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climax community

a stable, mature community that undergoes little or no change in species over time

limiting factor

any biotic or abiotic factor that restricts the existence, numbers, reproduction, or distribution of organisms

primary succession

colonization of barren land by pioneer organisms

secondary succession

sequence of changes that take place after a community is disrupted by natural disasters or human actions

succession

orderly, natural changes, and species replacements that take place in communities of an ecosystem over time

tolerance

the ability of an organism to withstand fluctuations in biotic and abiotic environmental factors

aphotic zone

deep water that never receives sunlight

biome

group of ecosystems with the same climax communities

desert

arid region with sparse to almost nonexistent plant life; the driest biome

estuary

coastal body of water, partially surrounded by land, in which freshwater and salt water mix

grasslands

biome composed of large communities covered with rich soil, grasses, and similar small plants

intertidal zone

portion of the shoreline that lies between high tide and low tide lines

photic zone

portion of the marine biome that is shallow enough for sunlight to penetrate

plankton

small organisms that drift and float in the waters of the photic zone; includes both autotrophic and heterotrophic organisms, their eggs and the juvenile stages of many marine animals

taiga

biome just south of the tundra; characterized by a boreal or northern coniferous forest composed of larch, fir, hemlock and spruce trees and acidic, mineral-poor topsoils

temperate / deciduous forest

biome composed of forests of broad-leaved hardwood trees that lose their foliage annually

tropical rain forest

biome near the equator with warm temperatures, wet weather, and lush plant growth

tundra

biome that surrounds the north and south poles; treeless land with long summer days and short periods of winter sunlight

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