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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



biological indicators, organisms whose presence, numbers, or intensity of development serves as an indication of some natural processes or environmental conditions—for example, the presence or absence of certain substances (including those of practical importance).

Masses of piscivorous marine birds serve as bioindicators of the location of schools of fish. The probability of successful fishing for herring and some other fishes dwelling in deep water can be judged from the plankton composition. The presence of many benthic and planktonic organisms is indicative of the origin of water masses—for example, Atlantic waters in the polar basin. Similarly, the composition of diatoms on floating ice indicates the origin and routes of drift of such ice. The quantity of these algae (Cocconeis ceticola) on the skin of whales tells how long the whales have been in antarctic waters.

Bioindicators are widely used to appraise water purity. The suitability of water for drinking purposes and the efficiency with which treatment facilities are operating can be judged from the composition of the water flora and fauna. Various methods exist for analyzing the degree of pollution (saprobic quality) of water from the indicator organisms.

Soil quality can be roughly assessed by means of so-called indicator plants. In the USSR, biological indication of soils based on differences in the soil fauna was suggested by M. S. Giliarov in 1949, and biological indication based on microbiological characteristics was suggested by E. N. Mishustin in 1950. Geologists use indicator plants in prospecting; it is possible to obtain a rough idea of the presence of fuel gases and petroleum in the interior of the earth from the presence of certain groups of microorganisms in the surface layers of the earth’s crust (V. S. Butkevich and others).

Animals, plants, and microorganisms are used in space research as bioindicators to determine the effect of spaceflight factors on living organisms.

Microorganisms are widely used as bioindicators in analytical work (determination of vitamins, antibiotics, amino acids, and other substances).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Apis mellifera ligustica, Spinola 1806 as bioindicator for detecting environmental contamination: A preliminary study of heavy metal pollution in Trieste, Italy.
Environmental monitoring of coastal lagoons by direct measurements in water and sediment coupled with biomarker assessment in bioindicator organisms would provide information to prevent, legislate and remediate the effects of pollution.
Given the previously mentioned perturbation conditions of coral communities (Linan-Cabello et al., 2008, 2016; Muniz-Anguiano et al., 2017) it was possible to identify some species with bioindicator potential.
In the natural world, certain species, called bioindicators, can be studied to measure the overall health of the environment.
In each longitudinal half of the PVC pipes and at each depth evaluated (0-8, 8-16, 16-24, 24-32 and 32-40 cm), 4 seeds of the bioindicator species, cucumber (Cucumis sativus), were sown, two in each one of the halves, and the mean of four plants corresponded to a replicate.
Bakre (2013).Mammalian feces as bioindicator of urban air pollution in captive mammals of Jaipur Zoo.
Soil genotoxicity assessment: a new strategy based on biomolecular tool and plant bioindicators. Environmental Science and Technology, v.
Pondweeds are also useful in habitat classification and are important bioindicators of aquatic ecosystem health, as different species are adapted to different water temperatures and chemical compositions.
2 Previous work by Calisi and her team looking at blood lead levels from 825 unwell pigeons across the New York City borough of Manhattan, collected between 2010 and 2015, suggested that pigeons are a useful bioindicator of lead levels.
For this purpose, we conducted this study to analyze and observe the changes in water quality of three rivers in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, and successfully utilized macroinvertebrates as a bioindicator of water quality.
The sampling procedures for bioindicator organisms (mushrooms, n > 60; one pooled litter sample; leaves, n > 200; needles, n > 40; lichens, n > 30) are reported in Pallavicini et al.