that are not consumed as isolated compounds (as are pharmaceuticals); includes single herb, herb combination, and herb combined with non-herbal ingredient products; delivery formats include capsules, tablets, herbal teas, extracts, tinctures, and bulk herbs. [CUB]
breed - - a group of animals or plants related by descent from common ancestors and visibly similar in most characteristics. Taxonomically, a species can have numerous breeds. - either a sub specific group of domestic livestock with definable and identifiable external characteristics that enable it to be separated by visual appraisal from other similarly defined groups within the same species or a group for which geographical and / or cultural separation from phenotypically similar groups has led to acceptance of its separate identity. [FAO]
breed at risk - any breed that may become extinct if the factors causing its decline in numbers are not eliminated or mitigated. Breeds may be in danger of becoming extinct for a variety of reasons. Risk of extinction may result from, inter alia, low population size; direct and indirect impacts of policy at the farm, country or international levels; lack of proper breed organization; or lack of adaptation to market demands. Breeds are categorized as to their risk status on the basis of, inter alia, the actual numbers of male and / or female breeding individuals and the percentage of pure-bred females. FAO has established categories of risk status: critical, endangered, critical-maintained, endangered-maintained, and not at risk. [FAO]
breed not at risk - a breed where the total number of breeding females and males is greater than 1,000 and 20 respectively; or the population size approaches 1,000 and the percentage of pure-bred females is close to 100 percent, and the overall population size is increasing. [FAO]
broad spectrum - a pesticide which is active towards a wide variety of weeds or other pests; often used to describe an antibiotic that is effective against a wide range of micro-organisms. [CUB]
brown bag sales - sales by farmers to other farmers of seed they have saved. [CUB]
buffer zone - - the region near the border of a protected area. - a transition zone between areas managed for different objectives.
bureau - is responsible for directing the work of the COP or of the SBSTTA. Its ten members are delegates elected by each of the five regional groups and they include, - for the COP: the COP President, eight Vice-Presidents, and a rapporteur; - for the SBSTTA: the SBSTTA Chair, eight Vice-Chairs, and a rapporteur.
bycatch - incidental take; also called non-target species.
Cartagena Protocol, The - The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CBD) - Text of the Cartagena Protocol.
Committee of the Whole - sometimes created by a COP to facilitate the process of negotiating text. When the Committee finishes its work it turns the text over to the COP which finalises and then formally adopts it during a plenary session.
Conference Room Papers (CRPs) - a category of in-session documents containing new proposals or outcomes of in-session work for use only during the session.
Conference of the Parties (COP) - the COP is the supreme body of the Convention. It currently meets every two year to review and steer the Convention's progress. The word 'conference' is not used here in the sense of 'meeting' but rather of 'association', which explains the seemingly redundant expression 'fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties'. Overview of COP meetings.
captive breeding - the propagation or preservation of animals outside their natural habitat (see ex-situ conservation), involving control by humans of the animals chosen to constitute a population and of mating choices within that population. [GBA]
carrying capacity - the maximum number of people, or individuals of species, that a particular environment can sustain without environmental damage. [JVG]
cattle milk proteins - a planned and managed repository containing animal genetic resources. Repositories include the environment in which the genetic resource has developed, or is now normally found (in situ) or facilities elsewhere (ex situ - in vivo or in vitro). For in vitro, ex situ genome bank facilities, germplasm is stored in the form of one or more of the following: semen, ova, embryos and tissue samples. [FAO]
cell fusion - a technique of fusing two cells from different species to create one hybrid cell for the purpose of combining some of the genetic characteristics of each original. [CUB]
center of diversity - an area with a high number of species, which might be recognized on a global, regional or local scale.
centers of origin and diversity - places in the world where crops have the greatest genetic diversity in the form of traditional crop and varieties and/or wild relatives. Centers of diversity are typically, but not always, the same locations as the centers of origin or oldest cultivation of the crop. [BSWG/2/5: UNIDO BINAS Website: Biotechnology Library: Perils amidst the promise: glossary]
character - any recognizable trait, feature, or property of an organism.
characterization of animal genetic resources - all activities associated with the description of AnGR aimed at better knowledge of these resources and their state. Characterization by a country of its AnGR will incorporate development of necessary descriptors for use, identification of the country's sovereign AnGR; baseline and advanced surveying of these populations including their enumeration and visual description, their comparative genetic description in one or more production environments, their valuation, and ongoing monitoring of those AnGR at risk. [FAO]
chemicalization - accumulation of unnatural concentrations of certain chemical compounds.
clade - set of species from a common ancestral species.
clear-cutting - the removal of the entire standing crop of trees. In practice, may refer to exploitation that leaves much unsaleable material standing (e.g. a commercial clear-cutting). [GBA]
clearing-house - originally used in the business sector, a clearing-house is a service which facilitates and simplifies transactions among multiple parties. [JVG]
clone - - a set of genetically identical organisms, asexually reproduced from one ancestral organism. - a genetic replica of another organism obtained through a non-sexual (no fertilization) reproduction process. Cloning by nucleus transfer involves the transfer of a donor nucleus from (cultured) cells of embryonic, fetal or adult origin into the recipient cytoplasm of an enucleated oocyte or zygote, and the subsequent development of embryos and animals. These clones usually have different mitochondrial genomes. [FAO] - cell or organism identical to an ancestor with respect to genotype and phenotype. [CUB]
co-adaptation - evolution of characteristics of two or more species to their mutual advantage.
co-evolution - evolution in two or more interacting species in which the evolutionary changes of each species influence the evolution of the other species.
co-management - the sharing of authority, responsibility, and benefits between government and local communities in the management of natural resources. [GBA]
coastal waters - marine benthic and pelagic ecosystems having substantial influence from the land.
commodity - a type of plant, plant product or other regulated article being moved for trade or other purpose [FAO bis]
common property resource management - the management of a specific resource (such as a forest or pasture) by a well defined group of resource users with the authority to regulate its use by members and outsiders. [GBA]
community - - all the organisms that live in a given habitat and affect one another as part of the food web or through their various influences on the physical environment. [GBA] - an integrated group of species inhabiting a given area; the organisms within a community influence one another's distribution, abundance and evolution. (A Human Community is a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality.) [WRI et al.]
compensating variation - the change in income necessary to restore the consumer to its original level of utility after a price change. [GBA]
competent authority - a government agency or agencies responsible for regulating biotechnology, biosafety, intellectual property rights and other relevant aspects. [BSWG/2/5: FAO Draft International Code of Conduct for Plant Biotechnology as it Affects the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources]
competition - use or defense of a resource by one individual that reduces the availability of the resource to other individuals.
competitive exclusion - the extinction of one species by another species in the same area through competition.
consensus - an agreement can be adopted by consensus rather than by a vote when there are no stated objections from delegations
conservation - - judicious use and management of nature and natural resources for the benefit of human society and for ethical reasons. [GBA] - artificial control of ecological relationships in an environment in order to maintain a particular balance among the species present. - the management of human use of the biosphere so that many yield the greatest sustainable benefit to current generations while maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations: Thus conservation in positive, embracing preservations, maintenance, sustainable utilization, restoration, and enhancement of the natural environment. [WRI et al.]
conservation biology - the science of conserving biological diversity.
conservation of biodiversity - the management of human interactions with genes, species, and ecosystems so as to provide the maximum benefit to the present generation while maintaining their potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations; encompasses elements of saving, studying, and using biodiversity. [WRI et al.]
conservation of farm animal genetic resources - refers to all human activities including strategies, plans, policies and actions undertaken to ensure that the diversity of farm animal genetic resources is being maintained to contribute to food and agricultural production and productivity, now and in the future. [FAO]
conservation values - the value to society of conserving environmental resources.
contact group - the COP or the Committee of the Whole may establish an open-ended meeting wherein Parties can negotiate before forwarding agreed text to the plenary for formal adoption. Observers can generally attend.
contained use - - any operation involving organisms which are controlled by physical barriers or a combination of physical and/or biological barriers which limit their contact with, or their impacts on, the potentially receiving environment, which includes humans. [BSWG/2/5: UNEP International Technical Guidelines for Safety in Biotechnology] - any operation in which microorganisms are genetically modified or in which such genetically modified microorganisms are cultured, stored, used, transported, destroyed or disposed of and for which physical barriers, or a combination of physical barriers together with chemical and/or biological barriers are used to limit their contact with the general population and the environment. [BSWG/2/5: Council Directive 90/219/EEC on the contained use of genetically modified microorganisms]
containment - application of phytosanitary [or other] measures in and around an infested area to prevent spread of a pest or a disease [FAO bis]
continental shelf - the edges of continental landmasses, now covered with seawater; generally the most productive parts of the ocean.
control - suppression, containment or eradication of a pest population [FAO bis]
coral bleaching - a phenomenon occurring when corals under stress expel their mutualistic microscopic algae, called zooxanthellae. This results in a severe decrease or even total loss of photosynthetic pigments. Since most reef building corals have white calcium carbonate skeletons, the latter show through the corals' tissue, and the coral reef appears bleached. [JVG]
cosmopolitan - in biogeography, having an extremely broad or global distribution.
cost-benefit analysis - the appraisal of a investment project which includes all social and financial costs and benefits accruing to the project. [GBA]
countries with economies in transition - those Central and East European countries and former republics of the Soviet Union that are in transition to a market economy.
country of origin of genetic resources - the country which possesses those genetic resources in in-situ conditions. [CBD]
country providing genetic resources - the country supplying genetic resources collected from in-situ sources, including populations of both wild and domesticated species, or taken from ex-situ sources, which may or may not have originated in that country. [CBD]
critical breed - a breed where the total number of breeding females is less than 100 or the total number of breeding males is less than or equal to five; or the overall population size is close to, but slightly above 100 and decreasing, and the percentage of pure-bred females is below 80 percent. [FAO]
critical-maintained breed and endangered-maintained breed - categories where critical or endangered breeds are being maintained by an active public conservation programme or within a commercial or research facility. [FAO]
cross - the act or product of cross-fertilization between different individuals. [CUB]
cross-breeding - the breeding of distinct and genotypic types or forms in plants. This may entail the transfer of pollen from one individual to the stigma of another of different genotype. [CUB]
cross-pollination - the transfer of pollen from the stamen of a flower to the stigma of a flower of different genotype, but usually of the same species. [CUB]
cryogenic storage - the preservation of seeds, semen, embryos, or micro-organisms at extremely low temperatures, below -130 °C; at these temperatures, water is absent, molecular kinetic energy is low, diffusion is virtually nil, and storage potential is expected to be extremely long. [GBA]
cryopreservation - the storage of plant material at very low temperatures (-196°C) in liquid nitrogen. [CUB]
cultivar - - a variety of a plant produced by selective breeding. - a cultivated variety (genetic strain) of a domesticated crop plant. - distinct form or variety of domesticated plant derived through breeding and selection and maintained through cultivation. [CUB]
cultivated species - see: domesticated species.
cultural diversity - variety or multiformity of human social structures, belief systems, and strategies for adapting to situations in different parts of the world. [WRI et al.]
