Biology Packet 2: Principles in Ecology

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Combo with Ch 3 The Biosphere and 3 others

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


part of Earth in which life exists including land, water, and air or atmosphere


A group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring


group of individuals of the same species that live in the same area


assemblage of different populations that live together in a defined area


Collection of all the organisms that live in a particular place, together with their nonliving 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


organism that can capture energy from sunlight or chemicals and use it to produce food from inorganic compounds; also called an autotroph


process by which plants and some other organisms use light energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and high-energy carbohydrates such as sugars and starches


Process by which some organisms, such as certain bacteria, use chemical energy to produce carbohydrates


organism that obtains energy from the foods it consumes; also called a consumer


organism that relies on other organisms for its energy and food supply; also called a heterotroph


organism that obtains energy by eating only plants


organism that obtains energy by eating animals


organism that obtains energy by eating both plants and animals


organism that feeds on plant and animal remains and other dead matter


organism that breaks down and obtains energy from dead organic matter.


a series of steps in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten

food chain

network of complex interactions formed by the feeding relationships among the various organisms in an ecosystem

food web

step in a food chain or food web

trophic level

diagram that shows the relative amounts of energy or matter within each trophic level in a food chain or food web

ecological pyramid

Total amount of living tissue within a given trophic level


the process by which water changes from liquid form to an atmospheric gas


loss of water from a plant through its leaves


chemical substance that an organism requires to live


process of converting nitrogen gas into ammonia

nitrogen fixation

conversion of nitrates into nitrogen gas


single nutrient that either is scarce or cycles very slowly, limiting the growth of organisms in an ecosystem

limiting nutrient

an immediate increase in the amount of algae and other producers that results from a large input of a limiting nutrient

algal bloom

the scientific discipline in which the relationships among living organisms and the interactions the organisms have with their environments are studied


the portion of Earth that supports life


the living factors in an organism's environment

biotic factors

the nonliving factors in an organism's environment

abiotic factors

individual organisms of a single species that share the same geographic location at the same time


a group of interacting populations that occupy the same geographic area at the same time

biological community

a biological commuunity and all of the biotic and abiotic factors that affect it


a large group of ecosystems that share the same climate and have similar types of communities


where an organism lives


a role or position that an organism has in its environment


the act of one organism consuming an other organism for food


the close relationship that forms when two or more species live together


a relationship between two or more organisms that live closely together and benefit from each other


a relationship where one organism benefits and the other is neither hurt nor helped


a relationship where one organism benefits at the expense of another


an organism that collects energy from sunlight or inorganic substances to produce food


an organism that gets its energy requirements from consuming other organisms


an organism which eat fragments of dead matter in an ecosystem and returns nutrients to the environment


step in a food chain or web

trophic level

a simple model that shows how energy flows through an ecosystem

food chain

a model representing the many interconnected food chains and pathyways in which energy flows through a group of organisms

food web

the total mass of living matter at a trophic level


anything that has mass and takes up space


a chemical substance that an organism must obtain from its environment


the exchange of matter through the biosphere

biogeochemical cycle

the process of capturing and converting nitrogen into a form that is usable by plants

nitrogen fixation

the conversion by bacteria of fixed nitrogen compounds to nitrogen gas


an organizer that can make its own food


an organism that obtains energy by feeding on other organisms


a consumer that eats only plants


a consumer that eats only animals


a consumer that eats both plants and animals


a carnivore that feeds on the bodies of dead organisms


an organism that breaks down wastes and dead organisms


a series of events in which one organism eats another

food chain

the pattern of overlapping food chains in an ecosystem

food web

a diagram that shows the amount of energy that moves from one feeding level to another in a food web

energy pyramid


What organism is the source of all the food in an ecosystem?

all the living and non-living things that interact in an area


the place where an organism lives and that provides the things it needs; (food, water, shelter, etc)


a living part of an ecosystem (plants, animals)

biotic factor

a non-living part of an ecosystem (water, sunlight, oxygen, temperature, soil)

abiotic factor

a group of organisms that are similar and reproduce fertile offspring


all the members of one species in a particular area


all the different populations that live together in an area


the study of how living things interact with each other and with their environment


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