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26 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back


All organisms living in a community as well as all the abiotic factors with which they interact.

Dynamics of ecosystem

The two processes of energy flow and chemical cycling.

Trophic levels

A level of organisms in a food chain.


Primary producers, usually photosynthetic


Trophic levels above the primary producers and depend on autotroph's photosynthetic output.

Primary consumers

Herbivores that eat primary producers.

Secondary consumers

Carnivores that eat herbivores.

Tertiary consumers

Carnivores that eat secondary carnivores.


Decomposers (such as fungi), gets energy from non-living organic material.

Primary production

The amount of light energy converted to chemical energy.

Photic Zone

The upper part of the ocean where lots of light penetrate (coral reefs).

Secondary production

The amount of chemical energy in consumer's that is converted to their own new biomass during a time period.

Production efficiency

The relationship between energy used for growth v.s. the energy used for daily needs.

Trophic efficiency

The percentage of production transferred from one trophic level to the next.

Pyramids of production

The multiplicative loss of energy from a food chain.

Biomass pyramids

The ecological consequence of low trophic efficiencies.

Water cycle

The processes of evaporation, transpiration, condensation, and precipitation.

Carbon cycle

CO2 is taken up and released by photosynthesis and cellular respiration; additionally, volcanoes and burning of fossils fuels add CO2 to the atmosphere.

Nitrogen cycle

Nitrogen is added to the soil through Atmospheric deposition and Nitrogen fixation.

Atmospheric deposition

Usable nitrogen from the atmosphere is added to the soil through rain or dust.

Nitrogen fixation

Certain prokaryotes convert N2 to minerals that can be used to synthesize nitrogenous organic compounds like amino acids.


The product of nitrogen fixation is ammonia, which becomes ammonium, which plants can use.


Certain aerobic bacteria oxide ammonium into nitrate.


Certain bacteria get oxygen from the nitrate and release N2 back into the atmosphere.

Phosphorous cycle

Phosphorus occurs only in phosphate, which plants absorb and use for organic synthesis.

Human disruption

Soil nutrient depletion, adding toxins (fertilizers), atmospheric thickening through burning fossil fuels, and pollution is contaminating the trophic levels.