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bacteria: a large and diverse group of microorganisms that perform many important functions, such as enriching soil fertility.

bait stations: areas where food or other tempting items are placed to lure in other animals.

ballast tanks: tanks that hold ballast water (fresh or salt water), sometimes containing sediments, held in tanks and cargo holds of ships to increase stability and maneuverability during transit.

ballast water: fresh or salt water, sometimes containing sediments, held in tanks and cargo holds of ships to increase stability and maneuverability during transit.

bioaccumulate: the storage and buildup of, sometimes toxic, chemicals within the natural tissues of an organism. These chemicals enter the body through the skin, lungs (or gills), and/or digestive system.

biocontrol: the use of natural enemies to reduce the damage caused by a pest population.

biodiversity: the variety of life on Earth, reflected in the variety of ecosystems and species, their processes and interactions and the genetic variation within and among species.

biogeography: the study of living systems and their distribution to understand where and why animals and plants live in certain places.

biomass burning: the combustion of organic matter from natural or manmade fires.

biota: the sum total of all the living organisms of any designated area.

biotic: the living components of the environment, such as plants, animals and fungi, that affect ecological functions.

bisphenol a: a manufactured chemical commonly used in the production of polycarbonate plastics, which has been found to affect the development of animals (even in minute doses) by acting like the hormone estrogen.

blue revolution: a movement aimed at drastically increasing the global food production using aquaculture.

botanist: a biologist specializing in the study of plants.

brown tree snake: Boiga irregularis, belonging to the snake family Colubridae, native to Australia, New Guinea and the islands surrounding New Guinea. The highly destructive Guam brown tree snakes are thought to have originated on the island of Manus, a small island in the Solomons.

bycatch: harvest of fish or shellfish other than the species for which the fishing gear was set. Examples are blue crabs caught in shrimp trawls or sharks caught on a tuna longline. Also called incidental catch.

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