The following terms are often used in literature that aim to address Canada’s plans to develop preparedness and response strategies for fuel spills in arctic waters.

Adsorbent: An insoluble material coated by liquid on the surface. Adsorption is often used to extract pollutants by causing them to be attached to adsorbents such as activated carbon or silica gel.

Aerobic: Relating to, involving, or requiring free oxygen.

Anaerobic: Relating to, involving, or requiring an absence of free oxygen.

Anoxic: Greatly deficient in oxygen.

Biodegradation: The decomposition of organic material by microorganisms. The term biodegradation is often used in relation to sewage treatment, environmental remediation (bioremediation) and to plastic materials.

Biofilms: A collective of one or more types of microorganisms that can grow on many different surfaces.

Biomolecule: An organic molecule and especially a macromolecule (such as a protein or nucleic acid) in living organisms.

Bioinformatics: The science of collecting and analyzing complex biological data such as genetic codes.

Bioremediation: The use of either naturally occurring or deliberately introduced microorganisms or other forms of life to consume and break down environmental pollutants, in order to clean up a polluted site.

Genome: A genome is an organism's complete set of DNA, including all of its genes.

Genomics: An interdisciplinary field of science focusing on the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of genomes.

Hydrocarbon: An organic compound of hydrogen and carbon, such as any of those which are the chief components of petroleum and natural gas.

Microorganism: Any organism too small to be viewed by the unaided eye, as bacteria, protozoa, and some fungi and algae.

Microbes: Tiny (very small) forms of life that are found all around us. The most common kinds are bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Microbial community: Groups of microorganisms that share a common living space. The microbial populations that form the community can interact in different ways, for example as predators and prey or as symbionts.

Microbial genomics: A field of science that analyzes and compares the complete genetic material of an organism or a large number of genes in a simultaneous fashion.