18 terms

Miller and Levine Biology Chapter 3 Ecology Vocabulary

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ecology
scientific study of interactions among organisms and between organisms and their environment
biosphere
all life and all of Earth in which life exists, including land, water, and air or atmosphere
species
a group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring
biotic factor
any living part of the environment with which an organism might interact
abiotic factor
any nonliving part of the environment that shapes an ecosystem
photosynthesis
process of capturing light energy and using it to power chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and glucose
autotrophs
organisms like plants that can photosynthesize and make their own food; also known as producers.
producer
organisms like plants that can photosynthesize and produce their own food; also known as autotrophs.
heterotrophs
organisms that rely on eating other organisms for their energy and food supply.
consumers
organisms that obtain food energy by consuming (eating) other organisms
carnivore
organism that obtains energy by eating animals
herbivore
organism that obtains energy by eating only plants
omnivore
organism that obtains energy by eating both plants and animals
scavenger
animal that consumes the carcasses of other animals that are already dead; examples are vultures and crows.
decomposer
organism that breaks down and obtains energy from dead organic matter; examples are bacteria and fungi
plankton
microscopic algae and animals that drift or swim in aquatic ecosystems
food chain
a series of steps in an ecosystem in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten
food web
a community of organisms where there are several interrelated food chains

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