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Ecology Vocabulary

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Symbiosis
A relationship between two different species.
Mutualism
symbiotic relationship in which both species benefit from the relationship
commensalism
symbiotic relationship in which one member of the association benefits and the other is neither helped nor harmed
parasitism
the relation between two different kinds of organisms in which one receives benefits from the other by causing damage to it (usually not fatal damage)
ecology
scientific study of interactions among organisms and between organisms and their environment
niche
organism's role, or job, in its habitat
predator
any animal that lives by preying on other animals
prey
animal hunted or caught for food
producer
an organism that makes its own food
consumer
an organism that obtains energy by feeding on other organisms
biome
group of ecosystems that have the same climate and dominant communities
tundra
a vast treeless plain in the arctic regions between the ice cap and the tree line
taiga
the largest terrestrial biome dominated by evergreen trees.
temperate forest
mild tempatured forest that are dominated by non-evergreen trees
tropical rain forest
biome near the equator with warm temperatures, wet weather, and lush plant growth
desert
an arid region with little or no vegetation
ecosystem
a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment
biosphere
the regions of the surface and atmosphere of the Earth (or other planet) where living organisms exist
Carrying Capacity
largest number of individuals of a population that a environment can support
Abiotic factor
physical, or nonliving, factor that shapes an ecosystem
biotic factor
biological influence on organisms within an ecosystem, a living part of an ecosystem
decomposers
Organisms that break down the dead remains of other organisms
omnivores
an organism that eats both plants and animals.
habitat
the type of environment in which an organism or group normally lives or occurs
limiting factor
any biotic or abiotic factor that restricts the existence, numbers, reproduction, or distribution of organisms.
food web
series of steps in an ecosystem in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten