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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Most 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • CRISPR-Cas Gene Editing  - Text by Andrew P

  • 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, extremophile 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Emergents   - Text by M. Alan Kazlev

  • 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 Sexes, the others being male, herm, merm, female, and neut. A Ferm has male secondary sexual characteristics and female sexual organs.
  • 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 Worlds  - Text by The Astronomer, Steve Bowers 2020
    Worlds that support a complex biosphere and macroscopic life forms.
  • 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 sexes and genders, the others being male, merm, ferm, female, and neut. Herms have both male and female sexual organs, but their secondary sexual characteristics vary from individual to individual, ranging from fully male to fully female or a mixture between the two.
  • 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 within a given range of conditions, to maintain and replicate themselves.
  • 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 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 sexes, the others being male, herm, ferm, female, and neut. A merm is a male individual with the secondary sexual characteristics of a female.
  • 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.
  • 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 sexes and genders, the others being female, ferm, herm, merm, and male. Neuts have reduced their genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics to an undeveloped state, or removed them altogether. Note, however, some neuts may have active sex lives even without functioning sexual apparatus, and some present as male or female.
  • 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 emerges 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.
  • Sex and Sexuality  - Text by Michael Beck, with additions by Steve Bowers
    Sex, Sexuality, and Gender are experienced by many nearbaseline biological clades within the Terragen sphere. Male, Female, Herm, Merm, Ferm, and Neut are only six of the many biological sexes possible in the Sephirotics.
  • 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.

Additional Information