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a collection of ecosystems that share similar climactic conditions and so give rise to similar vegetation patterns

Solar radiation

Transmission of energy from the sun in the form of electromagnetic waves.


the amount of solar radiation reaching a given area


made up of general weather patterns, seasons, extremes of weather (particularly temperature and precipitation)


the falling to earth of any form of water (rain or snow or hail or sleet or mist)


distance from the equator


height above sea level


involves the breaking down of food, often in the form of glucose, to release energy which is used in living processes


the process by which plants make their own food from water and carbon dioxide


the rate of growth or biomass increase in plants and animals

Gross Primary Productivity (GPP)

the total gain in energy or biomass per unit area per unit time by green plants

Net Primary Productivity (NPP)

the total gain in energy or biomass per unit area per unit time by green plants after allowing for losses to respiration

Gross Secondary Productivity (GSP)

the total gain in energy or biomass per unit area per unit time by consumers through absorption

Net Secondary Productivity (NSP)

the total gain in energy or biomass per unit area per unit time by consumers after allowing for losses to respiration


organism that creates its own food


organism that cannot create its own food


a particular type of organism


a group of individuals of the same species living in the same area at the same area


the environment where a species normally lives

Ecological niche

how an organism makes a living


a group of populations living and interacting with each other in a common habitat


a community of interdependent organisms and the physical environment which they inhabit


is that part of the Earth inhabited by organisms

Biotic factors

organisms or their products that directly or indirectly affect an organism in its environment

Abiotic factors

non-living, physical, and chemical components of an ecosystem

Limiting factors

factors that prevent a community, population, or organism from growing larger

Food chain

shows the flow of energy from one organism to the next

Food web

a complex network of interrelated food chains

Trophic level

the position that an organism or a group of organisms in a community occupies in a food chain


green plants, which manufacture their own food from simple inorganic substances


feed on autotrophs or other heterotrophs to obtain energy


consumer that feeds on producers


consumer that feeds on other consumers

Top carnivore

the consumer at the highest level of the food chain


obtain their energy from dead organisms as their food source


consumers that derive their food from detritus or decomposing organic material

Pyramid of numbers

shows the number of organisms at each trophic level in a food chain

Pyramid of biomass

chart containing the biomass at each trophic level

Pyramid of productivity

contains the flow of energy through each trophic level


when the concentration of a chemical may be high enough to cause disease or death


when the top trophic levels take in so much of the chemical that it causes disease or death as there is less biomass for each successive trophic level

Intraspecific competition

competition between members of the same species

Interspecific competition

competition between members of different species


when one animal eats another animal


an animal that kills prey for food


the animal that is eaten by predators


an animal eating a green plant


a relationship between two species in which one species lives in or on another, gaining its food from it


a relation between two or more species in which both or all benefit and none suffer

Energy flow diagram

diagram that shows the movement of energy

Biogeochemical cycles

natural cycles that occur on Earth

Energy subsidy

the additional energy that we have to put into a system, more than that which comes from the sun's energy

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