environmental science

64 terms by reitmeyp

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abundance

number or amount of something

aerobic

with the presence of oxygen

albedo

reflective property of a surface such as snow

annual

a plant that lives for single growing season

anthropocentric

belief that humans hold a special place in nature

autotrophic

self feeding by synthesizing food from inorganic molecules

biodegradable

substances which can decompose using microorganism

biodiversity

variety of living species in a given area

biotic

living factors in an ecosystem

biomass

total mass of all living organisms in a given area

biome

broad area with distinctive climate, soil, organism

biosphere

zone of air, land , and water where life can be supported

carbon cycle

circulation and reutilization of carbon atoms via photosynthesis and respiration

carnivores

organisms that prey upon animals

carrying capacity

maximum number of individuals of any species that can be supported by an ecosystem

CFC

compound used in refigerates and aresols which can destroy ozone

climate

long term pattern of weather in an area

competitive exclusion

theory that no two populations can occupy the same niche over a long time

composting

biological degrading of organic material

condensation

collecting of water molecules from vapor to liquid

conifers

needle bearing tree which produce cones

consumers

organisum which obtains energy by feeding on another organism

convection currents

rising or sinking of air or water due to differences in temperature or density

deciduous

trees or shrubs which loose their leaves at the end of a growning season

decomposers

fungi or bacteria that break complex organic material into smaller molecules

desert

biome and low moisture levels

ecological niche

the role or position of a species in an ecosystem

ecological succession

gradual change in an environment over time

ecology

the study of relationships between organisms and their environment

ecotourism

combining of travel, cultural exploration and nature appreciation

energy pyramid

a representation of the loss of energy at each step in a food chain or web

environment

the surroundings of an organism

estuary

where a river empties into a sea

extinction

elimination of a species

food web

interlocking food chains in an ecosystem

fossil fuels

petroleum, natural gas, and coal formerly living things

greenhouse gas

gasses added to the atmosphere by human activity causing global warming

habitat

where an organism lives

herbivore

plant eating consumer

heterotroph

an organism not capable of making its own food and must feed upon other life

landfills

disposal sites where dirt may cover solid waste

natural resources

good supplies by the environment

mutualism

symbiotic relationship in which both species benefit

natural selection

organisms best suited for their environment will survive and reproduce strengthening the species

nitrogen cycle

circulation of nitrogen through organic and inorganic phases

nitrogen fixing bacteria

bacteria that convert nitrogen from the atmosphere into usable nitrogen for plants

omnivore

a heterotroph that eats both plants and animals

ozone

3 atom oxygen molecule that protects earth from ultraviolet rays

parasite

an oranism that lives in or on another organism and gets nutrients from the host

photosynthesis

production of simple sugar using sunlight

abiotic factors

the nonliving parts of the environoment such as soil, water and sunlight

phytoplankton

free-floating autotrophic microorganism in an aquatic ecosystem

pioneer species

organisms that first occupy and ecosystem

population

a group of individuals of the same species

predator

an organism that feeds on herbivores or carnivores

producer

an organism that makes food from inorganic compounds by using and external energy source

sanitary landfills

garbage in a municipal waste area that is buried everyday and sealed off

species

a population of organisms that can reproduce with each other.

renewable resources

resources normally replaced by natural processes

species diversity

the number and relative abundance of species present in a community

symbiosis

relationship between members of two different species

taiga

cold biome characterized by conifers

trophic levels

an organisms feeding status in an ecosystem

upwelling

convection currents within a body of water that carry nutients up from the bottom

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