bio·​tur·​ba·​tion ˌbī-ō-tər-ˈbā-shən How to pronounce bioturbation (audio)
: the restructuring of sedimentary deposits (as in a lake bottom or seabed) by moving organisms (such as worms and burrowing clams)
bioturbated adjective

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From about the 1400s to the 1600s, the Latin borrowing turbation was used to refer to a disturbance or perturbation - even though both disturbance and perturbation were already well-established words in the language. Years later, the word was revived in the International Scientific Vocabulary as the base for congeliturbation, "the churning or heaving of the soil by freezing and thawing," and bioturbation, referring to the activity of organisms disturbing the sediment.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

1963, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bioturbation was in 1963


Dictionary Entries Near bioturbation

Cite this Entry

“Bioturbation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

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