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175 Cards in this Set

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Adaptation
The process of adjusting to the environment in order to survived. Adaptations can be behavioral or structural.
Anadromous
The fish spend the greater part of their lives in salt water but migrate into fresh streams for reproduction;salmon, shad, bass and steelhead trout.
Aquatic
Growing, living in, or frequenting water
Biodegradable
The property of a substance that permits it to be broken down by micro-organisms into simple, stable compounds such as carbon dioxide or water.
Biologist
A person who studies living organisms.
Browse
To eat or nibble tender shoots, twigs, and leaves
Camouflage
Colors, tones, patterns that enable an organism to blend in with its surroundings. Some organisms, for example, have a skin or coat that enable them to hide from predators.
Carnivore
A meat eater.
Carrion
The bodies of dead animals, usually in the process of decay; not "fresh" meat.
Carrying Capacity
The balance between any life form and its environment. It is frequently expressed as a number of any given organisms that a given area can support. Carrying capacity varies throughout the year. The population number varies from year to year, dependent upon conditions within the habitat such as rainfall, food, and shelter.
Chaparral
Dense growth of shrubs or small trees.
Commensalism
A relationship in which organisms live with, on, or in another without injury to either.
Community
An association of organisms (plant and animal) each occupying a certain position or ecological niche, inhabiting a common environment, and interacting with each other; all the plants and animals in a particular habitat that are bound together by food chains and other interrelations.
Competition
When two or more organisms have the potential for using the same resource. May be with animals of its own kind (species) or with other species.
Coniferous
Refers to cone bearing trees such as pine, firs, and redwoods.
Conservation
The use of natural resources in a way that assures their continuing availability to future generations; the wise and intelligent use or protection of natural resources (see preservation).
Consumer
A consumer utilizes the producer (a green plant) for its food; it may in turn be used as food by a secondary consumer. A rabbit is a primary consumer. A fox would be a secondary consumer.
Deciduous
Referring to trees that annually shed their leaves, such as cottonwood, willow, walnut, redbud and many oaks.
Decomposer
Those organisms (bacteria, fungi) which convert dead organic materials into inorganic materials; a plant or animal that feeds on dead material and causes its mechanical or chemical breakdown.
Delta
Referring to the area where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers meet or join to drain into the San Francisco Bay.
Development
When wild lands are converted to farms, housing, roads, industry or business uses.
Diurnal
Active during the day.
Ecologist
A scientist who studies the interrelationship of living things to one another and their environment.
Ecosystem
A natural unit that includes living and nonliving parts interacting to produce a stable system; all living things and their environment in an area all linked together by energy and nutrient flow (e.g., marine, valley, mountain, woodland).
Endangered
A kind or species of plant or animal that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. (refer to threatened and rare)
Endemic
Naturally occurring only in a certain geographic area.(The yellow-billed magpie is endemic to the Sacramento Valley)
Enviorment
All of the surroundings- air, water, vegetation, humans, wildlife- in person, animal or plants lives.
Food Chain
The transfer of food energy from the source in plants through a series of animals.
Erosion
Removal or wearing away of soil or rock by water, wind or other forces or processes.
Ethics
A personal or social moral code.
Evergreen
A plant that does not lose all of its leaves at one time, such as the live oak and most coniferous trees.
Exotic
A foreign plant or animal; one that has been introduced into a new, non-native area. Examples include the opossum and ring-necked pheasant.
Extinction
The condition of having been removed from existence. An animal or plant facing extinction is one in danger of vanishing from our world.
Fauna
Wildlife, animals.
Feral
Refers to a domesticated animal or plant that goes back to being wild.
Flora
Plant life.
Freshwater Marsh
A wetland where standing fresh water exists.
Graze
To feed on growing grass.
Habitat
Area/site that provides food, water, shelter or cover, and space suitable to plants/animals needs.
Hatchery
A place that raises fish, usually from eggs.
Herbicide
A substance or preparation used to kill plants.
Herbivore
A plant eater.
Hibernation
The act of passing the winter, or a portions of it, in a state of sleep; a torpid or resting state.
Hydroelectric
Electric power converted from water, dams generate hydroelectric power.
Insecticide
Substance or preparation used to kill insects.
Indigenous
Living naturally in an area; native.
Life cycle
A series of growth stages in the life of any organism.
Limiting Factors
Any of the elements necessary for survival that can determine the life/death of an organism; example: available food, water, shelter, etc.
Management(habitat)
The ways of controlling water, plants, soil, and wildlife to change or maintain populations and/or a community.
Marsh
A wetland without trees; may be fresh water or salt water marsh.
Metamorphosis
Series of changes in shape and function that certain animals go through as they develop from an immature form to an adult. Caterpillars become butterflies and tadpoles become frogs.