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) - the long chain of molecules in most cells that carries the genetic message and controls all cellular functions in most forms of life. [FAO]
DNA bank - storage of DNA, which may or may not be the complete genome, but should always be accompanied by inventory information. (Note: at the present time, animals cannot be reestablished from DNA alone.) [FAO]
Darwin Day - an international celebration of science and humanity. Darwin Day, February 12.
Darwin Declaration (1998), The - The governments of the world that recognise the Convention on Biological Diversity have affirmed the existence of a taxonomic impediment to sound management and conservation of biodiversity. Removal of this impediment is a crucial, rate-determining step in the proper implementation of the Convention's objectives. There is an urgent need to train and support more taxonomic experts, and to strengthen the infrastructure required to discover and understand the relationships among the world's biological diversity. The Darwin Declaration.
debt-for-nature swaps - a conservation agency buys up some of a developing country's international debt ("secondary" debt) on the world's money market. The agency then promises to dispose of the debt in return for a promise from the indebted country that it will look after a conservation area. [GBA]
decision of the Conference of the Parties - a formal agreement of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD that leads to binding actions. It becomes part of the agreed body of decisions by the Conference of the Parties that direct the future work of the Conference of the Parties and guide action at the national level. [CUB]
deconvolution - isolating the active compound out of a natural product mixture. [CUB]
deliberate release - - any use of an organism that is not a contained use. [BSWG/2/5: UNEP International Technical Guidelines for Safety in Biotechnology] - introduction into the environment for scientific or commercial purposes of transgenic plants and microorganisms. [BSWG/2/5: FAO Draft International Code of Conduct for Plant Biotechnology as it Affects the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources] - any intentional introduction into the environment of a GMO or a combination of GMOs without provisions for containment such as physical barriers or a combination of physical barriers together with chemical and/or biological barriers used to limit their contact with the general population and the environment. [BSWG/2/5: Council Directive 90/220/EEC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms]
demography - the study of birth rates, death rates, age distributions, and size of populations. It is a fundamental discipline within the larger field of population biology and ecology.
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) - - the molecule that controls inheritance. - the molecule that generally encodes all genetic information. It consists of two strands or chains of sub-units, known as nucleotides. [CUB]
detritus - a major food-source in a variety of ecosystems, consisting of organic remains of plants and animals, often heavily colonised by bacteria.
development values - the value to society of converting environmental resources to development uses. [GBA]
dinoflagellate - a protozoan, characterised by having two lash-like structures (flagella) used for locomotion, often abundant in the open ocean. Many produce light and are one of the primary contributors to bioluminescence (green or red) in the ocean. Some dinoflagellates, known as zooxanthellae, are symbiotic in the tissues of corals and some other tropical invertebrates
diploid - - having two sets of genes and two sets of chromosomes - one from the female parent, one from the male parent. - having a pair of homologous chromosomes with the exception of the sex chromosome, the total number of chromosomes being twice that of a gamete. [CUB]
direct use value - economic values derived from direct use or interaction with a biological resource or resource system. [GBA]
directional selection - selection leading to a consistent directional change in any character of a population through time, for example selection for larger eggs. [GBA]
dispersal - movement of organisms away from place of birth.
disruptive selection - selection favouring individuals that deviate in either direction from the population average. Selection favours individuals that are larger or smaller than average. [GBA]
do-no-harm principle - see: precautionary principle.
domestic animal diversity (DAD) - the spectrum of genetic differences within each breed, and across all breeds within each domestic animal species, together with the species differences; all of which are available for the sustainable intensification of food and agriculture production. [FAO]
domestic biodiversity - the genetic variation existing among the species, breeds, cultivars and individuals of animal, plant and microbial species that have been domesticated, often including their immediate wild relatives. [GBA]
domesticated species - species in which the evolutionary process has been influenced by humans to meet their needs (syn.: cultivated species). [CBD]
domesticates - organisms that have undergone domestication.
domestication - the process by which plants, animals or microbes selected from the wild adapt to a special habitat created for them by humans.
downwelling - a process by which surface waters increase in density and sink. Strong downwelling occurs mainly off Greenland and Antarctica.
drafting groups - to facilitate negotiations, the President or the Chair of a meeting may establish smaller drafting groups to meet separately and in private to prepare text. Observers may generally not attend.
drift - see: genetic drift.
driftnet - a gill net suspended vertically from floats at a specific depth and left to drift freely.
Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro - Popularly known as the 'Earth Summit', the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held on 3-14 June 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marked the twentieth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972. Virtually every country in the world was represented (178) and more than 100 heads of state attended. The participating world leaders signed five major instruments: The Rio Declaration (a statement of principles); Agenda 21 (a framework for activity into the 21st century addressing the combined issues of environment protections and fair and equitable development for all, and includes the creation of a new Commission for Sustainable Development); a Framework Convention on Climate Change; a Framework Convention on Biological Diversity; and a Statement of Principles on Forests.
El Niño event - a regional or global oceanic-atmospheric perturbation whose manifestations range from increased sea surface temperatures in the tropical East Pacific to aberrant rainfall patterns.
European Union - as a regional economic integration organisation, the European Union can be and is a Party to the Convention. However it does not have a separate vote from its members. Under the CBD process, the 15 members (1995) of the European Union meet in private to agree on common positions for the negotiations. The country that holds the EU Presidency -a position that rotates every six months- then speaks for the group as a whole. Individual member states are allowed to make statements emphasising their specific points of view and priorities as long as they are not contradictory with the EU common position.
ecological economics - a branch of economics that takes account of ecological principles and examines economic values of non-market ecological products and services.
ecological or ecosystem resilience - ecological resilience can be defined in two ways. The first is a measure of the magnitude of disturbance that can be absorbed before the (eco)system changes its structure by changing the variables and processes that control behaviour. The second, a more traditional meaning, is as a measure of resistance to disturbance and the speed of return to the equilibrium state of an ecosystem. [GBA]
ecological or ecosystem services - ecological or ecosystem processes or functions which have value to individuals or to society. [JVG]
ecology - the scientific study of the interactions of living organisms and their environment.
ecosystem - - a dynamic complex of plant, animal, fungal, and micro-organism communities and their associated non-living environment interacting as a functional unit; the organisms living in a given environment, such as a tropical forest, a coral reef or a lake, and the physical part of the environment that impinges on them. [GBA modified by JVG] - a complex of organisms and their environment, interacting as a defined ecological unit (natural or modified by human activity, e.g. agroecosystem), irrespective of political boundaries. [FAO bis] - a community of organisms in their physical environment.
ecosystem diversity - the diversity among biological communities and their physical settings, characterised by differences in species composition, physical structure, and function. It is the highest level of biological diversity.
ecosystem rehabilitation - the recovery of specific ecosystem services in a degraded ecosystem or habitat.
ecosystem restoration - the return of an ecosystem to its original community structure, natural complement of species, and natural functions.
ecotourism - travel undertaken to witness sites or regions of unique natural or ecologic quality, or the provision of services to facilitate such travel. [GBA]
edge effect - processes that characterize habitat fragmentation and the concomitant creation of edges.
elite - advanced germplasm in a breeding or crop improvement programme. [CUB]
endangered breed - a breed where the total number of breeding females is between 100 and 1,000 or the total number of breeding males is less than or equal to 20 and greater than five; or the overall population size is close to, but slightly above 100 and increasing and the percentage of pure-bred females is above 80 percent; or the overall population size is close to, but slightly above 1,000 and decreasing and the percentage of pure-bred females is below 80 percent. [FAO]
endangered-maintained breed - categories where critical or endangered breeds are being maintained by an active public conservation programme or within a commercial or research facility. [FAO]
endemic - native to and restricted to a specific geographic area.
entry into force - protocols and any amendments to them are not binding in international law until they have been ratified by an agreed number of countries. In the case of the CBD, ratification by 30 countries was needed for the treaty to enter into force. The CBD entered into force for the first 30 Parties on 29 December 1993. It enters into force for other Parties 90 days after each ratifies. [CUB]
environmental impact assessment (EIA) - process by which the consequences of proposed projects or programs are evaluated as an integral part of planning the project, alternatives are analysed, and the general public has ample opportunity to comment.
enzyme - a protein which catalyses the conversion of a substrate to a product. Other than a few well-established enzymes such as papein and trypsin, most enzyme names can be recognised by the suffix -ase, e.g. cellulase, protease, etc. [CUB]
epipelagic - referring to the top 200 meters of the ocean, seas and lakes.
equilibrium theory - theory that suggests that under natural circumstances, species addition and loss are balanced, and furthermore, that displacement from the equilibrium value results in changes in speciation or extinction rate that tend to restore the system to its equilibrium state. [GBA]
eradication - application of phytosanitary [and other] measures to eliminate a pest from an area [FAO bis]
establishment - perpetuation, for the foreseeable future of a pest, or a biological agent, within an area after entry [FAO bis]
estuary - an ecosystem in which a river or stream meets ocean waters; characterised by intermediate or variable salinity levels and often by high productivity.
ethical values - statements of ethical principle that inform the private and social valuation of biological resources. [GBA]
ethnobiology - study of the way plants, animals and micro-organisms are used by humans.
