Biology

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Terms in this set (...)

evolution
the process of biological change over time by which descendants come to differ from their ancestors
species
group of organisms that can reproduce and have fertile offspring
fossils
traces of organisms that existed in the past
catastrophism
the idea that past natural disasters - like floods and volcanic eruptions - shaped landforms and caused species to become extinct in the process
gradualism
the idea that landforms were shaped by very slow changes over a long period of time, and not by natural disasters
uniformitarianism
the idea that the same processes that shaped landforms in the past also shape landforms today (both gradual and catastrophic) This is the most favored theory of geologic change today.
variation
differences in physical traits among individuals in a group of organisms
adaptation
a feature that allows an organism to better adapt to its environment
artificial selection
humans select individuals with desired traits and then breed them to produce more individuals with that trait
heritability
the ability of a trait to be passed down from one generation to the next
natural selection
is a process in which individuals that have inherited beneficial adaptations produce more offspring than do other individuals
fitness
a measure of the ability to survive and reproduce
ecology
the study of interactions among living things
community
is a group of different species that live together in one area
ecosystem
includes all the organisms (biotic features) as well as the non-living (abiotic features) like soil, water and rocks living an an area
biome
a major regional or global community such as a desert or rain forest, defined by it's climate and it's plant life existing there.
biotic
living things such as plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria
abiotic
non living features such as soil, water, rocks and temperature
biodiversity
the variety of living things in an ecosystem
keystone species
a species that has an unusually large effect on an ecosystem
producers
are organisms that make their own food, also known as autotrophs
consumers
organisms that get their energy form eating other organisms including plants and animals. Also called heterotrophs
herbivores
eat only plants
carnivores
eat only animals
omnivores
eat both plants and animals
detritivores
organism that eats dead plants and animals such as earthworms
decomposers
organisms that break down dead animal and plant matter into simpler compounds. Fungi are an example. Decomposers return nutrients to the soil.
trophic level
level of nourishment in a food chain
food web
complex network of feeding relationships
hydrologic cycle
circular pathway of water on earth
immigration
movement of individuals into a population from another population
emigration
is the movement of individuals out of a population and into another population

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