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an assemblage of all populations of organisms living close enough together for potential interaction

Interspecific Interaction

relationships between different species -- affect population structure and dynamics

Ecological Niche

the sum of its use of the biotic and abiotic resources in its environment

Interspecific Competition

occurs when the niches of two populations overlap and both populations need a resource that is in short supply


a series of reciprocal evolutionary adaptations in two species


lives in or on a host from which it obtains nourishment


disease causing agents


are autotrophs



Trophic Structure Order

producers - primary consumers - secondary consumers - tertiary consumers - quaternary consumers

Food Web

a network of interconnecting food chains

Species Diversity

species richness and relative abundance

Species Richness

the number of different species in a community

Relative Abundance

the proportional representation of a species in a community

Keystone Species

a species whose impact on its community is much larger than its biomass would indicate


a force that changes a biological community and usually removes organisms from it

Ecological Succession

the transition in species composition of a community, often following a disturbance

Primary Succession

occurs in a lifeless area with no soil

Secondary Succession

occurs where a disturbance has left soil intact

Invasive Species

spread further beyond the original point of introduction and cause environmental or economical damage

Biological Control

the intentional release of a natural enemy to attack a pest population


consists of all the organisms in a community as well as the abiotic environment with which the organisms interact

Energy Flow

the passage of energy through components of the ecosystem

Chemical Cycling

the transfer of materials within the ecosystem


the amount of living organic material in an ecosystem

Primary Production

the amount of solar energy converted to chemical energy in organic compounds by an ecosystem's producers for a given area during a given period

Biogeochemical Cycles

any of the various chemical circuits that involve both biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem

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