eukaryote - an organism whose DNA is enclosed in nuclear membranes. The vast majority of species (plants, animals, protista,...) are eukaryotic. (Opp.: prokaryote.) [JVG]
eutrophication - - nutrient enrichment, typically in the form of nitrates and phosphates, often from human sources such as agriculture, sewage, and urban runoff. - process by which a lake, a river, part of a sea, etc. is enriched with nitrates, phosphates and other nutrients which favour the growth of algae and often kill other organisms by lack of oxygen. [JVG]
evaluation - measurement of the characteristics that are important for production and adaptation, either of individual animals or of populations, most commonly in the context of comparative evaluation of the traits of animals or of populations. [FAO]
ex situ conservation of farm animal genetic diversity - all conservation of genetic material in vivo, but out of the environment in which it developed, and in vitro including, inter alia, the cryoconservation of semen, oocytes, embryos, cells or tissues. Note that ex situ conservation and ex situ preservation are considered here to be synonymous. [FAO]
ex-situ - out of the original location. In conservation, often in a laboratory, collection, botanical garden, zoo, or aquarium. (Opposite: in-situ)
ex-situ conservation - - the conservation of components of biological diversity outside their natural habitats. [CBD] - keeping components of biodiversity alive away from their original habitat or natural environment. [GBA]
exclusive economic zone - that part of the marine realm seaward of territorial waters within which nations have exclusive fishing rights.
existence value - the value of knowing that a particular species, habitat or ecosystem does and will continue to exist. It is independent of any use that the valuer may make of the resource. [GBA]
exotic - (1) not native to a given area; either intentionally transplanted from another region or introduced accidentally. (2) in plant breeding, it refers to plants types that are from outside a breeding region or exhibit traits that are uncommon to the prevalent crop plant type. [CUB]
exotic species - see: alien species.
extant - still living at the present time. (Opposite: extinct)
external costs/externalities - external costs/benefits exist when an activity by one person causes a gain/loss of welfare to another person that is uncompensated within the market. [GBA]
extinct - no longer surviving. (Opposite: extant)
extinct breed - a breed where it is no longer possible to recreate the breed population. Extinction is absolute when there are no breeding males (semen), breeding females (oocytes), nor embryos remaining. [FAO]
extinction - the death of any lineages of organisms. Extinction can be local, (when it is known as extirpation) in which one population of a given species vanishes while others survive elsewhere, or total, in which all its populations vanish. [GBA]
extractive reserve - forest area for which use rights are granted by governments to residents whose livelihoods customarily depend on extracting forest products from the specified area.
extreme environments - environments characterised by extremes in growth conditions, including temperature, salinity, pH, and water availability, among others. [CUB]
extremophile - a micro-organism whose optimum growth is under extreme conditions of temperature, etc. [CUB]
Fauna - a book listing, with descriptions and illustrations, all animals that live in a given area. [JVG]
Flora - a book listing, with descriptions and illustrations, all plants that grow in a given area. [JVG]
fallow - the period during which land is left to recover its productivity (reduced by cropping) mainly through accumulation of water, nutrients, attrition of pathogens, or a combination of all three. During this period, the land may be bare or covered by natural or planted vegetation. The term may be applied to the land itself or to the crop growing on it. [GBA]
familiarity - - having enough information to be able to judge the safety or risks of an LMO. It can be used to indicate ways of handling risks. It is not synonymous with safety. Relatively low degree of familiarity may be compensated for by appropriate management practices. Familiarity can be increased as a result of a trial or experiment. This increased familiarity can then form a basis for future risk assessment. [BSWG/2/5: Panel of Experts on Biosafety, Cairo 1995] - knowledge and experience with an organism, the intended application and the potential receiving environment. [BSWG/2/5: UNEP International Technical Guidelines for Safety in Biotechnology] - familiarity comes from the knowledge and experience available for conducting a risk/safety analysis prior to scale-up of any new plant line or crop cultivar in a particular environment. Familiarity takes into account of but need not be restricted to knowledge and experience with: the crop plant, including its flowering/reproductive characteristics, ecological requirements, and past breeding experiences; the agricultural and surrounding environment of the trial site; specific trait(s) transferred to plant line(s); results from previous basic research including greenhouse/glasshouse and small-scale field research with the new plant line or with other plant lines having the same trait; the scale-up of lines of the crop plant developed by more traditional techniques of plant breeding; the scale-up of other plant lines developed by the same technique; the presence of related (and sexually compatible) plants in the surrounding natural environment, and knowledge of the potential for gene transfer between the crop
farm animal genetic resources (AnGR) - those animal species that are used, or may be used, for the production of food and agriculture, and the populations within each of them. These populations within each species can be classified as wild and feral populations, landraces and primary populations, standardized breeds, selected lines, and any conserved genetic material. [FAO]
farmers rights - rights arising from the past, present and future contributions of farmers in conserving, improving and making available plant or animal genetic resources, particularly those in centres of origin. [JVG]
fauna - all of the animals found in a given area.
fecundity - rate at which females produce offspring.
financial mechanism - as defined by the Convention on Biological Diversity, its role is to provide under the guidance of the COP financial resources to help developing countries implement the Convention; the GEF is operating the mechanism on an interim basis.
fitness - - the genetic contribution to future generations; the average number of descendants. - the expected contribution of an allele, genotype, or phenotype to future generations. The fitness of genes and organisms is always relative to the other genes and organisms that are present in the same population. Usually it is measured as the average number of offspring produced by individuals with a certain genotype, relative to the number produced by other genotypes. [GBA]
flagship species - popular, charismatic species that serve as symbols and rallying points to stimulate conservation awareness and action.
flora - all of the plants found in a given area.
food web - an abstract representation of the feeding relationships of organisms within a community or an ecosystem. [JVG]fouling communities
founder effect - the loss of genetic diversity when a new colony is formed (e.g. on an oceanic island) by a very small number of individuals from a larger population elsewhere. [JVG]
fragmentation - the breaking up of extensive landscape features into disjunct, isolated, or semi-isolated patches as a result of land-use changes.
free-rider problem of public goods - because the use of public goods by one person does not exclude others, of each user has an incentive to allow others to pay the cost of the public good. [GBA]
friends of the chair - delegates who are called upon by the Chair (who takes into account the need for a political balance among various interests) to assist in carrying out specific tasks.
functional foods - foods that are considered to have a positive beneficial effect on health, by the addition of active ingredients, or by making bioavailable existing ingredients. Includes 'functional' modified or fortified soft drinks and other beverages, bread, dairy products, cereals, and snacks. [CUB]
GURTs - Genetic Use Restriction Technologies; see Terminator technology and Traitor technology
Global Environment Facility (GEF) - the multi-billion-dollar GEF was established by the World Bank, UNDP and UNEP in 1990. It operates the Convention's 'financial mechanism' on an interim basis and funds developing-country projects that have global biodiversity benefits. [CUB]
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) - government or industry set standards for the production of safe, efficacious, and high-quality ingredients and products. [CUB]
Group of 77 and China - the G-77 was founded in 1964 in the context of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and now functions throughout the UN system, comprising some 132 (in 1999) developing country members. Developing countries generally work through the Group of 77 and China to establish common negotiating positions on issues of interest to them, such as finance and technology transfer. However, because the G-77 and China is a diverse group with different interests, individual developing countries also intervene in debates, as do groups within the G-77, such as the African Group and AOSIS.
gamete - specialised haploid cell (sometimes called a sex cell) whose nucleus and often cytoplasm fuses with that of another gamete in the process of fertilisation field. [CUB]
gene - - the functional unit of heredity; the part of the DNA molecule that encodes a single enzyme or structural protein unit. - the unit of heredity transmitted from generation to generation during sexual or asexual reproduction. More generally, the term 'gene' may be used in relation to the transmission and inheritance of particular identifiable traits. [FAO] - the units of heredity transmitted from generation to generation. Each gene is a segment of nucleic acid carried in the DNA encoded for a specific protein. More generally, the term 'gene' may be used in relation to the transmission and inheritance of particular identifiable traits. The basic unit of heredity, a gene is an ordered sequence of nucleotide bases comprising a segment of DNA. A gene contains the sequence of DNA which encodes one polypeptide chain. The sum of an organism's genes is known as its genome. [CUB] The variant forms of each gene are termed alleles.
gene flow - exchange of genetic traits between populations by movement of individuals, gametes or spores.
gene mapping - determination of the relative positions of genes on a DNA molecule (chromosome or plasmid) and of the distance, in linkage units or physical units, between them. [CUB]
gene pool - the total amount of genetic material within a freely interbreeding population at a given time.
gene-bank - a storage facility where germplasm is stored in the form of seeds, pollen, embryos, semen, pollen, or in vitro culture, or in cryogenic storage, or, in the case of a field gene bank, as plants growing in the field. [GBA]
generics - copies of well-known drugs for which patent protection has expired. Companies specialising in generics invest little on research, or only on research in manufacturing procedures. The average price of a generic is 30 per cent below that for patented products. [CUB]
genetic distance - a measure of the genetic similarity between any pair of populations. Such distance may be based on phenotypic traits, allele frequencies or DNA sequences. For example, genetic distance between two populations having the same allele frequencies at a particular locus, and based solely on that locus, is zero. The distance for one locus is maximum when the two populations are fixed for different alleles. When allele frequencies are estimated for many loci, the genetic distance is obtained by averaging over these loci. [FAO]
genetic distancing - the collection of the data on phenotypic traits, marker allele frequencies or DNA sequences for two or more populations, and estimation of the genetic distances between each pair of populations. From these distances, the best representation of the relationships among all the populations may be obtained. [FAO]
genetic diversity - - the diversity of genes within and among populations of a species. This is the lowest level of biological diversity. - variation in the genetic composition of individuals within or among species; the heritable genetic variation within and among populations.
genetic drift - random gene frequency changes in a small population due to chance alone.
genetic engineering - - the identification of genes coding for useful traits and their introduction into other species of plants and animals ('transgenic species'). Genetic engineering offers the possibility of correcting genetic defects at source, or introducing new, desirable genetic characteristics that will stay with the subject and may be passed on to its successors. - manipulation of DNA to form a hybrid molecule, a new combination of non-homologous DNA (so-called recombinant DNA). The technique allows the bypassing of all the biological constraints to genetic exchange and mixing and may even permit the combination of genes from widely differing species. Genetic engineering developed in the early 1970s. [CUB]
genetic erosion - loss of genetic diversity between and within populations of the same species over time; or reduction of the genetic basis of a species due to human intervention, environmental changes, etc.
