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assemblage of al the populations of organisms living close enough together for potential interaction

species diversity

variety of different kinds of organisms that make up a community

trophic structure

feeding relationships among the various species making up the community

interspecific competition

two different species competing for the same resource

competitive exclusion principle

the concept that populations of 2 species cant coexist in a community if their niches are nearly identical- one of them will outcompete & eventually eliminate the other


a species role in the community (sum total use of its biotic/abiotic resources in habitat)

resource partitioning

differentiation of niches that enables similar species to coexist in a community


interaction between species in which one (the predator) kills and eats another (the prey)


the species that kills & eats the prey


the species killed & eaten by the predator

Batesian mimicry

palatable or harmless species mimics an unpalatable or harmful model

Müllerian mimicry

two unpalatable species that inhabit the same community mimic each other

keystone species

species that exerts strong control on community structure b/c of its niche


animals that eat plants/algae


series of reciprocal evolutionary adaptations in 2 species

symbiotic relationship

interaction between two or more species that live together in direct contact


a parasite lives on or in its host and obtains its nourishment from the host


disease-causing bacteria, viruses or protists that could be thought of as microscopic parasites


one partner benefits w/o significantly affecting the other


benefits both partners in the relationship


events such as storms, fire, floods, droughts, overgrazing or human activity that damage biological communities, remove organisms from them and alter the availability of resources

ecological succession

the disturbed area may be colonized by a variety of species, which are gradually replaced by a succession of other species

primary succession

when ecological succession begins in a virtually lifeless area with no soil

secondary succession

occurs where a disturbance has destroyed an existing community but left the soil intact

food chain

the sequence of food transfer up the trophic levels


organism that makes organic food molecules from inorganic raw materials (plant, alga, or autotrophic bacterium)... support all others


organism that obtains food by eating plants/eating animals that have eaten plants


organism that derives its energy from organic wastes and dead organisms


breakdown of organic materials to inorganic materials

food web

a network of interconnecting food chains


consists of all the organisms in a community as well as the abiotic environment they interact with

energy flow

the passage of energy through the components of the ecosystem

chemical cycling

the transfer of materials within the ecosystem


the mass of living organic material in an ecosystem

primary production

the amount of solar energy converted to chemical energy (organic compounds) by an ecosystem's producers for a given area and during a given time period

abiotic reservoir

the part of an ecosystem where a chemical accumulates or is stockpiled outside of living organisms

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