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Ecology terms

abiotic factors

something that is not, will not, or was not alive (e.g. temperature)

biotic factors

something that is, will be, or was alive (e.g. plant)

organism

any living thing (e.g. cat)

species

many of the same organisms

community

groups of species, no non-living things

population

species in a specific area

ecosystem

an area where living and non-living things interact

ecology

the study of organisms in their environments

limiting factors

something that limits the population of an organism

natural selection

animals with better characteristics will survive, those without will die off; survival of the fittest

adaptations

specific changes an animal undergoes to survive

niche

how the organism makes its living (includes type of food, how to get food, predatory animals, interactions)

habitat

an area that provides a living thing everything it needs

competition

fight for shelter, food, water, mates, territory, etc.

symbiosis

a relation between two organisms (e.g. mosquitoes & humans)

predation

the act of killing and eating an animal for survival

predator

the killer and eater

prey

the eaten

mutualism

both animals benefit from this symbiotic relationship

commensalism

one is benefiting, the other is not harmed nor benefited in this symbiotic relationship

parasitism

one is benefiting, the other is harmed in this symbiotic relationship

parasite

the one who benefits from parasitism

host

the one who is harmed in parasitism

producer

an organism that can make its own food (e.g. plant)

scavenger

an organism that eats off of previously killed animals (e.g. hyena)

decomposer

an organism that breaks down dead stuff and returns nutrients to the soil (e.g. worms)

consumer

an organism that has to eat for food and energy (animals)

primary consumer

an organism that gets plants' energy first (e.g. deer)

secondary consumer

an organism that gets plants' energy second (e.g. lion)

carnivore

an organism that only eats meat (e.g. lion)

omnivore

an organism that can eat plants and meat (e.g. human)

herbivore

an organism that only eats plants (e.g. deer)

food chain

a lateral representation of the flow of energy

food web

multiple food chains connected together; much more complex than a food chain

water cycle

the _____ _____ involves evaporation, condensation, and precipitation

evaporation

when water goes up into the atmosphere as a result of heat; gets turned into gas (water vapor)

condensation

when water vapor reaches a temperature cold enough to return to a liquid state

precipitation

when enough water has collected in the atmosphere and falls from atmosphere (e.g. rain)

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