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AP Edition Biology, Eighth Edition


scientific study of the interactions between organisms and the environment


group of individuals of the same species living in an area


group of populations of different species in an area


community of organisms in an area and the physical factors with which the communities interact

landscape (seascape)

mosaic of connected ecosystems


global ecosystem (sum of all the planet's ecosystems and landscapes)

biotic factors

living factors that influence a species' distribution (ex: food sources, availability of a mate, territoriality)

abiotic factors

nonliving factors that influence a species' distribution (ex: light, temperature, water)


movement of individuals from their area of origin or from centers of high population density


long-term, prevailing weather conditions in a particular area


climate patterns on the global, regional and local level


very fine climate patterns (ex: beneath a fallen log)


major terrestrial (characterized by vegetation type) or aquatic (characterized by physical environment) life zones

photic zone

zone in a body of water where there is sufficient light for photosynthesis

aphotic zone

zone in a body of water where little light penetrates

benthic zone

the bottom of aquatic biomes;
a substrate of sand and organic and inorganic sediments


collective term for the communities that live in the bottom sediment of aquatic biomes

abyssal zone

zone that lies between 2000m and 6000m below the surface of the ocean


narrow layer of abrupt temperature change in a lake that separates warmer upper layers from cooler lower layers


semiannual mixing of lake water due to changing temperature profiles;
brings oxygenated water from a lake's surface to the bottom and the nutrient-rich water from the bottom to the surface

oligotrophic lakes

nutrient-poor and oxygen-rich lakes

eutrophic lakes

nutrient-rich and oxygen-poor lakes

littoral zone

shallow, well-lit waters close to shore in an aquatic biome;
where rooted and floating aquatic plants are found

limnetic zone

where the water is too deep for rooted aquatic plants;
populated by phytoplankton and cyanobacteria


aquatic habitat inundated by water at least some of the time and supports plants adapted to water-saturated soil


transition area between river and sea

intertidal zone

aquatic zone periodically exposed and flooded by the tides

oceanic pelagic zone

aquatic zone of open blue water, constant mixed by wind-driven oceanic currents

coral reefs

formed largely from calcium carbonate skeletons of corals

marine benthic zone

seafloor below the surface waters of the coastal and open water zones

deep-sea hydrothermal vents

support aquatic communities of organisms without sunlight;
the primary producers are chemoautotrophic prokaryotes


event that changes a community, removing organisms from it and altering resource availability (ex: storm, fire, human activity)


plot of the temperature and precipitation of a particular region


arrea of intergradation between terrestrail biomes


upper tree layer in forests

tropical rain forest

layered equatorial forest
high annual temperatures
relatively constant rainfall

tropical dry forest

layered equatorial forest
high annual temperatures
highly seasonal precipitation levels


commonly located 30° north or south of the equator
little precipitation
highly fluctuating temperature
low, widely scattered vegetation


equatorial grassland
seasonal rainfall
warm annual temperatures
scattered trees and frequent fires


highly seasonal precipitation
hot in the summer and cooler in fall, winter, and spring
dominated by shrubs and small trees
high plant diversity

temperate grassland

highly seasonal precipitation
cold winters, hot summers
grasses dominant
periodic droughts and fires

taiga (northern coniferous forest)

largest terrestrial biome
rainfall depends on specific location
long and cold winters, hot summers
cone-bearing trees

temperate broadleaf forest

precipitation during all seasons, esp. summer and winter
cold winters, hot and humid summers
distinct vertical layers
deciduous trees dominant


covers expansive areas of the arctic
can be found at high mountain altitudes
long and cold winters, short and cool summers
herbaceous vegetation, mosses and grasses
plant growth restricted due to permafrost


permanently frozen layer of soil that restricts the growth of plants

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