Biology

Biology is the study of terragen and alien life in all its aspects.
This vast field of science includes many specialized branches, including bacteriology, microbiology, botany, zoology, xenobiology, extremophile studies, virology, biochemistry, biophysics, bionanotech, cytology, metabolic studies, physiology, genetics, evolutionary theory, behavioral biology, ethnobiology, biopoesis, neogenics, taxonomy and systematics, ecology, biospherics, biocentric and ecocentric philosophies and spirituality, methods of collecting and preserving samples, scientific illustration, bionanoecology, and museum ship biocuratorship, among many other fields.

 
Sub-Topics
 
Articles
  • Amphibian (biology) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Terragen vertebrate animals that spend the early part of their life cycle in water breathing through gills, but usually live on land as air-breathing adults. They include frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, caecilians, labyrinthodonts, and a number of other forms. The term may also be used to refer to equivalent xenobionts.
  • Anthropomorphism - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The projecting of inner baseline or nearbaseline human or human-like sapient feelings onto objects that do not possess those characteristics, e.g. attributing human characteristics to gods, objects, hyperturings, subsapients, alifes, aliens, etc.
  • Asexuality - Text by Michael Beck
    Many subsapient organisms (a number of types of lower animals, plants, and microbes) are asexual and reproduce by rhizomes, by budding or fission. Several alien sapient species are asexual. Some terragen sapients likewise choose the option of asexual bodysculpting so as not having a sex at all. Asexuals feel that the whole sex thing is too complex and problematic, better to just the whole thing out of the way. Any bodymod can do this, they are referred to as "hir" and "shhe" when a specific (gender) pronoun is required. Asexuals can and do love platonicaly and feel joy at having children, but they don't feel lust.
  • Astrobiology - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The science of origin, distribution, and evolution of nonterragen life.
  • Attractor - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An archetype or state that is characterization of the long-term behaviour of a dissipative dynamic system. Over long periods of time, the state space of some dynamical systems will contract toward this region. The Archailects are said to be dynamic systems that characterize particular attractors. Likewise, certain biological forms, certain memes, certain technological solutions, and so on, are known to have emerged independently on completely different planets or among different alien races.
  • B-Life - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Biological life (in contrast to A-Life or M-life).
  • Bioluminescence - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The production of light by both natural and artificial living organisms. Many deep-sea and murky atmosphere organisms are bioluminescent. Among many phyles and clades, bioluminescent bodymods are de rigeur, although, as with everything else, bioluminescence tends to go in and out of fashion with alarming rapidity.
  • Biont  - Text by Stephen Inniss, based on the original by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any organic life form, Terragen or otherwise, whether natural or engineered. Often this term is used exclusively for organic beings of sophont grade intelligence.
  • Biophysics - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The study of biological structures and processes using the analytical methods of physics. Often involves hylonano, hylomeso, and other sensitive measuring equipment, to record both large and small scale molecular interactions. Areas of study may include the effect of energy use and radiation on cellular function, physical effects of nano and cybernetics on the body, theoretical applied nano-microbiology, and thermodynamic and electrical phenomenon within the body itself.
  • Biota - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The totality of living organisms in any natural or artificial biosphere.
  • Burning Library Project, The  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Information Age project to rescue as much information as possible regarding species that were being driven to extinction as a result of human activity.
  • Chemosynthesis - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Primary production of organic matter using various substances and chemical reactions instead of light as an energy source; a common phenomenon throughout the galaxy, but rare in terragen ecologies.
  • Cladistics - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The science of creating evolutionary trees of ancestry and descent; classifying organisms based on common ancestry and the branching of the evolutionary family tree. Organisms or entities that share common ancestors (and therefore have similar features) are grouped into taxonomic groups called clades. Cladistics can also be used to predict properties of yet-to-be discovered organisms. May refer to a biological phylogeny or a House or clan history.
  • Class (biology) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In the Linnean hierarchical classification, a group of related or similar organisms. A class contains one or more orders. A group of similar classes forms a phylum.
  • Cryobiology - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The study of the effect of low temperatures on biological systems. Theoretical and applied fields include preservation and long term storage of organ systems, cold temperature bio-nano, exotophile biota, etc.
