29 terms

Ecology

Vocabulary list on the Interconnectedness Unit
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Trophic level
a step in the movement of energy through an ecosystem, represented by a
particular set of organisms; "feeding" level
Heterotroph
an organism that cannot produce its own food and so must get it from other organisms. Examples are all fungi and animals.
Autotroph
an organism that produces its own food
Producer
a photosynthetic green plant or chemosynthetic bacterium, constituting the first trophic level in a food chain; an autotroph
Consumer
organisms that obtain nutrients from other organisms. This is also a heterotroph
Decomposer
an organism of decay. They break down the remains of dead animals and plants, releasing the substances that can be used by other members of the ecosystem.
Herbivores
animals that feed only on plants. Rabbits, cattle, horses, sheep and deer are all herbivores.
Carnivore
animals that feed on other animals.
Omnivore
animals that feed on both plants and animals. Examples of omnivores are humans and bears.
Food web
the interconnection of all food chains in an ecosystem.
Food chain
the path of food energy transfer from green plants (producers) to grazers (primary consumers), omnivores and carnivores (secondary consumers), and to their predators (top carnivores).
Transpiration
the loss of water into the the atmosphere through plant tissues
Carrying capacity
population size that can be supported by available resources
Biotic
living
Abiotic
non-living
Population
a group of individuals of the same species
Photosynthesis
process used by plants and other autotrophic organisms to convert light energy, normally from the sun, into chemical energy.
Habitat
where an organism lives
Niche
how an organism fits into its community; an ecological role
Ecology
the science of our biosphere; it deals with the relationship between organisms and their environment
Biosphere
the earth and its atmosphere
Ecosystem
a community of living and non-living things that work together.
Open system
a system in which energy and matter are exchanged between the system and its environment
Closed system
are ecosystems that do not rely on matter exchange with any part outside the system.
Competition
interaction between two or more organisms, or groups of organisms, that use a common resource in short supply
Mutualism
interaction between two species in which both benefit
Commensalism
relationship between two organisms where one organism benefits without affecting the other
Parasitism
a non-mutual relationship between organisms of different species where one organism, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host
Predation
an interaction where a predator (an organism that is hunting) feeds on its prey (the organism that is hunted)