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24 Cards in this Set

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[Gk. bios, life] All species living in a defined region, ranging from the smallest habitat to the biosphere, in a specified interval.
biogeochemical cycle
Slow movement of an element from environmental reservoirs, through food webs, then back to the environment.
biological magnification
Ever increasing concentration of a nondegradable or slowly degradable substance in body tissues as it is passed along food chains.
Combined weight of all organisms at a given trophic level in an ecosystem.
carbon cycle
An atmospheric cycle. Carbon moves from reservoirs (sediments, rocks, the ocean), through the atmosphere (mostly as CO2), food webs, and back to the reservoirs.
Animal that devours other animals.
[L. consumere, to take completely] A heterotroph that feeds on cells or tissues of other organisms (e.g., herbivores, carnivores).
[L. dis-, to pieces] Prokaryotic or fungal heterotroph; gets carbon and energy from products, remains, of organisms. Helps cycle nutrients to producers in ecosystems.
Heterotroph that feeds on decomposing particles of organic matter (e.g., crab, earthworm, roundworm).
diversity of life
Sum of all variations in form, function, and behavior in all lineages, from the time of life's origin to the present.
Array of organisms, together with their environment, interacting through a flow of energy and a cycling of materials.
energy pyramid
Pyramidal diagram of an ecosystem's trophic structure; it shows energy losses at each transfer to another trophic level.
food chain
Straight-line sequence of who eats whom in an ecosystem.
food web
Of ecosystems, cross-connecting food chains consisting of producers, consumers, and decomposers, detritivores, or both.
global warming
A long-term increase in the temperature of the Earth's lower atmosphere.
greenhouse effect
Atmospheric gases impede escape of infrared wavelengths (heat) from Earth's sun-warmed surface, absorb them, and radiate much of the heat back toward Earth.
[L. herba, grass, + vovare, to devour] Plant-eating animal (e.g., snail, deer, manatee).
hydrologic cycle
Biogeochemical cycle, driven by solar energy, in which water moves slowly through the atmosphere, on or through surface land, to the ocean, and back to the atmosphere.
nitrogen cycle
Atmospheric cycle. Nitrogen moves from its largest reservoir (atmosphere), through the ocean, ocean sediments, soils, and food webs, then back to the atmosphere.
[L. omnis, all, + vovare, to devour] Animal that eats at more than one trophic level.
phosphorus cycle
A sedimentary cycle; the movement of phosphorus (mainly phosphate ions) from land, through food webs, to ocean sediments, then back to land.
primary producer
Type of autotroph that secures energy directly from the environment and stores some in its tissues.
trophic level
All organisms the same number of transfer steps away from the energy input into an ecosystem.
Land area that delivers the water, sediment, and dissolved substances via small streams to a major stream (river).