genetic marker - a gene with a clear, unambiguous phenotype used in genetic analysis to identify individuals that carry it or other linked genes. May act as a probe to mark a nucleus, chromosome or locus. [CUB]
genetic material - any material of plant, animal, microbial or other origin containing functional units of heredity. [CBD]
genetic resources - - genetic material of plants, animals or micro-organisms, including modern cultivars and breeds, primitive varieties and breeds, landraces and wild/weedy relatives of crop plants or domesticated animals, of value as a resource for future generations of humanity. [GBA] - genetic material of actual or potential value. [CUB]
genetically modified organism (GMO) - the modification of the genetic characteristics of a micro-organism, plant or animal by inserting a modified gene or a gene from another variety or species. GMOs may be micro-organisms designed for use as biopesticides or seeds that have been altered genetically to give a plant better disease resistance or growth. [CUB]
genome - - all the genes of a particular organism or species. - the complete set of genes and non-coding sequences present in each cell of an organism, or the genes in a complete haploid set of chromosomes of a particular organism. [FAO] - the genetic endowment of an organism. When expressed, this will result in the observable characteristics or phenotype. [CUB]
genomics - the study of genomes including genome mapping, gene sequencing and gene function. The use of this information in the development of therapeutics. [CUB].
genotype - the entire genetic constitution of an organism, or the genetic composition at a specific gene locus or set of loci.
germ cell - a small organic structure or cell from which a new organism may develop. [CUB]
germplasm - - genetic material, especially its specific molecular and chemical constitution, that comprises the physical basis of the inherited qualities of an organism. - the genetic material which forms the physical basis ofheredity and which is transmitted from one generation to the next by means of germ cells. [CUB]
green petroleum - bioprospecting seen as the means to a new 'green petroleum', capable of bringing wealth to the gene-rich, but financially poor countries of the South  (ref.: K. ten Kate, 1995. Biopiracy or Green Petroleum? Expectations & Best Practice in Bioprospecting. - Overseas Development Administration, Environment Policy Department, London).
greenhouse gases  (GHGs) - gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, that tend to trap heat radiating from the Earth's surface, thus causing warming in the lower atmosphere. The major GHGs causing climate change are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). The Kyoto Protocol also addresses hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), ans sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
guild - a group of species found in the same place that share the same food resource. Example: the lizard species of a sand dune that feed on insects. [GBA]
habitat - - the place or type of site where an organism or population naturally occurs. [CBD] - the space in which an organism, population, or species lives.
habitat restoration - the return of a habitat to its original community structure, natural complement of species and natural functions.
haploid - - cell or organism that contains one set of chromosomes. - having the number of chromosomes present in the normal germ cell equal to half the number in the normal somatic cell. [CUB]
herbs - plants or plant parts valued for medicinal, savoury, cosmetic, flavouring, or aromatic qualities. [CUB]
heterozygosity - genetic variability among individuals within populations and variability among populations.
homologous chromosomes - contain identical linear sequences of genes and pair during meiosis. [CUB]
homozygote or homozygous - - individual having two copies of the same allele at a genetic locus. - individual having two identical alleles of a particular gene or genes, and so breeding true for the corresponding characteristics. [CUB]
horticulture - the cultivation of ornamental and vegetable plants in gardens or smallholdings (market gardens). Latin: hortus = garden. [CUB]
hotspot - - an area particularly rich in total numbers of species. - an area of especially high pollutant concentration.
hybrid - individual organism resulting from a cross between parents of differing genotypes. Hybrids may be fertile or sterile, depending on qualitative and/or quantitative differences in the genomes of the two parents. Hybrids are most commonly formed by sexual cross-fertilization between compatible organisms, but techniques for the production of hybrids from widely differing organisms are being developed by cell fusion and tissue culture. [CUB slightly modified by JVG]
hybrid zone - region of reproduction among individuals of different species.
hybridization - - crossing of individuals from genetically different strains, populations or species. - the act of crossing two different individual organisms of differing genetic constitution from different populations or different species. [CUB] - a molecular procedure in which single strands of DNA and/or RNA are mixed and subsequently bind to one another. The degree of binding is a measure of the relatedness of the strands. The procedure is used to detect RNA or DNA using suitable probes. [CUB]
hypoxia - a state of low oxygen concentration in water and sediments, relative to the needs of most aerobic species.
impact assessment - an evaluation of the likely impact on biological diversity of proposed programmes, policies, or projects. [CUB]
in situ conservation of farm animal genetic diversity - all measures to maintain live animal breeding populations, including those involved in active breeding programmes in the agro-ecosystem where they either developed or are now normally found, together with husbandry activities that are undertaken to ensure the continued contribution of these resources to sustainable food and agricultural production, now and in the future. [FAO]
in vitro - - storage of living materials as tissue culture, and may include cryopreservation (storage at low temperature, usually in liquid nitrogen). - literally 'in glass'. Experimental reproduction of biological processes in isolation from a living organism, e.g. tissue culture. [CUB]
in vitro culture - see: tissue culture.
in vivo - taking place in a living organism.
in-bred - a cross between parents of similar genetic constitution which could be from the same blood line (shared ancestry). [CUB]
in-bred line - in plants, a line produced by repeated selfing and selection. Results in truebreeding and a fixed genotype. [CUB]
in-situ - in the original location. (Opposite: ex-situ)
in-situ conditions - conditions where genetic resources exist within ecosystems and natural habitats, and, in the case of domesticated or cultivated species, in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive properties. [CBD] - the conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings and, in the case of domesticated or cultivated species, in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive properties. [CBD] - the conservation of biodiversity within the evolutionary dynamic ecosystems of the original habitat or natural environment. [GBA]
in-situ gene banks - protected areas designated specifically to protect genetic variability of particular species. [GBA]
inbreeding - - mating among related individuals. - mating of close relatives, which reduces genetic diversity, often leading to expression of deleterious recessive characteristics and reduction of fitness in the offspring.
inbreeding depression - a reduction in fitness and vigour of individuals as a result of increased homozygosity through inbreeding in a normally outbreeding population.
income - flow of money, goods or services deriving from the productive use of assets.
indicator species - a species whose status provides information on the overall condition of the ecosystem and of other species in that ecosystem. They reflect the quality and changes in environmental conditions as well as aspects of community composition. [GBA]
indigenous peoples - people whose ancestors inhabited a place or country when persons from another culture or ethnic background arrived on the scene and dominated them through conquest, settlement, or other means and who today live more in conformity with their own social, economic, and cultural customs and traditions than with those of the country of which they now form a part. (Also: "native peoples" or "tribal peoples".) [GBA]
informal contact group - on the instructions of the President or Chair, delegates may meet in private to discuss specific matters in order to consolidate different views, reach a compromise, and produce an agreed proposal, often in the form of written text.
insurance value - the value of biodiversity in maintaining ecosystem functions over a range of environmental conditions. [GBA]
integrated area management (IAM) - management approach whereby a specific area is zoned and regulated for a variety of uses, including research, species protection, tourism, harvesting, cutting down trees, hunting, or fishing, that is compatible with the management goals for the area.
integrated pest management - - an ecologically based strategy that relies on natural mortality factors, such as natural enemies, weather, and crop management, and seeks to control tactics that disrupt these factors as little as possible while enhancing their effectiveness. [GBA] - the challenging or control of pests through a tailored programme of different strategies including biological control agents and agrochemicals. [CUB]
intellectual property right - a right enabling an inventor to exclude imitators from the market for a limited time.
intergenerational equity - a core proposition is that future generations have a right to an inheritance (capital bequest) sufficient to allow them to generate a level of well-being no less than that of the current generation. Fairness in the treatment of different members of the same generation. [GBA]
intertidal zone - the zone of overlap between land and sea that is submerged at high tide and exposed at low tide.
introduced species - see: alien species.
introduction - the entry of a pest [or species] resulting in its establishment. [FAO bis]
introduction of a biological control agent - the release of a biological control agent into an ecosystem or an area where it did not exist previously. [FAO bis]
introgression - incorporation of genes of one species into a gene pool of another species.
inundative release - the release of overwhelming numbers of a mass-produced biological control agent in the expectation of achieving a rapid reduction of a pest population without necessarily achieving continuing impact. [FAO bis]
invasive species - an introduced species which invades natural habitats.
inventorying - the surveying, sorting, cataloguing, quantifying and mapping of entities such as genes, individuals, populations, species, habitats, ecosystems and landscapes or their components, and the synthesis of the resulting information for the analysis of process. [GBA]
invertebrate - any animal without backbone or spinal column.
JUSSCANNZ - a regional group coalition of the non EU developed countries, which acts as an information sharing and discussion forum. JUSSCANNZ stands for Japan, the US, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Norway and New Zealand. Iceland, Mexico, the Republic of Korea and other invited countries may also attend meetings.
Jakarta Mandate - the Jakarta Mandate on Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity is a global consensus on the importance of marine and coastal biological diversity and is a part of the Ministerial Statement on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, as adopted by the Conference of the Parties at its second meeting held in Jakarta, Indonesia, 6-17 November 1995.
joint products - commodities which are produced in such a way that a change in the output of one of them necessarily involves a change in the output of the other. [GBA]
Kyoto Protocol - under the Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC), adopted at COP-3 on 11 December 1997). The Kyoto Protocol commits Annex I Parties to individual, legally binding targets to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, adding up a total cut of at least 5% from 1990 levels in the period 2008-2012. The Protocol also establishes three innovative 'mechanisms', known as joint implementation, emissions trading and the clean development mechanism, which are designed to help Annex I Parties reduce the costs of meeting their emissions targets. The Kyoto Protocol was open for signature between 16 March 1998 and 15 March 1999. During that period, 84 countries signed the Protocol, including all but two Annex I Parties. In order to enter into force, the Protocol must be ratified (or adopted, approved, or acceded to) by 50 Parties to the Convention. As of July 2001, only five countries have ratified the Protocol, one being an Annex I Party.
karyotype - characteristic chromosomes of a species.
keystone species - - a species whose loss from an ecosystem would cause a greater than average change in other species populations or ecosystem processes; species that have a disproportionately large effect on other species in a community. [GBA] - a species that influences the ecological composition, structure, or functioning of its community far more than its abundance would suggest.
