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scientific study of interactions among organisms and between organisms and their environment


a condition in a lake or other body of water that is characterized by lush phytoplanktonic growth followed by high amounts of decay in the bottom resulting in depletion of oxygen in the water column.


a region including the bottom of the sea and the littoral zones

photic zone

Portion of the marine biome that is shallow enough for sunlight to penetrate.


a moderately nutrient rich lake with moderately productive phytoplankton, between an oligotrophic lake and eutrophic lake

abiotic components

temperature, forms of energy, water, inorganic nutrients, and other chemicals

aphotic zone

deeper water that never receives sunlight


Ecosystems of several types in which vegetation is surrounded by standing water during part or most of the year


In water, a distinctive temperature transition zone that separates an upper layer that is mixed by wind (the epilimnion) and a colder, deep layer that is not mixed (the hypolimnion)


the area where a freshwater stream or river merges with the ocean


Perennially frozen layer of the soil that forms when the water there freezes. It is found in arctic tundra.

biotic components

All the organisms that are part of the environment


group of individuals of the same species that live in the same area

benthic zone

bottom of an aquatic ecosystem; consists of sand and sediment and supports its own community of organisms

intertidal zone

The narrow ocean margin between the high tide mark and the low tide mark.


a group of interdependent organisms inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other

neritic zone

area of ocean that extends from the low-tide line out to the edge of the continental shelf


collection of all the organisms that live in a particular place, together with their nonliving environment


particles of organic material that provide food for organisms at the base of an estuary's food web

oceanic zone

vast open ocean from the edge of the continental shelf outward


all the parts of the planet that are inhabited by living things; sum of all Earth's ecosystems

littoral zone

a shallow zone in a freshwater habitat where light reaches the bottom and nurtures plants


a condition of a lake or other body of water characterized by low nutrients, low productivity, and high oxygen levels in the water column.


a natural community of plants and animals, its composition being largely controlled by climatic conditions.

pelagic zone

The area of the ocean past the continental shelf, with areas of open water often reaching to very great depths.

limnetic zone

the area in a freshwater habitat that is away from the shore but still close to the surface

profundal zone

the deepest area of a large lake characterized by colder waters and lower oxygen levels

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