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Vocabulary from Glencoe Biology sections 2.1, 2.2, and 4.1

ecology

study of relationships between organisms and their environments

biosphere

part of earth that supports life

biotic factor

any living factor in an organism's environment

abiotic factor

any nonliving factor in an organism's environment

population

group of organisms of the same species

biological community

interacting populations of different species in the same area

ecosystem

biological community and all abiotic factors involved

biome

large group of ecosystems that share the same climate

habitat

area in which an organism lives

niche

the specific role of an organism in its environment

predation

the act of one organism feeding on another

sybiosis

close relationship between two or more species that live together (commensalism, mutualism, or parasitism)

mutualism

a symbiotic relationship in which both organisms benefit

commensalism

symbiotic relationship where one organism benefits and the other organism is not helped or harmed

parasitism

symbiotic relationship where one organism benefits while another is harmed

autotroph

an organism that produces its own food

heterotroph

an organism that cannot produce its own food and must take in energy by eating other living things

herbivore

organisms that prey only on autotrophs

carnivore

organism that preys on other heterotrophs

omnivore

organism that preys on heterotrophs and autotrophs

detritivore

organism that that decomposes organic material and returns the nutrients to the soil, air, and water

trophic level

each step in a food chain or food web

food chain

simple model that shows energy transfer along a single path

food web

complex model showing the many ways energy can be transferred within an ecosystem

biomass

total mass of living matter at a trophic level

population density

number of organisms per unit of living area

dispersion

how a population is arranged in its environment

density-dependent factor

environmental factor that depends on the number of members in an population (disease, competition, etc.)

density-independent factor

environmental factor that does not depend on the number of individuals in the population (weather, etc.)

population growth rate

how fast a specific population grows

emigration

movement of a population out of an area

immigration

movement of a population into an area

carrying capacity

largest number of individuals in a species that an environment can support

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