Microhabitat
A small habitat within a larger one in which environmental conditions differ from those in the surrounding area. A hole in a tree trunk is a microhabitat within the forest.
Micro-organism
An organism microscopic in size; observable only through a microscope.
Migration
When animals regularly leave a region to find better or more food, water, and/or shelter.
Mitigate
To make up for; to substitute some benefit for losses incurred.
Native
Refers to animals or plants that naturally occur in an area.
Natural Resource
Raw materials supplied by the earth and its processes; include nutrients, minerals, plants, animals, water, etc.
Nocturnal
Active at night.
Non-renewable Resources
Nonliving materials such as rocks and minerals; materials which do not regenerate themselves; substances such as petroleum, coal, and gold that cannot be replaced (at least not in this geological age).
Omnivore
An animal that eats both plants and animals.
Organism
A living thing; a form of life composed of mutually dependent parts that maintain vital functions.
Parasite
An organism that benefits from another organism, usually doing harm to the organism from which it derives benefit.
Pesticide
Any chemical preparation used to control populations of organisms (plants and animals) perceived to be harmful.
Photosynthesis
The process by which green plants make simple sugars in the presence of sunlight, carbon dioxide and water.
Pollution
Harmful substances deposited in the air, water or soil leading to a state of dirtiness or impurity.
Predator
An animal who kills and eats other animals.
Preservation
Protection of natural resources which emphasizes non-consumptive(no hunting, no collecting, no development) values and uses; includes no direct use by humans.
Prey
Animals that are killed and eaten by other animals.
Producers
Green plants that are able to manufacture food from simple organic substances.
Raptor
Eagles, hawks, and owls; birds that are predatory, preying upon other animals.
Rare
Plant and animal species not presently in danger, but of concern because of low numbers.
Recycle
To process used or waste materials to make suitable for reuse.
Reduce
Consume or use fewer goods.
Refuge
An area set aside for wildlife, plant and habitat.
Renewable Resources
Plants and animals that have the capacity to renew themselves when conditions for survival are favorable.
Restoration
To return an area to a pre-use or natural condition.
Reuse
To use the same product or item over again (e.g., bag, aluminum foil, bottle, etc.,).
Riparian
Located or living along or near a stream, river, or body of water; usually a type of woodland habitat.
Runoff
Water that drains or flows off the surface of the land.
Salt Marsh
Land area that is wet with salt water or flooded by the sea, dominated by grass and grass-like plants.
Salt Marsh
Land area that is wet with salt water or flooded by the sea, dominated by grass and grass-like plants.
Saprophyte
An organism that obtains food by absorbing the products of decomposition(decaying organic matter). A mushroom is a saprophyte.
Scavenger
Organism that habitually feeds on refuse or carrion. Coyotes and magpies are part-time scavengers; a vulture is a scavenger.
Shelter
Cover from the elements and predators.
Snag
Standing dead tree.
Solar
Refers to the sun (and its energy).
Spawning
The act of producing or depositing eggs; usually refers to fish; form of aquatic reproduction.
Species
A population of individuals that are more or less alike and that are able to breed and produce fertile offspring under natural conditions; a category of classification immediately below genus.
Succession
The gradual and continuous replacement of one plant community by another, such as a woodland changing into a savannah or freshwater marsh becoming a meadow.
Symbiosis
An intimate relationship between members of two different species.
Territory
An area defended by an animal; used for breeding, feeding or both. Many species of wildlife are territorial.
Threatened
A species of plant or animal in danger because of a decline in numbers.
Toxic
Poisonous
Vernal Pool
A disappearing habitat of the Central Valley grasslands characterized by shallow, clay-bottomed pools that collect rainwater. The pools evaporate in late spring/summer. The pools are habitat for many endemic plants and animals.
Vertebrate
An animal with a backbone.
Water Cycle
The continuous circulation of water from oceans to air, to land and back to oceans. The cycle involves condensation, evaporation, run-off, precipitation and transpiration.
Watershed
The area of land that receives and distributes rainwater into a stream, lake or river system.
Wetland
An area that is flooded during some or all of the year (marsh, mudflat, vernal pool, pond).
Wildlife
Animals that are not tamed or domesticated; may be small organisms visible only through a microscope or as large as a whale.
Woodland
A complex community of plants and animals in which trees and grasses are the most common and dominant members; tree tops do not form a closed cover.
Erosion
A gradual wearing away (by water, wind or waves).
Grassland/Upland
The grasses surrounding permanent ponds. Important for nesting and cover for many birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Humidity
The amount of moisture in the air.
Hydric Soil
The pores between the soil particles are full of water (saturated) long enough during the growing season that the soil creates an oxygen-less (anaerobic) condition for plants growing there.
