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76 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
ecology
scientific study of interactions of organisms and their enviornment
biosphere
combined portions of the planet, water, land, air or atmosphere
species
group of similar organisms that can breed or produce fertile offspring
populations
group of individuals of the same species that live in the same area
communities
assemblage of different populations that live together in a defined area
ecosystem
collection of all organisms that live in a particular place, together with their nonliving, or physical, enviornment
biome
group of ecosystems that have the same climate and similar dominant communities
producer
organisms that capyures energy from sunlight or chemicals and convert it to produce food from inorganic compounds; also called a autotroph
heterotrophs
organisms that obtain energy from the food it consumes; also called a consumer
producers
like autotrophs, make thier own food
photosyntheis
process by which plants and some other organisms use light energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and high energy carbohydrates such as sugars and starches
chemosytnthesis
process by which some organisms, such as bacteria, use chemical energy to produce carbohydrates
consumers
organism that obtains energy from the food it consumes; also called a consumer
hervibores
organisms that obtains energy by eating only plants
carnivores
organism that obtains energy by eating animals
omnivores
organims that obtains energy by eating borth plants and animals
detrivores
organism that feeds on plant remains and other dead matter
decomposers
organism that breaks down and obtains energy from dead matter
food chain
a sereis of steps in an ecosystem in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten
food web
network of complex interactions formed by the feeding relationships among the various organisms in the ecosystem
trophic level
each step in the food chain or food web
ecological pyramid
diagram that shows relative amounts of energy or matter contained within each trophic level in a food chain or food web
biomass
total amount of living tissue within a given trophic level
biogeochemical cycles
process in which elements, chemical compounds, and other forms of matter, are passed from one organism to another and from one part of the biospher to another
evaporation
process by which water changes from liquid form to an atmospheric gas
transpiration
loss of water of a plant through its leaves
nutrients
chemical substance that an organism requires to live
nitrogen fixation
conversion of nitrates into nitrogen gas
dentrification
other soil bacterial converts nirates into nitrogen gas
primary productivity
rate at which organic matter is created by producers in an ecosystem
limiting nutrient
single nutrient that either is scarce or cycles very slowly, limiting the growth of organisms in an ecosystem
algal bloom
an immediate increase in the amount of algae and other producers that results from a large input of a limiting nutrient
weather
condition of earth's atmosphere at a particular time and place
climate
average, year after year conditions of tempertaure and precipitation in a particular region
greenhouse effect
natural situation in which heat is retained in Earth's atmosphere by carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and other gases
polar zone
cold climate zone where the suns rays strike the earth at a very low angle
temperate zone
moderate climate zones between polar zones and the tropics
tropical zone
warm climate zone that receives direct or nearly direct sunlight year round
bu=iotic factor
biological influence on organisms within an ecosystem
abiotic factor
physical, nonliving, factor that shapes an ecosystem
habitat
area where an organism lives, including the biotic and abiotic factors that affect it
niche
full range of physical and biological conditions in which an organism lives the way in whcih the organism uses those conditions
resource
any necessity of life, such as water, nutrients, light, food or space
competitive exclusion principle
ecological rule that states that no two species can occupy that same exact niche in the same habitat at the same time
predation
interaction in whcih one organism captures and feeds on another organism
symbiosis
relationship in which two species live closely togther
mutualism
symbiotic relatioship in whcih both species benefit from the relationship
commensalism
symbiotic relationship in which one member of the association benefits and th other is neither helped or harmed
parasitism
symbiotic relationship in whcih one organism lives in or on another organism and consequently harms it
ecological succesion
gradual change in living communities that follows a dsturbance
pioneer species
first species to populate an area during primary succession
secondary succession
succession following a disturbance that destroys a community without destroying the soil
tolerance
organisms capacity to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable enviornmental factor
microclimate
climate within a small area that differs significantly from the climate of the surrounding area
canopy
dense covering formed by the leafy tops of tall rain forest trees
understory
layer in the rainforest formed by shorter trees and vines
deciduous
term used to refer to a tree that sheds leaves during a particular season each year
coniferous
term used to refer to trees that produce seed bearing cones and have this leaves shaped like needles
humus
material formed from decaying leaves and other organic matter
taiga
biome in which the winters are cold but summers are mild enough to alllow ground to thaw
permafrost
layer of permanently frozen subsoil in the tundra
plankton
tiny free floating organism that occur in aquatic enviornments
phytoplankton
population or algae and other small photosynthetic organisms found near the surface of the ocean and forming a part of plankton
zooplankton
tiny animals the form prt of the plankton
wetland
ecosystem in which water covers the soil or is present at or near the surface of the soil for at least part of the year
estuary
wetlands formed where rivers usually meet the ocean
detritus
particles of organic material that provide food for organisms at the base of an estuary's food web
salt marsh
temperate zone estuary dominated by salt tolerant grasses above the low tide line and by seagrasses under the water
mangrove swamp
coastal wtland dominated by mangroves, salt tolerant woody plants
photiczone
well lit upper layer of the oceans
aphiotic zone
permanently dark layer of the ocean below the photic zone
zonation
prominent horizontal banding of organisms that live in a particular habitat
coastal ocean
marine zone that extends from the low tide mark of to the end of the continent itself
kelp forest
coastal ocean community named for its dominant organism kelp- agiant brown algae
coral reef
diverse and productive enviornment named for the coral animals that make up its primary structure
benthos
organisms that live attatched to or near the ocean floor