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Vocabulary from Glencoe Biology sections 2.1, 2.2, and 4.1


study of relationships between organisms and their environments


part of earth that supports life

biotic factor

any living factor in an organism's environment

abiotic factor

any nonliving factor in an organism's environment


group of organisms of the same species

biological community

interacting populations of different species in the same area


biological community and all abiotic factors involved


large group of ecosystems that share the same climate


area in which an organism lives


the specific role of an organism in its environment


the act of one organism feeding on another


close relationship between two or more species that live together (commensalism, mutualism, or parasitism)


a symbiotic relationship in which both organisms benefit


symbiotic relationship where one organism benefits and the other organism is not helped or harmed


symbiotic relationship where one organism benefits while another is harmed


an organism that produces its own food


an organism that cannot produce its own food and must take in energy by eating other living things


organisms that prey only on autotrophs


organism that preys on other heterotrophs


organism that preys on heterotrophs and autotrophs


organism that that decomposes organic material and returns the nutrients to the soil, air, and water

trophic level

each step in a food chain or food web

food chain

simple model that shows energy transfer along a single path

food web

complex model showing the many ways energy can be transferred within an ecosystem


total mass of living matter at a trophic level

population density

number of organisms per unit of living area


how a population is arranged in its environment

density-dependent factor

environmental factor that depends on the number of members in an population (disease, competition, etc.)

density-independent factor

environmental factor that does not depend on the number of individuals in the population (weather, etc.)

population growth rate

how fast a specific population grows


movement of a population out of an area


movement of a population into an area

carrying capacity

largest number of individuals in a species that an environment can support

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