L - in-session documents that contain draft reports and texts for adoption by the COP or the subsidiary body, often in all six UN languages.
Leipzig Declaration - The Leipzig Declaration on conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, Leipzig, 23 June 1996.
land tenure - the right to exclusively occupy and use a specified area of land. Tenure may also be limited to certain resources ("resource tenure") such as timber but not to all resources in a given area. Tenure may be held by individuals, communities, government, or corporations. [GBA]
landrace - - a crop cultivar or animal breed that evolved with and has been genetically improved by traditional agriculturalists, but has not been influenced by modern breeding practices. [GBA] - farmer-developed cultivars of crop plants which are adapted to local environmental conditions. [CUB]
life sciences companies - companies which combine businesses in pharmaceutical, agricultural chemicals and products, and food and nutrition. [CUB]
line - a homozygous, pure breeding group of individuals phenotypically distinct from other members of the same species. Broader than strain. [CUB]
littoral - the ocean shore, including the rocky intertidal, sandy beaches, and salt marshes.
living modified organisms (LMOs) - - all organisms produced through the use of recombinant DNA technology, with a wider range of modifying technologies relevant when considering living modified prokaryotes and yeast. [BSWG/2/5: Report of the Panel of Experts on Biosafety, Cairo 1995] - genetically modified organisms (GMOs) whose genetic material does not occur naturally by mating or natural recombination. [BSWG/2/5: Report of UNEP Expert Panel IV]
locus - the site on a chromosome occupied by a specific gene.
MOSAICC - MOSAICC is a voluntary code of conduct developed to facilitate easy access to and international circulation of microbial genetic resources (MGRs) for the benefit of sciences and world-wide sustainable development in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity. [see BCCM]
Manila Declaration - The Manila Declaration Concerning The Ethical Utilization Of Biological Resources, developed at the ASOMPS VII meeting in Manila, Philippines, 2-7 February 1992.
Montpellier Declaration - The Montpellier Declaration on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
macroevolution - arge-scale evolution, entailing major changes in biological traits.
managed forest - productive forest where harvesting regulations are enforced, silvicultural treatments are carried out, and trees are protected from fires and diseases. [GBA]
management of farm animal genetic resources - the sum total of technical, policy, and logistical operations involved in understanding (characterization), using and developing (utilization), maintaining (conservation), accessing, and sharing the benefits of animal genetic resources. [FAO]
mangrove forest - a community of salt-tolerant trees, with associated shrubs or vines and other organisms, that grows in a zone roughly coinciding with the intertidal zone along protected tropical and subtropical coasts.
marginal values - the change in the value of a resource that is due to an incremental change in its quantity. [GBA]
mariculture - - cultivation of marine organisms, plant and animal, for purposes of human consumption. - the growing of marine animals and plants under specialized culture conditions. - controlled cultivation of marine organisms in tanks, ponds, cages, rafts, or other structures - farming of marine organisms, including fish, molluscs, crustaceans and plants. [JVG] - breeding and rearing marine fish, shellfish, plants etc. for food in special areas. [JVG]
marine ecosystems - regions of ocean space encompassing coastal areas from river basins to estuaries to the seaward boundary of continental shelves and seaward margins of coastal current systems. They are relatively large regions, characterized by distinct bathymetry, hydrography, productivity and trophically linked populations. [GBA]
marker assisted selection - the use of molecular markers to follow the inheritance of genes, particularly those genes which cannot be readily identified. Selection of a marker flanking a gene of interest allows selection for the presence (or absence) of a gene in a new progeny. [CUB]
market failure - this occurs when market prices are not equal to the social opportunity cost of resources. External effects or externalities are evidence of market failure. [GBA]
market prices - prices generated through a market mechanism. When all costs and benefits (societal) have not been taken into account, this may be less than the social cost. [GBA]
mass selection - breeding method whereby seed from a number of individuals is selected to form the next generation. Selection criteria are relaxed until later generations and crosses are performed at random. [CUB]
maximum sustainable yield - - the largest yield that can be obtained which does not deplete or damage natural resources irreparably and which leaves the environment in good order for future generations. [GBA] - the maximum amount of a species or group of species that can be taken without diminishing the future take.
mechanism-based screening - a receptor- or enzyme-based screen against which a range of materials can be run, including natural products such as plants, marine organisms, fungi, and micro-organisms, but also synthetic compounds. [CUB]
medicinal and aromatic plant material - whole plants and plant parts (including seeds and fruits) used primarily in perfumery and pharmacy. Includes fresh, dried, uncut, cut, crushed, and powdered material. [CUB]
meiosis - the process of division of sexual cells in which the number of chromosomes in each nucleus is reduced to half the normal number found in normal somatic cells. When two sexual cells fuse, each contributes its half of the chromosomes. The resulting embryo contains the full chromosome complement. Cells with half the chromosomes are called haploids: those with the normal chromosomal complement, diploids. [CUB]
meristem - the tip of a growing plant shoot or root. [CUB]
meristem tip culture - a cell culture developed from a small portion of the meristem tissue of a plant. [CUB]
mesopelagic - referring to depths between 200 to 1,000 meters in the ocean, seas and lakes.
metabolites - chemical products of metabolism; the biological synthesis or breakdown carried out by cells or their components. [CUB]
metapopulation - a set of partially isolated populations belonging to the same species. The different populations are able to exchange individuals and recolonize sites in which the species has recently become extinct.
micro-organisms - - groups of microscopic organisms, some of which cannot be detected without the aid of a light or electron microscope, including the viruses, the prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea), and eukaryotic life forms, such as protozoa, filamentous fungi, yeasts and micro-algae. [CUB] - a micro-organism is a protozoean, fungus, bacterium, virus or other microscopic self-replicating biotic entity. [FAO bis]
microbe - synonymous with micro-organism.
microevolution - evolutionary changes on the small scale, such as changes in gene frequencies within a population.
micropropagation - the use of biotechnological methods to grow large numbers of plants from very small pieces of plants, often from single cells using tissue culture methods. [CUB]
minimum viable population - the smallest isolated population having a good chance of surviving for a given number of years despite the foreseeable effects of demographic, environmental, and genetic events and natural catastrophes. (The probability of persistence and the time of persistence are often taken to be 99 percent and 1000 years, respectively.) [GBA]
molecular marker - a molecular selection technique of DNA signposts which allows the identification of differences in the nucleotide sequences of the DNA in different individuals. Agriculture: a tool which allows crop geneticists and breeders to locate on a plant chromosome the genes for a trait of interest. It is considered more efficient than conventional breeding as it has the potential to greatly reduce development times and substitutes laboratory selection for much of the fieldwork. [CUB]
monitoring - the intermittent (regular or irregular) surveillance to ascertain the extent of compliance with a predetermined standard or degree of deviation from an expected norm (Hellawell, 1991.) [GBA]
monophyletic group - set of species containing a common ancestor and all its descendants.
move (moving, movement) - to ship, offer for shipment, offer for entry, import, receive for transportation, carry or otherwise transport or move, or allow to be moved into, through, or within the United States. (See also safe transfer.) [BSWG/2/5: US Federal Register, 7 Code of Federal Regulations part 340, Restrictions on the Introduction of Regulated Articles, 1993]
mutagen - agent that induces a mutation within an organism, such as X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and certain chemicals such as carcinogens. KP is an agent capable of inducing a mutation (a change that alters the sequence or chemistry of bases in the DNA molecule) in the genetic material of an organism. [CUB]
mutation - any change in the genotype of an organism occurring at the gene, chromosome or genome level.
mutualism - - interspecific relationship in which both organisms benefit. Example: flower pollination by insects. - a kind of symbiotic relationship, such as the one between sea-anemones and clown-fishes, or corals and zooxanthellae, in which both species benefit; the relationship can be obligate or facultative for one or both
national delegation - one or more officials who are empowered to represent and negotiate on behalf of their government
national income accounts - system of record by which the vigor of a nation's economy is measured. (Results are often listed as Gross National Product, or Gross Domestic Product.)
native peoples - see: indigenous peoples.
native species - plants, animals, fungi, and micro-organisms that occur naturally in a given area or region.
natural enemy - an organism which lives at the expense of another organism and which may help to limit the population of its host. This includes parasitoids, parasites, predators and pathogens [FAO bis].
natural forest - see: primary forest.
natural forest management system - controlled and regulated harvesting of forest trees, combined with silvicultural and protective measures, to sustain and increase the commercial value of subsequent stands; relies on natural regeneration of native species. [GBA]
natural selection - process by which the genotypes in a population that are best adapted to the environment increase in frequency relative to less well-adapted genotypes over a number of generations.
nekton - swimming organisms that are able to move independently of water currents (opp. plankton). These include most fish, mammals, turtles, sea snakes, and aquatic birds.
nematode - roundworms, often internal parasites of animals and plants. The latter are significant economic pests on foodcrops as few crops are immune to attacks of these creatures which inhabit the soil about the roots of plants. The development of nematode-resistant varieties of crop plants is important to food growth economics. [CUB, modified by JVG]
neoendemics - clusters of closely related species and subspecies that have evolved relatively recently.
net present value - the discounted value of the net benefits of use of a resource.
niche - the place occupied by a species in its ecosystem and its role: where it lives, what it feeds on and when it performs all its activities.
nitrogen fixation - biological assimilation of atmospheric nitrogen to form organic nitrogen-containing compounds.
non-consumptive value - the value of resources which are not diminished by their use. Values that do not require access to or active use of a biological resource by the valuer. Passive use value may imply that the resource is used by other humans whose welfare matters to the valuer. It therefore includes vicarious use value, bequest value and existence value. (Also non-use or passive use value.) [GBA]
non-equilibrium theory - suggests that the number of species increases or decreases depending on how the environment influences species production, exchange and extinction at any particular time.
non-exclusive goods - public goods to which it is impossible, or excessively costly, to operate any mechanism.
