bio·​in·​di·​ca·​tor | \ ¦bī-(ˌ)ō-¦in-də-ˌkā-tər How to pronounce bioindicator (audio) \
plural bioindicators

Definition of bioindicator

: a species or ecological community that is so closely associated with particular environmental conditions that its presence is indicative of these conditions in a particular environment Bats are what naturalists call bioindicators: they indicate the state of the environment. If you see them, it means the air and water around you are healthy.— Michelle Barker, Sherbrooke (Quebec) Record, 31 July 2007 also : a species, ecological community, or biological process that is typically monitored over time for changes (as in abundance or health) which are used to assess the state of a particular environment The team compared two approaches to water-quality testing: measurement of pH and dissolved oxygen levels, and the use of bioindicators (using measures of the abundance and types of stream organisms present). — Jennifer Miner et al., The Science Teacher, April 2007 Oysters, like other bivalves, are sessile organisms that are continually filtering water, and they often bioaccumulate toxins, making them ideal bioindicator species. — David C. Metzger, Journal of Shellfish Research, August 2012

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of bioindicator

1955, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About bioindicator

Time Traveler for bioindicator

Time Traveler

The first known use of bioindicator was in 1955

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near bioindicator




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for bioindicator

Cite this Entry

“Bioindicator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!