56 terms

Ecosystems

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abiotic
non-living things in an ecosystem (example: light, temperature, and soil composition).
adaptations
Certain traits animals have to help them to survive in their environment.
aquatic
a large ecosystem with its own kind of climate, soil, plants, and animals.
biome
a large ecosystem with its own kind of climate, soil, plants, and animals.
biotic
All the living organisms that inhabit an environment like animals and plants
carbon cycle
the movement of carbon from the atmosphere into organisms and back again
carnivore
organism that obtains energy by eating other animals
carrying capacity
largest number of individuals of a population that a environment can support
chlorophyll
The green chemical in plant cells that help the plants make food
commensalism
a relationship between two organisms in which one organism benefits and the other is unaffected
community
All populations living in an area
competition
The struggle between organisms to survive as they attempt to use the same limited resource
consumer
an organism that obtains energy by feeding on producers and consumers
deciduous forest
A biome with four seasons, plants shed leaves in the fall and grow new ones in the spring. There are many trees located in this biome.
decomposer
organisms that break down wastes and dead organisms and return raw materials to the environment
ecosystem
living and nonliving things in an environment, together with their interactions
endangered
threatened with extinction (in danger of becoming extinct)
energy pyramid
A diagram in which each trophic level is represented by a block, and the blocks are stacked on top of one another; with the lowest trophic level on the bottom.
environment
the air, water, minerals, organisms, and all other external factors surrounding and affecting a given organism at any time.
estuaries
The area where a freshwater stream or river merges with the ocean
food chain
a series of steps in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten
food web
(links all the food chains in an ecosystem together); Consists of many overlapping food chains in an ecosystem.
freshwater biome
A water biome with low salt concentration, includes streams, rivers, lakes, marshes, swamps. Salt levels are low, important nutrient to land plants and animals, supports a wide variety of plant and animal life.
grassland
A biome where grasses, not trees, are the main plant life. Also called savannas, rainfall is low or seasonal, dominant plant life is grass; other plants: buffalo grass, sunflower, goldenrods, clover large herbivores: bison, antelope, zebras, prairie dogs. This biome has thin soil and is comprised of mostly grasses.
habitat
A physical place where an organism lives
habitat reduction
The effects of animals losing their homes due to humans building homes where they once lived, etc.
herbivore
organism that obtains energy by eating only plants
interdependence
the relationship between plants and animals in an ecosystem
marine - (salt water biome)
A water biome with high salt concentration, includes ocean areas and seas, high salt content, warmer, lots of sunlight near surface (examples: coral reefs, tide pools, beaches, ocean floor)
mutualism
a relationship between two species in which both species benefit
natural resources
Natural resources are those elements of the environment that are considered valuable to humans. These can be raw materials, such as trees for lumber and ore for manufacturing, or things that are directly consumed, such as groundwater to drink and animals to eat.
niche
The role of an organism in an ecosystem
nitrogen cycle
e transfer of nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil, to living organisms, and back to the atmosphere
ocean
The ocean ecosystem is where there is more salt water than fresh water involved in the balance of the landscape; plants and animals are adapted to life in a salt water environment. An ocean is much larger than rivers, lakes and ponds.
omnivore
organism that obtains energy by eating both plants and animals
organism
a living thing
over-population
a situation in which too many animals compete for the natural resources in an area
parasitism
one organism lives on or inside another organism and harms it
photosynthesis
chemical process where plants make their own food from the sun's energy
pollutants
anything added to the environment that is harmful to living things
population
All organisms of a species living in the same area
prey
animal hunted or caught for food
predator
any animal that lives by preying on other animals
primary consumer
use plants for energy (anything that eats plants) examples: insects, fish, lizards, mice, birds, deer
producer
an organism that can make its own food by using energy from the sun
recycle
reuse materials
salt marshes
coastal wetlands found throughout the world on shorelines and on the edges of estuaries where freshwater mixes with seawater. Salt marshes are periodically flooded by tides, so the plants living there must be able to deal with being submerged in salt water.
scavenger
any animal that feeds on dead and other decaying organic matter
symbiosis
relationship in which two species live closely together
terrestrial
land based ecosystem
taiga
A cool forest biome of conifers in the upper Northern Hemisphere
tertiary consumer
get their energy from secondary consumers
tropical rainforest
A hot biome near the equator, with much rainfall and a wide variety of life; abundant rainfall, very humid, trees have dense canopies, floor does not get much sunlight, many species of animals and plants plants: vines, ferns, orchids, large and small trees animals: orangutans, insects, sloths, jaguars
tundra
Large treeless plain in the arctic where the ground is frozen all year, located near the northernmost part of earth, summer temperatures are around freezing, grasses and small trees are present, mosses and lichens grow well animals: reindeer, caribou, polar bears, arctic wolves, ptarmigans
water cycle
evaporation, condensation, precipitation; continual process
wetlands
Ecosystems of several types in which vegetation is surrounded by standing water during part or most of the year