non-governmental organization (NGO) - a non-profit group or association organized outside of institutionalized political structures to realize particular social objectives (such as environmental protection) or serve particular constituencies (such as indigenous peoples). NGO activities range from research, information distribution, training, local organization, and community service to legal advocacy, lobbying for legislative change, and civil disobedience. NGO's range in size from small groups within a particular community to huge membership groups with a national or international scope. [UNEP] Many relevant NGOs attend the biodiversity meetings as observers in order to interact with delegates and press and provide information. NGOs must be non-profit and can include environmental groups, research institutions, business groups, and associations of urban and local governments.
non-paper - in-session document issued informally to facilitate negotiations; it does not have an official document symbol although they may have an identifying number or the name of the author(s).
non-party - a state that has not ratified the Convention and may attend meetings as an observer.
non-use value - see: non-consumptive value.
normalizing selection - see: stabilizing selection.
nucleotide - unit building block of DNA. It consists of a sugar and phosphate backbone with a base attached.
null model - the model of no effect.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) - comprises (1999) Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the USA. [CUB]
observer - the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies normally permit accredited observers to attend their meetings. Observers include the United Nations and its specialised agencies, non-Party states, representatives of other conventions, and other qualified governmental and non-governmental organisations.
oligotrophic - low in nutrients and in primary production.
ontogeny - life cycle of a single organism; biological development of the individual.
opportunity cost - the value of the best alternative use of a resource. This consists of the maximum value of other outputs we could and would have produced had we not used the resource to produce the item in question. [GBA]
option value - the potential value of the resource for future (direct or indirect) use.
orthodox seed - seed that can be dried and stored for long periods at reduced temperatures and under low humidity. [CUB]
over-expression host - an organism that produces more of the desired enzyme or compound than normal. [CUB]
Party - a state (or regional economic integration organization such as the EU) that ratifies, accepts or approves the CBD or accedes thereto becomes a Contracting Party. Each Party to the Convention is represented at sessions of the Convention bodies by a national delegation consisting of one or more officials who are empowered to represent, and negociate on behalf of, their government. Based on the tradition of the UN, Parties are organised into five regional groups, mainly for the purposes of electing the Bureaus.
Pleistocene - the span of geological time preceding the Recent epochs, during which the human species evolved. It began 2.5 million years ago and ceased with the end of the last Ice Age 10.000 years ago.
President - elected by the Parties to preside over the COP, the President is often a senior official or minister from the state or region hosting the meeting.
parapatric speciation - speciation in which the new species forms from a population contiguous with the ancestral species' geographic range.
parasite - - an organism that consumes part of the tissues of its host, usually without killing the host. - an organism which lives on or in another organism, feeding upon it. [FAO bis]
parasitoid - - kind of insect whose larvae develop within and kill their host. - an insect parasitic only in its immature stages, killing its host in the process of its development, and free living as an adult. [FAO bis]
parataxonomist - field-trained biodiversity collection and inventory specialist recruited from local areas.
passive use value - see: non-consumptive value.
patent - a government grant of temporary monopoly rights on innovative processes or products.
pathogen - a disease-causing micro-organism; a bacterium, fungus or virus.
pathway - - a sequence of reactions undergone in a living organism. [CUB] - any means that allows the entry or spread of a pest. [FAO bis]
pelagic - - living in the water column. (Opposite: benthic). - free-swimming (nektonic) or floating (planktonic) organisms that live exclusively in the water column, not on the bottom.
pest - any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal or pathogenic agent injurious to plants or other organisms and/or their products. [JVG]
phenotype - - the observed traits of an organism, resulting from an interaction of its genotype and its environment. - the characteristics of an organism that result from the interaction of its genetic constitution with the environment. [CUB]
pheromone - - a volatile hormone or behaviour-modifying agent. Normally used to describe sex attractants -for example bombesin for the moth Bombyx- but includes volatile aggression-stimulating agents (e.g. isoamyl acetate in honey bees). [CUB] - a hormone-like substance secreted into the environment by certain animals, especially insects. [CUB]
photosynthesis - chemical reactions in plants and plant-like organisms whereby the sun's energy is absorbed by the green pigment chlorophyll, permitting carbon dioxide and water to be synthesized into carbohydrates accompanied by the release of water and oxygen.
phyletic evolution - genetic changes that occur within an evolutionary line.
phylogenetic - pertaining to the evolutionary history of a particular group of organisms.
phylogeny - history or evolutionary development of any plant or animal species.
phylum - in taxonomy and systematics, the highest level of classification below the kingdom. For instance, Mollusca (slugs, snails, clams, squids, etc.) constitute a phylum. [JVG]
phytomedicine - medicinal products based on standardised active ingredients within a herbal base. This term is sometimes used more broadly to include all plant-based medicines. [CUB]
phytonutrients - naturally-occurring compounds found in fruits and vegetables, such as beta carotene, capsaicin, and flavonoids. [CUB]
picoplankton - planktonic organisms ranging in size from 0.2 to 2.0 micrometers.
plankton - - floating, drifting or slowly swimming organisms that cannot swim against currents. - floating and drifting organisms that have limited swimming abilities and that are carried largely passively with water currents (opp. nekton). These include bacteria (bacterioplankton), plants and plant-like organisms (phytoplankton) and the animals (zooplankton) that eat them.
plant functional attributes - readily observable features of vegetation that are considered significant for growth, physiology and survival (for example pollination mechanisms, seed dispersal mechanisms, rooting systems.) [GBA]
plenary - an open session of the entire Conference of the Parties or a subsidiary body where all formal decisions are taken.
pleuston - organisms that float on the sea surface.
policy failure - occurs when government policies do not correct for market failures. [GBA]
pollen culture - a culture of plant cells derived from pollen in a synthetic medium: the progeny generated will have a single set of chromosomes. [CUB]
pollination - - the transfer of pollen from an anther to the stigma in angiosperms, or from the microsporangium to the micropyle in gymnosperms. - pollination happens when pollen lands on a female part of a flower such as the stigma of a carpel. Pollination can be caused by pollinators such as butterflies, bees, birds, bats but also by the wind or the water.
pollinator - a pollinator is an agent, generally an animal (insect, bird, bat, etc.) that carries pollen to the female part of a flower.
polyploid - organism containing two or more sets of genes or chromosomes.
population - a group of individuals with common ancestry that are much more likely to mate with one another than with individuals from another such group.
population viability analysis - a comprehensive analysis of the many environmental and demographic factors that affect survival of a population, usually small.
post-emergent - a herbicide which acts after the seed has germinated.
pre-breeding - the development of germplasm to a state where it is viable for breeder's use. Primarily involves the evaluation of traits from exotic material and their introduction into more cultivated backgrounds. [CUB]
pre-clinical studies - the various tests conducted in whole animals and other test systems, such as cell cultures, to determine the relative toxicity of a compound to living systems. These are referred to as pre-clinical studies - tests conducted and evaluated prior to the first administration of the compound to humans. Also included in this category are two-year carcinogenicity assays which typically overlap with the chemical testing phase. Pre-clinical tests include: toxicity (how poisonous it is and what side effects might be expected); bioavailability (how effectively it is taken up into the body and delivered to the tissue where it is needed); pharmacokinetics (how it is metabolised, and therefore how long it stays in the body); and whether it has the desired physiological effect. [CUB]
precautionary principle - - (= do-no-harm principle) a proactive method of dealing with the environment that places the burden of proof on those whose activities could harm the environment. (Opposite: wait-and-see principle) - if the costs of current activities are uncertain, but are potentially both high and irreversible, the precautionary principle holds that society should take action before the uncertainty is resolved. [GBA]
predator - - an animal that kills and eats animals. - a natural enemy that preys and feeds on other animal organisms, mor than one of which are killed during its lifetime [FAO bis]
preparatory committee (PrepCom) - the establishment of a preparatory committee is a very important administrative step in the process of an international conference because it refines conference issues in seeking consensus. When world leaders meet at the conference itself, their only task is to approve pre-negotiated documents.
primary forest - a forest largely undisturbed by human activities. (Also: natural forest; opp. secondary forest.)
primary metabolites - compounds ubiquitous in living organisms and essential for life, such as carbohydrates, the essential amino acids and polymers derived from them. [CUB]
primary production - amount of organic material synthesised by organisms from inorganic substrata in a given area in a given period.
primary productivity - the transformation of chemical or solar energy to biomass. Most primary production occurs through photosynthesis, whereby green plants convert solar energy, carbon dioxide, and water to glucose and eventually to plant tissue. In addition, some bacteria in the deep sea can convert chemical energy to biomass through chemosynthesis. [UNEP]
primary value - the value of the system characteristics upon which all ecosystem functions depend.
primitive cultivar - crop forms developed from landraces. Improvement through selection restricted to a few specific characteristics and often more uniform in nature than a landrace. [CUB]
prior informed consent (PIC) - the principle that international shipment of a pesticide that is banned or severely restricted in order to protect human health or the environment should not proceed without agreement, where such agreement exists, or contrary to the decision of the designated national authority in the participating importing country. [BSWG/2/5: FAO International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides] MOSAICC defines the term 'prior informed consent' as follows: - the consent is to be acquired prior to accessing microbial genetic resources (MGRs), - the consent is to be based on legally correct and trustworthy information provided by the partners to this PIC-agreement, - the consent is to be granted by a competent authority of the country providing the MGRs and according to the national legislation and procedures. The PIC is provided by competent authorities that are entitled to provide the authorization for access to MGRs. For the purpose of MOSAICC these competent authorities will be called 'PIC-authorities'. More information: Philippe Desmeth, BCCMtm International Co-operation Officer. PIC is a procedure that helps participating countries learn more about the characteristics of potentially hazardous chemicals that may be shipped to them, initiates a decision making process on the future import of these chemicals by the countries themselves and facilitates the dissemination of this decision to other countries. The aim is to promote a shared responsibility between exporting and importing countries in protecting human health and the environment from the harmful effects of certain hazardous chemicals being traded internationally.
private opportunity cost - the opportunity cost faced by an individual agent of using a resource (not including any externalities.) [GBA]
private value - the value to the private agent of using or refraining from using a resource. [GBA]
prochlorophyte - bacteria that are the smallest photosynthetic cells (less than one micrometers; see picoplankton) in the open ocean; nearly ubiquitous in the sea.
