Miller & Levine Biology Chapter 3

Important words and phrases from Chapter 3
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Biosphere
part of Earth in which life exists including land, water, and air or atmosphere; extends 8 kilometers above Earth's surface and 11 kilometers below the surface
Ecology
scientific study of interactions among organisms and between organisms and their environment
Biotic Factors
biological influences on organisms; any living part of the environment with which an organism might interact
Abiotic Factors
physical components of an ecosystem; physical or nonliving factor that shapes an ecosystem
Oikos
root of the words "ecology" and "economy"; means "house"
Primary Producers
first producer of energy-rich compounds that are later used by other organisms.
Autotroph
organism that is able to capture energy from sunlight or chemicals and use it to produce its own food from inorganic compounds; also called a producer; literally "self feeder"
Heterotroph
organism that obtains food by consuming other living things; also called a consumer; literally "other feeder"
Carnivore
organism that obtains energy by eating animals
Scavenger
animal that consumes the carcasses of other animals
Decomposer
organism that breaks down and obtains energy from dead organic matter.
Herbivore
organism that obtains energy by eating only plants
Omnivore
organism that obtains energy by eating both plants and animals
Detritivore
organism that feeds on plant and animal remains and other dead matter.
Food Chain
A series of steps in an ecosystem in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten
Food Web
a network of complex interactions formed by the feeding relationships among the various organisms in an ecosystem; multiple food chains
Trophic Level
Each step in a food chain or food web
Ecological Pyramid
illustration of the relative amounts of energy or matter contained within each trophic level in a given food chain or food web.
Biomass
The total amount of living tissue withing a given trophic level.
Pyramid of Energy
shows the relative amount of energy available at each trophic level of a food chain or food web.
Pyramid of Biomass
illustrates the relative amount of living organic matter available at each trophic level in an ecosystem
Pyramid of Numbers
shows the relative number of individual organisms at each trophic level in an ecosystem
Ecosystem
all the organisms that live in a place, together with their nonliving environment
Biome
a group of ecosystems that share similar climates and typical organisms
Community
assemblage of different populations that live together in a defined area
Consumer
organism that relies on other organisms for its energy and food supply; also called a heterotroph
Population
group of individuals of the same species that live in the same area
Species
a group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring
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