Hydrophytes
Plants with special adaptations that enable them to survive in soils saturated with water (hydric soils).
Permanent Wetlands
Long, narrow and deep in a North/South direction so as not to retard flood flows. They are characterized by emergent vegetation - plants that have underwater roots and stems and leaves that rise above the water. Species of rushes/bulrush or tule are planted here.
Population
The number of a particular species in a given area.
Riparian Habitat
Tree dominated landscape growing adjacent to or on the bank of a pond, lake, stream or river. Vegetation is adapted to living in wet or damp soils. Provide important nesting and foraging for many species of birds.
Seasonal Wetlands
Shallow ponds filled with eater from early fall until spring. They provide migratory waterfowl and shorebirds with feeding and resting areas. Vegetation is dominated by Swamp Timothy a low growing annual cover which is an abundant food source and provides minimal resistance to flood flows.
Invasive
Any plant that grows aggressively enough to crowd out other plants. Usually, but not always, applied to non-native species.
Locally Rare
A species that, within a particular region, is found in only a few places. It may be more common elsewhere.
Pest
Any species that is considered obnoxious, generally from an anthropomorphic perspective.
Weed
A plant that readily colonizes sites, usually on disturbed soil. A plant out of place.
Amphibian
Cold-blooded animals that usually begin their lives in water, taking in oxygen through gills. As adults, most amphibians have lungs and breathe air and they then live on land. Frogs and toads are amphibians.
Crustacean
One of a group of animals with two pairs of antennae and a body that has a hard outer covering. Most crustaceans live in the water. Lobsters, crabs, and shrimps are crustaceans.
Mammal
Any of a group of animals that have hair on their bodies. Female mammals have glands that produce milk to feed their young.
Mollusk
An animal with a soft body that usually lives in water. Some mollusks, such as clams, have hard outer shells.
Nutrient
Something that nourishes people, plants, and animals and keeps them healthy and growing.
Absorption
The taking in of water and dissolved minerals and nutrients across cell membranes. Contrast with ingestion.
Aerobic
Pertaining to the presence of free oxygen. Aerobic organisms require oxygen for their life processes.
Anaerobic
Pertaining to the absence of free oxygen. Anaerobic organisms do not require oxygen for their life processes, in fact oxygen is toxic to many of them. Most anaerobic organisms are bacteria or archaeans.
Autotroph
Any organism that is able to manufacture its own food. Most plants are autotrophs, as are many protists and bacteria. Contrast with consumer. Autotrophs may be photoautotrophic, using light energy to manufacture food, or chemoautotrophic, using chemical energy.
Benthic
Organisms that live on the bottom of the ocean are called benthic organisms. They are not free-floating like pelagic organisms are.
Biological/Biotic factors
Living factors such as decomposers, scavengers and predators.
Biomes
The wold's major communities, classified according to the predominant vegetation and characterized by adaptations of organisms to that particular environment.
Boreal
Describes the northern biotic area that is dominated by tundra, taiga, and coniferous forests.
Canopy
Layer of vegetation elevated above the ground, usually of tree branches and epiphytes. In tropical forests, the canopy may be more than 100 feet above the ground.
Cyst
A small, capsule-like sac that encloses an organism in its resting or larval stage, e.g., a resting spore of an alga.
Decomposition
The breakdown of dead organic material by detrivores or saprophytes.
Dessication
Mummification
Detritus
Accumulated organic debris from dead organisms, often an important source of nutrients in a food web.
Detrivore
Any organism which obtains most of its nutrients form the detritus in an ecosystem.
Disease
Organisms suffer from disease when their normal function is impaired by some genetic disorder, or more often from the activity of a parasite or other organism living within them. Many diseases are caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi.
Environment
The place in which an organism lives, and the circumstances under which it lives. Environment includes measures like moisture and temperature, as much as it refers to the actual physical place where an organism is found.
Food Chain/Food Web
All the interactions of predator and prey, included along with the exchange of nutrients into and out of the soil. These interactions connect the various members of an ecosystem, and describe how energy passes from one organism to another.
Frugivore
Animal which primarily eats fruit. Many bats and birds are frugivores.
Generalist
Organism which can survive under a wide variety of conditions, and does not specialize to live under any particular set of circumstances.
Grassland
Region in which the climate is dry for long periods of the summer, and freezes in the winter. Grasslands are characterized by grasses and other erect herbs, usually without trees or shrubs. Grasslands occur in the dry temperate interiors of continents, and first appeared in the Miocene.
Groundwater
Water found underground as a result of rainfall, ice and snow melt, submerged rivers, lakes, and spring. This water often carries minerals. These minerals can accumulate in the remains of buried organisms and eventually cause fossilization.
