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ecological succession

a change in community composition over time

primary succession

a change in community composition over time that starts on areas devoid of soil

secondary succession

a change in community composition over time that starts on areas where there is already soil (re: abandoned fields)

an ecosystem contains _____ and ____ components

biotic, abiotic


populations of organisms


inorganic nutrients, water, temperature, wind, etc.


producers that make food for themselves and for consumers

most autotrophs are ____ organisms



consumers that take in preformed food

consumers may be:

herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, decomposers, detritus feeders


partially decomposed organic matter in the soil and water

every ecosystem is characterized by two phenomena:

energy flows in one direction from the sun to producers and consumers, with a lot of it lost as heat; and chemicals cycle when inorganic nutrients pass from organisms to the atmosphere or soil

ecosystems are dependent upon

a continual supply of solar energy

food web

the interconnected feeding relationships in an ecosystem

grazing food web

the upper portion of a food web based on living plants

detrital food web

the lower portion of a food web based on detritus and the organisms of decay

trophic level

all the organisms that feed at a particular link in a food chain

food chain

a diagram that link organisms together by who eats whom

what can the shortness of food chains be attributed to?

the loss of energy between trophic levels

ecological pyramids depict

the flow of energy with large losses between successive trophic levels


a large biogeographical unit of the biosphere that has a particular mix of plants and animals that are adapted to living under certain environmental conditions

a biome's distribution can be predicted by

temperature and rainfall

teh distribution of biomes and thus the pattern of life on earth is determined principally by


the effect of temperature is seen not only when we consider ____ but also when we consider ____

latitude, altitude

the arctic tundra

encircles the earth just south of ice-covered seas in the northern hemisphere, covering 20% of the earth's land surface; cold, dark, layer of permafrost is present in the poorly drained soil

coniferous forests are found in these three locations:

taiga, near mountain tops, temperate rain forests


area that extends around the world in the northern part of north america and eurasia

temperate rain forests are found

along the pacific coast of north america

temperate deciduous forests are found

south of taiga in eastern north america, eastern asia, and much of europe

temperate deciduous forest climate

moderate with relatively high rainfall, well-defined seasons, large growing season

____ provides a variety of habitats for birds, insects, and ground life


deciduous forest soils are ____


in the tropical rain forests near the equator, the weather is ____ and rainfall is ____

always warm, plentiful

what is the most diverse biome?

tropical rain forests


shorter than trees with a woody persistent stem and no central trunk; thick evergreen leaves with a waxy protective coating

chaparral shrub-land

in california; lacks an understory and is highly flammable

grasslands occur where

rainfall is greater than 25 cm but insufficient to support trees


grasslands that contain some trees that occur where a relatively cool dry season followed by a hot, rainy one

what supports the greatest variety and number of large herbivores?

african savanna


characterized by low precipitation; some have no plants but others have some


toxins become more concentrated in organisms as you go up the food chain

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