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Part 2

biome

group of ecosystems that have the same climate and dominant communities

tolerance

organism's capacity to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental 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 rainforest trees

understory

layer in a rain forest formed by shorter trees and vines

deciduous

tree that sheds its leaves during a particular season each year

coniferous

trees producing seed-bearing cones and have thin leaves shaped like needles

humus

material formed from decaying leaves and other decaying matter

taiga

biome in which the winters are cold but summers are mild enough to allow the ground to thaw

permafrost

layer of permanently frozen subsoil in the tundra

plankton

tiny, free-floating organisms that occur in aquatic ecosystems

phytoplankton

algae and other small, photosynthetic organisms found near the surface of the ocean and forming parts of plankton

zooplankton

tiny animals that form part of the plankton

wetland

ecosystem in which water either covers the soil or is present at or near the surface of the soil for at least part of the year

estuary

wetland formed where rivers meet the ocean

detritus

particles of organic matter 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 water

mangrove swamp

coastal wetland dominated by mangroves, salt-tolerant woody plants

photic zone

well-lit upper layer of the oceans

aphotic zone

permanently dark layer of the oceans below the photic zone

zonation

prominant horizontal banding of organisms that live in a particular habitat

coastal ocean

marine zone that extends from the lowtide mark to the end of the continental shelf

kelp forest

coastal ocean community named for its dominant organism kelp, a giant brown alga

coral reef

diverse and productive environment named for the coral animals that make up its primary structure

benthos

organisms that live attached to or near the ocean floor

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