Halophile
Organism which lives in areas of high salt concentration. These organisms must have special adaptations to permit them to survive under these conditions.
Host
Organism which serves as the habitat for a parasite, or possibly for a symbiont. A host may provide nutrition to the parasite or symbiont, or simply a place in which to live.
Ingestion
The intake of water or food particles by "swallowing" them, taking them into the body cavity or into a vacuole. Contrast with absorption.
Inorganic
Not containing carbon. Not from living things. Ex., minerals, water, oxygen, etc.
Intertidal
The coastal zone measuring from the lowest to the highest tide mark. The intertidal zone is subject to alternating periods of flooding and drying.
Kelp Forest
Marine ecosystem dominated by large kelps. These forests are restricted to cold and temperate waters, and are most common along the western coasts of continents. Kelp forests first appeared in the Miocene.
Limnology
The study of river system ecology and life.
Litter
Leaf litter, or forest litter, is the detritus of fallen leaves and bark which accumulate in forests.
Macroscopic
Objects or organisms that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye.
Marine
Refers to the ocean.
Microscopic
Objects or organisms that are too small to be seen with the naked eye.
Monsoonal
Describes a climate pattern with a wind system that changes directions with the seasons; this pattern is dominant over the Arabian Sea and Southeast Asia.
Morphology
The form and structure of anything, usually applied to the shapes, parts, and arrangement of features in living and fossil organisms.
Niche
The portion of the environment which a species occupies, defined in terms of the conditions under which an organism can survive, and may be affected by the presence of other competing organisms.
Nitrogen Fixation
The conversion of gaseous nitrogen into a form usable by plants. Usually by bacteria.
Nutrient
Any element or simple compound necessary for the health and survival of an organism. This includes air and water, as well as food.
Nutrient Cycling
All the processes by which nutrients are transferred from one organism to another. For instance, the carbon cycle includes uptake of carbon dioxide by plants, ingestion by animals, and respiration and decay of the animal.
Organic
Pertaining to compounds containing carbon. Also refers to living things or the materials made by living things. Inorganic - ant.
Pathogenic
Organism which causes a disease within another organism.
Pelagic
Pelagic organisms swim through the ocean, and may rise to the surface, or sink to the bottom. They are not confined to live on the bottom as benthic organisms do.
Periphyton
Dense strands of algal growth that cover the water surface between the emergant aquatic plants. Spirogyra is commonly responsible for the growth.
Photic Zone
Region of the ocean through which light penetrates; and the place where photosynthetic marine organisms live.
Phytoplankton
Tiny, free-floating, photosynthetic organisms in aquatic systems. They include diatoms, desmids, and dinoflagellates.
Plankton
Very small, free-floating organisms of the ocean or other aquatic systems, including phytoplankton, which produce their own nutrients through photosynthesis, or zooplankton, which get their nutrients from organisms.
Pollinator
Animal which carries pollen from one seed plant to another, unwittingly aiding the plant in its reproduction. Common pollinators include insects, especially bees, butterflies, and moths, birds, and bats.
Rain Shadow
The dry region on the leeward side of a mountain range, where rainfall is noticeably less than on the windward side. For example, ;the White Mountains in east Central California are in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada.
Salinity
A measure of the salt concentration of water. Higher salinity means more dissolved salts.
Seaweed
Any large photosynthetic protist, including rhodophytes and kelps. Seaweeds are not true plants, but like plants they can make their own food.
Specialist
Organism which has adopted a lifestyle specific to a particular set of conditions. Contrast with generalist.
Substrate
"Supporting surface" on which an organism grows. The substrate may simply provide structural support, or may provide water and nutrients. A substrate may be inorganic, such as rock or soil, or it may be organic, such as wood.
Symbiosis
A relationship between two organisms that live in intimate contact with each other; includes mutualism (both organisms benefit, they rely on each other for survival), parasitism (one organism benefits at its host's expense) and commensalism (one partner benefits and the other is neither benefitted nor harmed)
Temperate
Region in which the climate undergoes seasonal change in temperature and moisture. Temperate regions of the earth lie primarily between 30 and 60 degrees latitude in both hemispheres.
Terrestrial
Living on land, as opposed to marine or aquatic.
Tropical
Region in which the climate undergoes little seasonal change in either temperature or rainfall. Tropical regions of the earth lie primarily between 30 degrees north and south of the equator.
Upwelling
The raising of benthic nutrients to the surface waters. This occurs in regions where the flow of water brings currents of differing temperatures together, and increases productivity of the ecosystem.
Zooplankton
Tiny, free-floating organisms in aquatic systems. Unlike phytoplankton, zooplankton cannot produce their own food, and so are consumers.