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nonliving, physical features of the environment, including air, water, sunlight, soil, temperature, and climate


any living or previously living component of an environment


group of ecosystems that have the same climate and dominant communities


organism that can capture energy from sunlight or chemicals and use it to produce its own food from inorganic compounds; also called a producer


portion of earth that supports life


a trait that helps an organism survive and reproduce


the total mass of living matter in a given unit area


Meat eater

climax community

a stable, mature community that undergoes little or no change in species over time


the struggle between organisms to survive in a habitat with limited resources


(ecology) a group of interdependent organisms inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other


a symbiotic relationship in which one member is benefited and the second is neither harmed nor benefited


Organisms that break down the dead remains of other organisms


a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment, a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment

ecological succession

The interactions and relationships between organisms and their environment., The series of predictable changes that occurs in a community over time


scientific study of interactions among organisms and between organisms and their environment

energy pyramid

way of showing how energy moves through a food chain

food chain

pathway of food transfer from one trophic level to another

food web

links all the food chains in an ecosystem together


Place where an Organism lives and has the component necessary for its survival (food, water, shelter, space)


an organism that cannot make its own food


eats only plants


ability of a living thing to keep conditions inside its body constant

limiting factors

anything that restricts the number of individuals in a population


that which has mass and occupies space


organism's role, or job, in its habitat

nitrogen cycle

the circulation and reutilization of nitrogen in both inorganic and organic phases


chemical that an organism needs to live


an animal that eats both plants and animals


orderly structure of cells in an organism


a close relationship; one species benefits, the other is harmed


a group of organisms of the same species populating a given area

primary succession

the colonization of new sites like these by communities of organisms


the act of killing and eating another organism


the process of generating offspring


Reaction to a change


a signal to which an organism responds


group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring


relationship in which two species live closely together, the relation between two different species of organisms that are interdependent


organism's capacity to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor

trophic level

step in a food chain or food web


recur in repeating sequences

carbon-oxygen cycle

a biogeochemical cycle which exchanges CO2, O2, and glucose through the processes of photosynthesis and respiration.

water cycle

the continuous movement of water between Earth's surface and the air, changing from liquid to gas to liquid (condensation, precipitation, evaporation


a relationship between two species in which both species benefit


the total mass of living matter in a given unit area


any animal that lives by preying on other animals


animal hunted or caught for food

keystone species

a species that influences the survival of many other species in an ecosystem

biological magnification

process by which pollutants become more concentrated in successive trophic levels of a food web


rapid growth of algae in bodies of water, due to high levels of nitrogen and often phosphate

introduced species

(alien species, non-native species), species moved by humans to new geographic areas, either intentionally or accidentally

secondary succession

the series of changes that occur after a disturbance of an existing ecosystem


native to or confined to a certain region

sustainable use

strives to enable people to use natural resources in ways that will benefit them and maintain the ecosystem


the use of living organisms to detoxify and restore polluted and degraded ecosystems

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