Natural Environmental Change: The Last 3 Million Years

By A. M. Mannion | Go to book overview

Glossary

a
alkenones organic molecules present in the lipid (fat) components of cell membranes.
alkenone unsaturation index the degree of saturation or unsaturation of the alkenone content of marine organisms such as coccolithophores (see p. 42).
angiosperms the flowering plants.

b
benthic organisms organisms that inhabit the surface or near-surface mud of ocean/lake beds.
biogenic material remains of organisms and organic remains derived from the decomposition or fossilisation of organisms.
biogeochemical cycles the exchange of matter, i.e. carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, etc., between the various components of the Earth’s surface, including the atmosphere and living organisms.
biogeography the study and explanation of the past and present distribution of organisms.
biota a collective term for all living organisms.

c
catastrophism a pre-1860s theory that Earth-surface characteristics were created by cataclysmic events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods.
chitin; chitinous a complex carbohydrate of which the outer coverings of insects and crustaceans are composed.
chronostratigraphy; chronostratigraphic units the subdivision of rock strata into units that correspond with intervals of geological time, the age of which has been determined.
chrysophytes a group of planktonic (i.e. free-swimming in the water body, see below) algae that have an outer covering of scales composed of silica.
continental drift a theory published in 1915 by Alfred Wegener; it espouses the view that the present-day configuration of the continents was created by the breakup of a single continent, e.g. Pangaea.

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