production environment - all input-output relationships, over time, at a particular location. The relationships will include biological, climatic, economic, social, cultural and political factors, which combine to determine the productive potential of a particular livestock enterprise. - high-input production environment: a production environment where all rate-limiting inputs to animal production can be managed to ensure high levels of survival, reproduction and output. Output and production risks are constrained primarily by managerial decisions. - medium-input production environment: a production environment where management of the available resources has the scope to overcome the negative effects of the environment on animal production, although it is common for one or more factors to limit output, survival or reproduction in a serious fashion. - low-input production environment: a production environment where one or more rate-limiting inputs impose continuous or variable severe pressure on livestock, resulting in low survival, reproductive rate or output. Output and production risks are exposed to major influences which may go beyond human management capacity. [FAO]
production function - this describes the outputs that may be obtained from combining different quantities of inputs. [GBA]
production traits - characteristics of animals, such as the quantity or quality of the milk, meat, fiber, eggs, draught, etc. they (or their progeny) produce, which contribute directly to the value of the animals for the farmer, and that are identifiable or measurable at the individual level. Production traits of farm animals are generally quantitatively inherited, i.e. they are influenced by many genes whose expression in a particular animal also reflects environmental influences. [FAO]
progeny testing - procedure to establish the genotype of a parent by recording the genetic status of offspring/progeny. [CUB]
prokaryote - an organism having a cell without a distinct nucleus. Bacteria and blue-green algae are prokaryotes. (Opposite: eukaryote.)
propagule - a dispersal stage of a plant or animal, such as fertilized eggs, larvae, or seeds.
protected area - - a legally established land or water area under either public or private ownership that is regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives. [GBA] - a geographically defined area which is designated or regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives. [CUB]
protein - any of a class of nitrogenous compounds forming an essential part of living organisms and having large molecules consisting of one or more chains of amino acids linked together. [CUB]
protein engineering - the generation of proteins (specifically enzymes) with subtly modified structures, thus conferring new properties such as changed catalytic specificity or thermal stability. [CUB]
protocol - a protocol is linked to an existing convention, but it is a separate and additional agreement that must be signed and ratified by the Parties to the convention. Protocols typically expand or strengthen a convention by adding new or more detailed commitments. [JVG]
protoplast - a plant cell from which the cell wall has been removed by mechanical or enzymatic means. Protoplasts can be prepared from primary tissues of most plant organs as well as from cultured plant cells. [CUB]
public good - a good which, once provided to one user, must be provided in the same amount to all users due to its non-rival and non-excludable nature. [GBA]
Quaternary period - the second and last period of the Cenozoic era extending from 2.5 million years ago to the present.
quarantine - official confinement of regulated articles for observation and research or for further inspection, testing or treatment. [FAO bis]
quarantine pest - a pest of potential economic importance to the area endangered thereby and not yet present there, or present but not widely distributed and being offically controlled. [FAO bis]
quasi-option value - the value of the future information made available through the preservation of a resource. [GBA]
RNA - a molecule with similar structure to DNA that is involved in a number of cell activities, especially protein synthesis. Some viruses have RNA as their genetic material. [CUB]
Rio Earth Summit - see: 'Earth Summit', Rio de Janeiro.
ratification - after signing the Convention, a country must ratify it, for which it often needs the approval of the parliament or other legislature. For the CBD the instrument of ratification is submitted to the UN Secretary-General in New York, who acts as the Depositary. At the date of submission the country becomes a Party to the Convention; 90 days later the Convention enters into force for that country. As of 29 December 2000 the CBD has 180 parties. [JVG]
rational expectations - the hypothesis that decision-makers base their decisions on predictions which contain no systematic errors.
reagent - a substance used to cause a reaction, especially to detect another substance.
recalcitrant - a term applied to pollutants which are not biodegradable or are only biodegradable with difficulty. [CUB]
recalcitrant seed - - seed that does not survive drying and freezing. - seed that cannot withstand either drying or temperatures of less than 10° C and cannot therefore be stored for long periods as orthodox seeds can. [CUB]
reciprocal externality - these are externalities where all parties using some resource impose external costs on all others.
recombinant DNA (r-DNA) - - any DNA molecule formed by joining DNA segments from different sources. - a strand of DNA synthesised in the laboratory by splicing together selected parts of DNA strands from different organic species, or by adding a selected part to an existing DNA strand. [CUB]
recombinant DNA technology - the process of excising segments of DNA from one species of organism and inserting them into the DNA of another species. [CUB]
recommendation of the SBSTTA - the SBSTTA delivers its advice to the COP in the form of recommendations that are numbered sequentially.
recurrent selection - a breeding method aimed at increasing the frequency of favourable genes through repeated cycles of selection and selected crossing of individuals. [CUB]
red tide - reddish-brown discoloring of surface water from blooming populations of dinoflagellate phytoplankton; since long associated with nutrient pollution.
reef ball - a designed artificial reef used to restore ailing coral reefs and to create new fishing and scuba diving sites. More info: What's a Reef Ball?
regional economic integration organisation - an organisation constituted by sovereign States of a given region, to which its member States have transferred competence in respect of matters governed by this Convention and which has been duly authorised, in accordance with its internal procedures, to sign, ratify, accept, approve or accede to it. [CBD]
regional group - based on the tradition of the UN, Parties are organised into five regional groups. These groups are: Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) and the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG). The others in WEOG include Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the US, but not Japan, which is in the Asian Group. The regional groups meet privately to discuss issues and nominate bureau members and other officials.
reservation - a Party may accept a decision of the COP while noting its reservations and concerns for the record. However, no reservations may be made to the Convention itself or to the Protocol.
resolution - unlike decisions, resolutions do not generally become part of the formal body of decisions that guide the work of the COP. They are directives that guide, opinions rather than permanent legal acts.
resource - a substance or place required by an organism for its growth, maintenance and reproduction.
restoration - the return of an ecosystem or habitat to its original community structure, natural complement of species, and natural functions.
revealed preference approach - these approaches, which include derived demand approaches and indirect valuation methods, infer values from data on behavioural changes in actual markets related in some way to the missing market(s.) [GBA]
rights - entitlements assured by custom, law or property.
risk - the outcome of an action is said to involve risk where: the set of all possible outcomes of that action is known, and where the probability distribution of all possible outcomes is also known. [GBA]
risk assessment - - the use of scientific data to identify and characterize the nature and magnitude of hazards, if any, and the likelihood of hazards being realized. [BSWG/2/5: Report of Panel of Experts on Biosafety] - the measure to estimate what harm might be caused, how likely it would be to occur and the scale of the estimated damage. [BSWG/2/5: UNEP International Technical Guidelines for Safety in Biotechnology]
risk management - - the implementation of the most appropriate measures to minimize the identified risks and mitigate their effects while achieving the anticipated results. [BSWG/2/5: Report of Panel of Experts on Biosafety] - refers to the ways that appropriate methods are applied in order to minimize risks and should not be determined by and in proportion to the results of the risk/safety analysis. It does not include broader considerations of a political, socio-economic, value and/or ethical nature. [BSWG/2/5: Safety Considerations for Biotechnology Scale-up of Crop Plants OECD 1993] - the measures to ensure that the production and handling of an organism is safe. [BSWG/2/5: UNEP International Technical Guidelines for Safety in Biotechnology]
rules of procedure - the rules that govern the proceedings of the COP, including the procedures for decision-making and participation.
Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity - staffed by international civil servants and responsible for servicing the Conference of the Parties and ensuring its smooth operation, the Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity makes arrangements for meetings, compiles and prepares reports, communicates with the Convention Parties, and co-ordinates with other relevant international bodies. The Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity is administered by UNEP and located in Montreal, Canada. [JVG]
Subsidiary Body of the Convention on Biological Diversity - The Convention defines one permanent committee: the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA). The Conference of the Parties may establish additional subsidiary bodies as needed; for example in 1996 it set up the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety..
safe minimum standard - a restriction (taboo, prohibition, harvesting season) which limits the use of resources to levels that are thought to be safe, e.g. conservation of a sufficient area of habitat to ensure the continued provision of ecological functions and services, at the ecosystem level. [GBA]
safe or safety - the conditions determined with reasonable certainty to have acceptable or negligible risk to human health or to managed or natural ecosystems. [BSWG/2/5: Proposed USDA Guidelines for Research Involving the Planned Introduction in the Environment of Organisms with Deliberate modified Hereditary Traits, US Department of Agriculture, 56 FR 4134, 1 February 1991]
safe transfer - is transfer that completely eliminates any adverse effect on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. [BSWG/2/5: Draft Biosafety Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity, prepared by the Community Nutrition Institute, 910 17th Street NW, Suite 413, Washington, DC 20006]
secondary forest - natural forest growth after some major disturbance (e.g. logging, serious fire, or insect attack). (Opp.: primary forest.)
secondary value - the value of ecosystem functions.
seed bank - a facility designed for the ex-situ conservation of individual plant samples through seed preservation and storage.
selection - natural selection is the differential contribution of offspring to the next generation by various genetic types belonging to the same populations. Artificial selection is the intentional manipulation by man of the fitness of individuals in a population to produce a desired evolutionary response. [GBA]
self-pollinated - see in-bred.
sessile - fixed or attached; unable to move.
sibling species - species so similar to each other as to be difficult to distinguish by human observers.
signature - the head of state or government, the minister of foreign affairs, or another designated official indicates his or her country's agreement with the adopted text of the Convention or the Protocol and its intention to become a Party by signing.
silviculture - the science of cultivating forest crops (usually timber), based on a knowledge of forest tree characteristics.
sinks - growing vegetation tends to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Calculating the effect of sinks (by land-use change and forestry) is methodologically complex and still needs to be clarified.
social opportunity cost - the opportunities forgone by society, including externalities, in using a resource in some way. For biological resources this may be different than the market price of that resource. [GBA]
somatic cell - any cell other than a germ cell.
source country - country providing genetic resources.
spawn - the eggs of certain aquatic organisms or the act of producing such eggs or egg masses.
