APES Chapter 3 Key Terms

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Acid

Substances that release hydrogen ions (protons) in water.

Atomic Number

The characteristic number of protons per atom of an element used as an identifying attribute.

Atoms

The smallest unit of matter that has the characteristics of an element; consists of three main types of subatomic particles: protons neutrons and electrons.

Base

Substances that bond readily with hydrogen ions.

Biological Community

The populations of plants animals and microorganisms living and interacting in a certain area at a given time.

Biomass

The total mass or weight of all living organisms in a given population or area.

Carbon Cycle

The circulation and reutilization of carbon atoms especially via the process of photosynthesis and respiration.

Carbon Sink

Places of carbon accumulation such as in large forests (organic compounds) or ocean sediments (calcium carbonate); carbon is thus removed from the carbon cycle for moderately long to very long periods of time.

Carnivores

Organisms that mainly prey upon animals.

Cells

Minute biological compartments within which the processes of life are carried out.

Cell Respiration

The process in which a cell breaks down sugar or other organic compounds to release energy used for cellular work; may be anaerobic or aerobic depending on the availability of oxygen.

Chemical Energy

Potential energy stored in chemical bonds of molecules.

Compound

A molecule made up of two or more kinds or atom held together by chemical bonds.

Conservation Of Matter

In any chemical reaction matter changes form; it is neither created nor destroyed.

Consumers

An organism that obtains energy and nutrients by feeding on other organisms or their remains.

Decomposers

Fungi and bacteria that break complex organic material into smaller molecules.

Detritivores

Organisms that consume organic litter debris and dung.

Ecology

The scientific study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It is concerned with the life histories distribution and behavior of individual species as well as the structure and function of natural systems at the level of populations communities and ecosystems.

Ecosystems

A specific biological community and its physical environment interacting in an exchange of matter and energy.

Elements

A molecule composed of one kind of atom; cannot be broken into simpler units by chemical reactions.

Energy

The capacity to do work (that is to change the physical state of motion of an object)

Entropy

Disorder

Enzymes

Molecules usually proteins or nucleic acids that act as catalysts in biochemical reactions.

First Law Of Thermodynamics

States that energy is conserved. It is neither created nor destroyed underneath normal conditions.

Food Chain

A linked feeding series; in an ecosystem the sequence of organisms through which energy and materials are transferred in the form of food from one trophic level to another.

Food Web

A complex interlocking series of individual food chains in an ecosystem.

Heat

A form of energy transferred from one body to another because of a difference in temperatures.

Herbivores

A form of energy transferred from one body to another because of a difference in temperatures.

Hydrologic Cycle

The natural process by which water is purified and made fresh through evaporation and precipitation. The cycle provides all the fresh water available for biological life.

Ions

Electrically charged atoms that have gained or lost electrons.

Isotopes

Forms of a single element that differ in atomic mass due to a different number of neutrons in the nucleus.

Kinetic Energy

Energy contained in moving objects such as a rock rolling down a hill the wind blowing through the trees or water flowing over a dam.

Matter

Anything that takes up space and has mass.

Metabolism

All the energy and matter exchanges that occur within a living cell or organism; collectively, the life processes.

Molecule

A combination of two or more atoms.

NItrogen

Organic places.

Omnivores

An organism that eats both plants and animals.

Organic Compounds

Complex molecules organized around skeletons of carbon atoms arranged in rings or chains; includes biomolecules molecules synthesized by living organisms.

PH

A value that indicated the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a scale of 0-14, based on the proportion of H+ ions.

Phosphorus Cycle

The movement of phosphorus atoms from rocks through the biosphere and hydrosphere and back to rocks.

Photosynthesis

The biochemical process by which green plants and some bacteria capture light energy and use it to produce chemical bonds. Carbon dioxide and water are consumed while oxygen and simple sugars are produced.

Population

A group of individuals of the same species occupying a given area.

Potential Energy

Stored energy that is latent but available for use. A rock poised at the top of a hill or water stored behind a dam are examples.

Producer

An organism that synthesizes food molecules from inorganic compounds by using an external energy source; most producers are photosynthesis.

Productivity

The synthesis of new organic material. That done by green plants using solar energy is called primary productivity.

Scavengers

An organism that feeds on the dead bodies of other organisms.

Second Law of Thermodynamics

States that with each successive energy transfer or transformation in a system, less energy is available to do work.

Species

A population of morphologically similar organisms that can reproduce sexually among themselves but that cannot produce fertile offspring when mated with other organisms.

Sulfur Cycle

The chemical and physical reactions by which sulfur moves into or out of storage and through the environment.

Trophic Level

Step in the movement of energy through an ecosystem; an organism's feeding status in an ecosystem.

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