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Vocabulary that will help!


biotic and abiotic surroundings to which an organism must constantly adjust; includes air, water, weather, temperature, other organisms, and many other factors

Environmental Science

the study of how humans interact with the environment


a collection of structures, cycles, and processes that relate to and interact with each other


All the organisms in a given area as well as the abiotic factors with which they interact; a community and its physical environment.


the living organisms in an ecosystem


nonliving, physical features of the environment, including air, water, sunlight, soil, temperature, and climate


person who works to reduce pollution and protect the natural environment

environmental studies

Study of the environment, including the social, political, and ethical aspects or dimensions

ecosystem services

Natural services or natural capital that support life on the earth and are essential to the quality of human life and the functioning of the world's economies.

environmental indicators

organisms or physical factors that serve as a gauge for environmental changes


the ability to meet humanities current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs


the number of different species in an area


group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring


formation of new species

background extinction rate

the average rate at which species go extinct over the long term

greenhouse gases

(Examples: H2O, CO2, O3, methane (CH4), CFC's) (EFFECT: they trap outgoing infrared (heat) energy causing earth to warm


human induced changes on the natural environment


the act of making more area of land or water more profitable or productive or useful

sustainable development

using natural resources at a rate that does not deplete them


sense of connection to nature and other forms of life

ecological footprint

The amount of biologically productive land and water needed to support a person or population.

scientific method

a method of investigation involving observation and theory to test scientific hypotheses


a tentative theory about the natural world (based on limited evidence)

null hypothesis

The hypothesis that states there is no difference between two or more sets of data.


the repetition of an experiment in order to test the validity of its conclusion

sample size

The number of subjects used in an experiment or study. Generally, the larger the better.


the quality of nearness to the truth or the true value


how close a series of measurements are to one another


being unsettled or in doubt

inductive reasoning

reasoning from specific examples to general

deductive reasoning

reasoning from the general to the specific

critical thinking

the ability and willingness to assess claims critically and to make judgments on the basis of objective and supported reasons


well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations, a tentative theory about the natural world (based on principles)

control group

in an experiment, a group that serves as a standard of comparison with another group to which the control group is identical except for one factor

natural experiment

A natural event that acts as an experimental treatment in an ecosystem.

environmental justice

recognition that access to a clean, healthy environment is a fundamental right of all human beings

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