[ ol-i-goh-trof-ik, -troh-fik ]
/ ˌɒl ɪ goʊˈtrɒf ɪk, -ˈtroʊ fɪk /

adjective Ecology.

(of a lake) characterized by a low accumulation of dissolved nutrient salts, supporting but a sparse growth of algae and other organisms, and having a high oxygen content owing to the low organic content.

Origin of oligotrophic

First recorded in 1925–30; oligo- + trophic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for oligotrophic


/ (ˌɒlɪɡəʊˈtrɒfɪk) /


(of lakes and similar habitats) poor in nutrients and plant life and rich in oxygenCompare eutrophic

Derived Forms

oligotrophy (ˌɒlɪˈɡɒtrəfɪ), noun

Word Origin for oligotrophic

C20: from oligo- + Greek trophein to nourish + -ic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Science definitions for oligotrophic


[ ŏl′ĭ-gō-trōfĭk, -trŏfĭk, ō′lĭ- ]

Lacking in plant nutrients such as phosphates, nitrates, and organic matter, and consequently having few plants and a large amount of dissolved oxygen throughout. Used of a lake, pond, or stream. Compare dystrophic eutrophic.
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