26 terms

Intro to Ecology - vocab only

Biology Chapter 3 Miller
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biosphere
consists of all life on Earth and all parts of the Earth in which life exists, including land, water, and the atmosphere
ecology
the scientific study of interactions among organisms and between organisms and their physical environment
biotic factor
biological influences; any living part of the environment with which an organism might interact, including mushrooms, plants, and bacteria
abiotic factor
physical components of an ecosystem; nonliving parts of the environment such as sunlight, heat, precipitation, humidity, wind, or water currents, soil type, etc.
autotrophs
organisms that can convert energy from sunlight or chemicals to produce their own "food"
primary producers
the first producers of energy-rich compounds that are later used by other organisms
photosynthesis
captures light energy and uses it to power chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and energy-rich carbohydrates such as sugars and starches
chemosynthesis
process of converting chemical energy into carbohydrates
heterotrophs
organisms that must rely on other organisms for energy and nutrients
consumers
another word for heterotrophs
carnivore
animals that kill and eat other animals
herbivores
animals that only eat plants
scavengers
animals which find dead animals to eat
omnivores
animals that eat both plants and animals
decomposers
includes worms, crickets, and fungus, they "feed" by breaking down dead, organic matter
detrivores
feed on detritus particles, further breaking down large particles into smaller ones; also digest the decomposers that live on, and in, detritus particles
food chain
a series of steps that details the order of organisms eating and being eaten by other organisms
phytoplankton
floating algae, Microscopic, free-floating, autotrophic organisms that function as producers in aquatic ecosystems
food web
network of feeding interactions that includes multiple intertwined food chains within an ecosystem
zooplankton
small, swimming animals, microscopic animals that swim or drift near the surface of aquatic environments
trophic level
each step found within a food chain or food web
biomass
measured in grams of organic matter per unit area
biochemical cycles
cycles of matter that involve biological processes, geological processes, and chemical processes; as matter moves through the cycles, it is transformed- never created or destroyed, just changed
nitrogen fixation
process used by certain forms of bacteria in which nitrogen gas is converted into ammonia
denitrification
process of obtaining energy by some bacteria which involves converting nitrates into nitrogen gas which is released into the atmosphere
limiting nutrient
the nutrient that is found in the shortest supply, limiting productivity of an ecosystem