  • Cybernetics  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Stephen Inniss
    In popular usage, the study of the creation of cyborgs through the use of dryware/hylotech such as mechanical, electronic, and bionic implants, augments, and neuroprostheses. In technical usage, the study of communication and control systems based on regulatory feedback, with application in a number of fields such as sociology, memetics, biology, engineering, artificial intelligence, and information theory.
  • Darwin, Charles - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Industrial age Old Earth scientist; founder and populariser of the theory of evolution by natural selection.
  • Darwinian Evolution  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Peter Kisner
    Theory of biological evolution by natural selection based on the insights of Charles Darwin.
  • Darwinism  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Any of a range of biological or social ideas with an evolutionary basis, including but not limited to Darwin's theory of biological evolution by natural selection. Some of these have little or no connection with Darwin's original insight.
  • Dichotomous Key - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Method for determining the identity of a specimen (whether organic in organic, rl or vir) by proceeding through a series of choices, leading to the correct identification of the item. At each step of the process, the user is given two choices; each alternative leads to another questions until the identification is complete, assuming the specimen is in the database used to make the key and assuming that each yes/no question can be answered in an unambiguous way. Nonsentient expert ai systems may make extensive use of such keys.
  • DNA  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The acronym for deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA forms the genetic material that stores all the information specific to a living organism in Terragen bionts. Its robust and reliable nature means it is also widely used in bionanotech for construction and computing.
  • Emergence - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The process whereby more Complex systems arise from simpler systems. Emergence is unanticipated and cannot be directly deduced from the lower-level behaviors. Usually, The nature and behaviour of the more complex system cannot be defined in terms of its components. For example, the organization of a nanecology is said to emerge from the interactions of the lower-level behaviors of the nanites, and not from any single nanite. The concept has applications in many fields, from chemistry to biology to psychology and the social sciences.
  • Evolution (biology)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In biology and systems theory, descent with modification. The process by which the gene pool of a population gradually changes in response to environmental pressures, natural selection, and genetic mutations.
  • Family - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In the Linnean system of classification, a monophyletic taxon of related and similar biological organisms. A family contains one or more genera. A group of similar families forms an order.
  • Ferm  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Daniel Eliot Boese
    One of six standard hu genders, the others being male, herm, merm, female, and neut.
  • Fungi (Mycophyta) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Free-living or nutrient absorptive terragen eukaryotes with chitinous cell walls characterized by hyphae (small branched filaments) and propagating through spores. Includes the yeasts, mushrooms, and molds. Over 60,000 baseline terragen species, many more developed since. There are equivalent fungi-like organisms in many garden worlds.
  • Gaia Hypothesis, Gaia Theory - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Formulated by Atomic Age scientist James Lovelock. Explanation that Earth-like (Gaian Type) planets or Garden Worlds are able to maintain conditions optimal to life because the indigenous biosphere acts as a homeostatic feedback mechanism.
  • Garden World  - Text by Steve Bowers and Stephen Inniss
    A planet similar to Earth and hospitable to Terragen life. More broadly, any planet that supports a complex biosphere and macroscopic life forms. May be either a natural Gaian Type planet or a world that has been terraformed, although the term is more often applied to the former.
  • Genetics - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The study of heredity, genes, and the genome, both terragen and alien (this latter is sometimes called xenogenetics). Includes also the mapping of the genotype with the phenotype, simulation of past and future inheritance and evolutionary paths, and the basic theory behind gengineering.
  • Genus - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In the Linnean system of classification, a monophyletic taxon of closely related and similar biological organisms. A genus contains one or more species. A group of similar genera forms a family. In the Linnean name of an organism, the first name is its genus, the second, the species.
  • Herm  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Daniel Eliot Boese
    Hermaphrodite, one of six standard hu genders, the others being male, merm, ferm, female, and neut.
  • Hybrid  - Text by Steve Bowers
    The (usually infertile) off-spring that results from the mating of two distinct species. Interbreeding between two distinct species or clades may result in a hybrid, which may or may not be fertile. Even non-fertile hybrids can be very vigorous, like mules.
  • Kingdom (biology)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In some forms of Linnean system of hierarchical classification, a kingdom is the highest grouping of similar organisms. Alternatively, the hierarchical grade between Phylum and Domain.