speciality biotechnology products - include enzymes, fine chemicals, speciality food products and food ingredients. Non-medical diagnostics for detection of pesticides in the environment and contaminants in food. [CUB]
speciation - separation of one population into two or more reproductively isolated, independent evolutionary units.
species - - a group of organisms capable of interbreeding freely with each other but not with members of other species. (Note by JVG: this is a simplified definition; species concept is much more complex.) - a taxonomic rank below a genus, consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding. [CUB]
species diversity - the number and variety of species found in a given area in a region.
species richness - the number of species within a region. (A term commonly used as a measure of species diversity, but technically only one aspect of diversity.)
species selection - the differential multiplication and extinction of species as a result of differences in certain traits possessed by the organisms belonging to the various species, and causing a spread of the favouring traits through the fauna or flora as a whole. [GBA]
spread - expansion of the geographical distribution of a pest [or other organism] within an area. [FAO bis]
square brackets - used during negotiations in UN meetings to indicate that a section of text is being discussed but has not yet being agreed.
stability - the ability of a given assemblage of organisms to withstand disturbance without a major change in the number of species or individuals.
stabilizing selection - selection favouring individuals in the middle of the distribution of phenotypes in a population and disfavouring the extremes. Also called normalizing selection.
stochastic - referring to patterns or processes resulting from random factors.
stock - a specific population or group of populations.
straddling stock - a population of organisms that travels between the exclusive economic zones of two or more countries, or between them and the high seas.
strain - a population of cells all descended from a single cell; also called a clone. A group of organisms within a species or variety distinguished by one or more minor characteristics; a variety of bacterium or fungus used for culturing. The term is mostly associated with cells, bacteria, fungi and viruses, but is sometimes applied to plants. [CUB].
strong sustainable development principle - the opportunity set for future generations can only be assured if the level of biodiversity they inherit is no less than that available to present generations. [GBA]
subsidiary body - a committee that assists the Conference of the Parties.
subsidies - government grants to suppliers of goods or services.
subspecies - groupings or populations within a species that are distinguishable by morphological characteristics or, sometimes, by physiological or behavioural traits.
surrogate markets - markets used in place of the missing markets for environmental resources. Surrogate markets are at least existing markets for resources with some of the properties of the non-marketed resource being valued. [GBA]
sustainable development - - development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. [Earth Summit +5] - development that meets the needs and aspirations of the current generation without compromising the ability to meet those of future generations. [GBA]
sustainable intensification of animal production systems - the manipulation of inputs to, and outputs from, livestock production systems aimed at increasing production and / or productivity and / or changing product quality, while maintaining the long-term integrity of the systems and their surrounding environment, so as to meet the needs of both present and future human generations. Sustainable agricultural intensification respects the needs and aspirations of local and indigenous people, takes into account the roles and values of their locally adapted genetic resources, and considers the need to achieve long-term environmental sustainability within and beyond the agro-ecosystem. [FAO]
sustainable use - the use of components of biological diversity in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity, thereby maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations. [CBD]
symbiosis - the close relationship of two organisms in proximity, with one benefiting and the other either benefiting (mutualism), not being significantly affected (commensalism), or being harmed (parasitism).
sympatric - occurring in the same place. (Opp.: allopatric.)
sympatric speciation - speciation via populations with overlapping geographic ranges.
systematics - the study of the historical evolutionary and genetic relationships among organisms and of their phenotypic similarities and differences.
Tertiary period - the first period of the Cenozoic era, beginning 65 million years ago and closing with the start of the Pleistocene, 2.5 million years ago.
target species - the intended catch of a fishery. (Opposite: bycatch)
taxon (pl. taxa) - the named classification unit (e.g. Panthera tigris, Panthera, Felidae, Carnivora or Mammalia) to which individuals, or sets of species, are assigned. Lower taxa are  those at subspecies and species level (e.g. Panthera tigris sumatrae). Higher taxa are those above the species level (at genus, family, order, class, etc. level; e.g. Panthera, Felidae, Carnivora, Mammalia). [JVG]
taxonomy - the naming and assignment of organisms to taxa.
technology transfer - the transfer of knowledge or equipment to enable the manufacture of a product, the application of a process, or the rendering of a service. [CUB].
terminator technology - the genetic engineering of plants to produce sterile seeds. It is considered the most morally offensive application of agricultural biotechnology, because over 1.4 billion people depend on farm-saved seeds. See also: traitor technology.
theory of local existence - suggests that the number of species increases or decreases depending on how the environment influences species production, exchange and extinction at any particular time.
threatened species - species that are, often genetically impoverished, of low fecundity, dependent on patchy or unpredictable resources, extremely variable in population density, persecuted or otherwise prone to extinction in human-dominated landscapes. [GBA]
tissue culture - - a technique in which portions of a plant or animal are grown on an artificial culture medium. (Also: in vitro culture.) - in vitro methods of propagating cells from animal or plant tissue. [CUB]
total economic value - the sum of use and non-use values with due consideration of any trade-offs or mutually exclusive uses or functions of the resource/habitat in question. [GBA]
total environmental value - it is a function of primary value and total economic value. [GBA]
total extracts - contain the whole spectrum of ingredients present in the original herb, plus any new active compounds formed during processing. [CUB]
traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) - the primary healthcare for 20% of the world's population, the system of medicine developed over thousands of years in China, which treats the patient holistically, and includes herbal preparations - usually combinations of between five and ten species. [CUB]
traditional knowledge - the knowledge, innovations and practices of local and indigenous communities. As used in the CBD, those elements of traditional knowledge that are relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. [CUB]
traditional resource rights - the term TRR encompasses intellectual property rights, but denotes broader 'bundles of rights' including for example, human rights, land rights, religious rights, and cultural property.
traitor technology - also known as genetic use restriction technology (GURT), refers to the use of an external chemical to switch on or off a plant's genetic traits.
transformation - uptake of naked DNA by a competent recipient strain. [CUB]
transgenic - organisms into which DNA from another genotype are introduced by, for example, micro-injection or retroviral infection. [CUB]
translocation - switching of a segment of a chromosome to another chromosome.
tribal peoples - see: indigenous peoples.
trophic - - pertaining to food or nutrition. - referring to the nutrients available to and used within a population, community, or ecosystem.
trophic level - - position in the food chain, determined by the number of energy-transfer steps to that level. - feeding level in food chain or pyramid; for example, herbivores (organisms that eat plants) constitute one trophic level.
ultraviolet radiation - radiation beyond the violet (high energy) end of the visible light spectrum. UV-B is the middle range wave-length of the three UV bands, and is largely absorbed in the Earth's atmospheric ozone layer; prolonged exposure to UV-B can be biologically damaging.
umbrella species - species whose occupancy area (plants) or home range (animals) are large enough and whose habitat requirements are wide enough that, if they are given a sufficiently large area for their protection, will bring other species under that protection. [GBA]
unadapted - material lacking the characteristics or agronomic performance for cropping in a specific area. [CUB]
unidirectional externality - these are externalities in which the external costs or benefits of the resource use are "one way". [GBA]
unintended release - any release of GMOs which is not a deliberate release [BSWG/2/5: UNEP Expert Panel IV Report]
upwelling - a process by which water rises from lower depths into the shallows, usually the result of divergence or offshore currents.
use value - values obtained through the use of a resource. This includes direct and indirect use values and instrumental values. Preservation in this sense is as much a use as development. [GBA]
utility function - a description of the way in which the well-being of individuals depends on different combinations of goods and services consumed. [GBA]
utilization of farm animal genetic resources - the use and development of animal genetic resources for the production of food and agriculture. The use in production systems of AnGRs that already possess high levels of adaptive fitness to the environments concerned, and the deployment of sound genetic principles, will facilitate sustainable development of the AnGRs and the sustainable intensification of the production systems themselves. The wise use of AnGRs is possible without depleting domestic animal diversity. Development of AnGRs includes a broad mix of ongoing activities that must be well planned and executed for success, and compounded over time, hence with high value. It requires careful definition of breeding objectives, and the planning, establishment and maintenance of effective and efficient animal recording and breeding strategies. [FAO]
valuation - - the attachment of monetary value to an object through a consideration of both internalised and externalised costs. - this is a method for determining the importance of environmental consequences of economic activity that are not taken into account in market transactions. [GBA]
variance - a statistical measure of the dispersion of a set of values about its mean.
variety - a taxonomic rank below subspecies in zoology and botany, varieties are often the result of selective breeding and diverge from the parent species or subspecies in distinct but relatively minor ways. Usage varies in different countries. [CUB, modified by JVG]
vector - 'a carrier'. In genetic manipulation the vehicle by which DNA is transferred from one cell to another. An agent of transmission; for example, a DNA vector is a self-replicating segment of DNA that transmits genetic information from one cell or organism to another. [CUB]
vicariant patterns - when several taxa are subdivided by the same tectonically and climatically produced barriers to dispersal.
virus - the smallest known type of organism. A non cellular entity that consists minimally of protein and nucleic acid, and that can replicate only after entry into specific types of living cells, and then only by usurping the cell's own systems. [CUB]
voucher specimens - collections of organisms that are maintained to provide permanent, physical documentation of species identifications and associated data resulting from inventories.
wait-and-see principle - a reactive method of dealing with the environment that places the burden of proof on those who would conserve. (Opposite: the precautionary principle)
welfare - an index of well-being.
wide crossing - in plant breeding this refers to the process of undertaking a cross where one parent is from outside the immediate genepool of the other, i.e. landrace or primitive line crossed with a modern cultivar. [CUB]
wild relative - plant or animal species that are taxonomically related to crop or livestock species and serve as potential sources for genes in breeding of new varieties of those crops or livestock.
willingness to accept - is the amount of compensation an individual is willing to take in exchange for giving up some good or service. This may be elicited from stated or revealed preference approaches. [GBA]
willingness to pay - is the amount an individual is willing to pay to acquire some good or service. This may be elicited from stated or revealed preference approaches. [GBA]
zooxanthellae - microscopic dinoflagellate algae that live mutualistically in the tissues of certain marine invertebrates, including reef-building corals and giant clams.
zygote - fertilised ovum of animal or plant formed from the fusion of male and female gametes.
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