42 terms

Environmental Science Chapter 3 vocab


Terms in this set (...)

a particular location on Earth distinguished by its particular mix of interacting biotic and abiotic components
organisms that specialize in breaking down dead tissues and waste products into smaller particles
the 6 key elements that organisms need in relativity large amounts: nitrogen, phosphurus, calcium, slufur, magnesium and potassium
an organism that uses energy from the sun to produce usable forms of energy. producers use the glucose they produce to store energy and to build structures such as leaves, stems and roots
fungi or bacteria that recycle nutrients from dead tissues and wastes back into the ecosystem
limiting nutrient
a nutrient required for the growth of an organism but available in a lower quantity than other nutrients
see producer
gross primary productivity (GPP)
the total amount of solar energy that producers in an ecosystem capture via photosynthesis over a given amount of time
nitrogen fixation
a process by which some organisms can convert nitrogen gas molecules directly into ammonia
the process by which producers use solar energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose
net primary productivity (NPP)
the energy captured by producers in an ecosystem minus the energy producers respire
the transportation of dissolved molecules through the soil via groundwater
cellular respiration
the process by which cells convert glucose and oxygen into energy, carbon dioxide, and water
the energy in an ecosystem can be measured in terms of biomass
an event, caused by physical, chemical, or biological agents, resulting in changes in the population size or community composition.
an organism that must obtain energy by consuming other organisms
standing crop
the amount of biomass present in an ecosystem at a particular time
all land in a given landscape that drains into a particular stream, river, lake or wetland
obtain their energy by consuming other organisms / heterotrophs that consume producers are herbivores or primary consumers
ecological efficiency
the proportion of conumed energy that can be passed from one trophic level to another
the measure of how much a disturbance can affect the flow of energy and matter
primary consumers
incapable of photosynthesis/ must obtain energy by consuming other organisms
trophic pyramid
a representation of the distribution of biomass, numbers, or energy among trophic levels
the rate at which an ecosystem returns to its original state after a disturbance
a carnivore that eats primary consumers
obtain their energy by consuming other organisms
the region of our planet where life reside, the combination of all ecosystems on Earth
restoration ecology
the study of restoring damaged ecosystems
tertiary consumers
carnivores that eat secondary consumers
biogeochemical cycles
the movements of matter within and between ecosystems
intermediate disturbance hypothesis
ecosystems experiencing intermediate levels of disturbance are more diverse than those with high or low disturbance levels
trophic levels
levels in the feeding structure of organisms. higher trophic levels consume organisms from lower levels
hydrologic cycle
the movement of water through the biosphere
instrumental value
something that has worth as an instrument or a tool that can be used to accomplish a goal
food chain
the sequence of consumption from producers through tertiary consumers
the release of water from leaves during photosynthesis
intrinsic value
a species has worth independent of any benefit it may provide to humans
food web
a complex model of how energy and matter move between trophic levels
the combined amount of evaporation and transpiration used as a measure of the water moving through the ecosystem
goods that humans can use directly
carnivores that consume dead animals
water that moves across the land surface and into streams and rivers