  • Life - Text by Peter Kisner and M. Alan Kazlev
    Broadly and most universally defined, life includes all patterns that work, at least least within a given range of conditions, to maintain and replicate themselves. The classical Terragen term applies to evolved biological life, but this definition has long been extended to cover artificial or non-terragen bionts with the same characteristics, alifes within suitable virtual environments and inorganic self-maintaining and self-replicating systems such as neumanns. The boundaries of the term are sometimes extended to cover viruses, and maybe prions and computer viruses, could qualify as life, though there are those who argue that those are lack the complexity and range of truly living patterns.
  • Linne, Carl - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Swedish Old Earth Industrial Age botanist who formulated the binomial system of nomenclature as a means of classifying living organisms, a system that is still used across large portions of the Terragen Sphere.
  • Marine Biology - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Branch of biology that deals with marine life (whether terragen or xenobiont), an important part of most biospheres. Areas of study include the ecology, physiology, life cycle, distribution, and migration of marine organisms, such as marine mammals, fish, invertebrates, algae, and plankton; classification of marine life; tagging, and tracking ocean organisms, microoceans and other orbital biomes; sea-farming; oceanography; introduction of aquatic life to to artificial biospheres and newly terraformed worlds, megascale ocean ecology, designing marine ecosystems, and non-terragen marine organisms on other Gaian Type worlds.
  • Merm  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Daniel Eliot Boese
    One of six standard hu genders, the others being male, herm, ferm, female, and neut.
  • Morphotype  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    In biology, or in the study of clades, a shared shape and general appearance, regardless of origin or relationship. The result of convergent evolution in natural beings, or of common design solutions or purposeful imitation in artificial beings.
  • Mushrooms  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    The large fleshy fruiting body produced by some varieties of Terragen fungi.
  • Neogen - Text by Todd Drashner
    A biological being or species created entirely from scratch rather than by modification of naturally evolved stock. A product of neogenics, the technology of creating life from lifeless materials.
  • Neospecies - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] In Evolution theory - a newly (naturally) evolved species.
    [2] A gengineered species.
  • Neut  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Daniel Eliot Boese, Steve Bowers
    One of six standard hu genders, the others being female, ferm, herm, merm, and male.
  • Order (biology) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In the Linnean system of nomenclature, the taxonomic rank between class and family. Refers to a group of basically similar of biological organisms, e.g. rodents, bats, elephants, primates, etc. The term is sometimes also applied to neogen and alife phyles, but with somewhat less success.
  • Phylum - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In the Linnean taxonomic classification, this is the second highest grading, and designates a phylum is a major group of organisms sharing a similar bodyplans. A phylum contains one or more classes. A group of similar phyla forms a Kingdom.
  • Plant  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A major group of related Old Earth organisms that are multicellular, eukaryotic, exhibit embryonic development and capable of photosynthesis.
  • Quasispecies - Text by Manfred Eigen in Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology
    A fuzzy distributions of genotypes characterizing a population of quickly mutating organisms, alifes, or molecules.
  • Replication - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The basic process of reproduction for information, whether biological, alife, nanological, memetic, or other; and the means by which genetic or instructional information is propagated.
  • Self-Organization - Text by M. Alan Kazlev based on original by Gary William Flake
    A spontaneously formed higher-level pattern or structure that emergences through the interactions of lower-level objects or patterns, whether in virch or r/l. Self-organization would seem to be a fundamental principle behind complexity in the universe, and is taken into account when creating new templates or designer nanecologies. Order, life and intelligence all seem to emerge through a process of self-organization. See also Self-Organized Criticality.
  • Species  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The basic unit of biological classification in Linnean or neoLinnean systems.
  • Subspecies  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In the linnean and neolinnean systems of biological classification, the taxonomic ranking below species.
  • Taxon - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Formal supra-individual rank of biological or artificial organisms - e.g. species, phylum, etc. (pl. taxa).
  • Vector (epidemiology) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any medium, method, biotic organism, known net protocol, cultural environment, or vehicle for the transmission of a replicator, particularly biological pathogens, ai viruses, madverts, or memes. Almost anything can be a vector for some for of replicator or another.
  • Virbiology - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] The study and science of alife.
    [2] Study of organics as simulated in a virtual environment.
    [3] Cybercosm biology and ecology.
 
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 08 October 2001.