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64 terms

environmental science

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abundance
number or amount of something
aerobic
with the presence of oxygen
albedo
reflective property of a surface such as snow
annual
a plant that lives for single growing season
anthropocentric
belief that humans hold a special place in nature
autotrophic
self feeding by synthesizing food from inorganic molecules
biodegradable
substances which can decompose using microorganism
biodiversity
variety of living species in a given area
biotic
living factors in an ecosystem
biomass
total mass of all living organisms in a given area
biome
broad area with distinctive climate, soil, organism
biosphere
zone of air, land , and water where life can be supported
carbon cycle
circulation and reutilization of carbon atoms via photosynthesis and respiration
carnivores
organisms that prey upon animals
carrying capacity
maximum number of individuals of any species that can be supported by an ecosystem
CFC
compound used in refigerates and aresols which can destroy ozone
climate
long term pattern of weather in an area
competitive exclusion
theory that no two populations can occupy the same niche over a long time
composting
biological degrading of organic material
condensation
collecting of water molecules from vapor to liquid
conifers
needle bearing tree which produce cones
consumers
organisum which obtains energy by feeding on another organism
convection currents
rising or sinking of air or water due to differences in temperature or density
deciduous
trees or shrubs which loose their leaves at the end of a growning season
decomposers
fungi or bacteria that break complex organic material into smaller molecules
desert
biome and low moisture levels
ecological niche
the role or position of a species in an ecosystem
ecological succession
gradual change in an environment over time
ecology
the study of relationships between organisms and their environment
ecotourism
combining of travel, cultural exploration and nature appreciation
energy pyramid
a representation of the loss of energy at each step in a food chain or web
environment
the surroundings of an organism
estuary
where a river empties into a sea
extinction
elimination of a species
food web
interlocking food chains in an ecosystem
fossil fuels
petroleum, natural gas, and coal formerly living things
greenhouse gas
gasses added to the atmosphere by human activity causing global warming
habitat
where an organism lives
herbivore
plant eating consumer
heterotroph
an organism not capable of making its own food and must feed upon other life
landfills
disposal sites where dirt may cover solid waste
natural resources
good supplies by the environment
mutualism
symbiotic relationship in which both species benefit
natural selection
organisms best suited for their environment will survive and reproduce strengthening the species
nitrogen cycle
circulation of nitrogen through organic and inorganic phases
nitrogen fixing bacteria
bacteria that convert nitrogen from the atmosphere into usable nitrogen for plants
omnivore
a heterotroph that eats both plants and animals
ozone
3 atom oxygen molecule that protects earth from ultraviolet rays
parasite
an oranism that lives in or on another organism and gets nutrients from the host
photosynthesis
production of simple sugar using sunlight
abiotic factors
the nonliving parts of the environoment such as soil, water and sunlight
phytoplankton
free-floating autotrophic microorganism in an aquatic ecosystem
pioneer species
organisms that first occupy and ecosystem
population
a group of individuals of the same species
predator
an organism that feeds on herbivores or carnivores
producer
an organism that makes food from inorganic compounds by using and external energy source
sanitary landfills
garbage in a municipal waste area that is buried everyday and sealed off
species
a population of organisms that can reproduce with each other.
renewable resources
resources normally replaced by natural processes
species diversity
the number and relative abundance of species present in a community
symbiosis
relationship between members of two different species
taiga
cold biome characterized by conifers
trophic levels
an organisms feeding status in an ecosystem
upwelling
convection currents within a body of water that carry nutients up from the bottom