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Ecology

The study of how organisms interact with each other and their environment.

Ecologist

A scientist who studies interactions between the abiotic and biotic parts of the environment.

Adapted

Well-suited.

Adaptation

An inherited characteristic that helps an organism survive in its environment.

Ecosystem

All the interacting parts of a biological community and its environment symbiosis - an interactions between organisms of different species living in close proximity to each other in a relationship that lasts over time.

Mutualism

A symbiotic relationship between two different types of organisms that is beneficial to both.

Parasitism

A symbiotic relationship between two different types of organisms in which one of the partners is harmed and the other benefits.

Parasite

An organism that lives on or in another organism (the host) and feeds on it.

Host

The organism that a parasite lives and feeds on.

Commensalism

A symbiotic relationship between two different types of organisms in which one partner benefits and the other neither benefits nor loses.

Sustainability

Resources of nature are being renewed at least as quickly as they are being used, and all wastes are able to be completely absorbed.

Ecological Footprint

A calculation of the total area of land and water needed to supply all of the materials and energy a human uses, as well as absorb the waste produced.

Natural Resources

The materials and products found in nature.

Reduce

Reduce the amount of garbage you produce.

Reuse

Reuse products rather than throw them away.

Recycle

Recycle products that you cannot use to have them turned into something new.

Abiotic

A term applied to non‐living things in the environment; for example, air, water, and soil are abiotic.

Biotic

A term applied to living things in the environment, such as humans, plants, birds, animals, and insects.

Niche

The role or characteristic activity that is undertaken one organism in an ecosystem; one organism may fill several different niches.

Producers

Plants that use energy from the sun to make nutrients they need to survive; includes some bacteria that transfer energy from particles.

Consumers

Organisms that eat the food made by producers; can be either herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores.

Herbivores

An animal that eats only plant material; examples are grasshopper; beaver, and moose.

Carnivores

An animal that eats other animals; examples are lynx, wolf, and hawk.

Prey

An organism that is caught and eaten by another organism of a different species.

Omnivores

An animal that eats other animals and plant material; examples are bear, raccoon, and people.

Food Chain

The network of feeding relationships among living organisms, as they pass on food energy.

Energy Flow

The movement of energy, which originally comes from the sun, from one organism to another.

Food Web

The network of feeding relationships among organisms.

Scavengers

An organism that eats dead or decaying plant or animal matter; a carrion beetle is an example of a scavenger.

Decomposers

Organisms that break down the cells of dead or waster materials and absorb their nutrients; many bacteria and fungi are decomposers

Predators

An organism that catches and eats other organisms of a different species.

Carbon Cycle

The cycle in which carbon is used and reused through the ecosystem water cycle - the continuous movement of water through the biosphere; the water cycle consists of evaporation, transpiration, condensation, and precipitation.

Water Cycle

The continuous movement of water through the biosphere; the water cycle consists of evaporation, transpiration, condensation, and precipitation.

Pollution

A collective term for the different types of harmful materials that are released into the environment through human activities.

Pollutants

Substances that cause pollution.

Acid rain

Rain that contains higher then normal levels of acid, caused by waste gases released into the atmosphere by industries and automobiles; damaging to the environment.

pH

A symbol used to express acid or alkaline.

Bioaccumulation

Movement of pollutants through levels of a food chain so that greater quantities are retained with movement up the food chain.

Succession

The process by which new species gradually replace old species in an ecosystem.

Primary succession

The gradual growth of organisms in an area that was previously bare.

Secondary succession

The gradual growth of organisms in an area that was formerly home to many different species. For example, the regeneration of a burned forest.

Biological control

A method of controlling insect pests using their natural enemies

Introduced species

Species which are introduced into an environment where they are not naturally formed.

Extinct

Of a species, no longer existing.

Ecosystem Monitoring

A method of checking the condition of an ecosystem by comparing investigation results done at different times.

Indicator Species

Plant or animal species that help to indicate environmental change.

Baseline Data

Information gathered by scientists to be used as a starting point to compare changes in the environment.

Permanent Plots

Study areas.

Environmental Impact Assessment

A report that outlines how an activity will affect the environment.

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