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38 terms

Ecology Vocab

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Biosphere
The entire portion of Earth inhabited by life; the sum of all the planet's ecosystems.
Ecosystem
a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment
Community
a group of interdependent organisms inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other
Population
group of individuals of the same species living in a particular area at the same time
Habitat
the place where an organism lives
Organism
any living thing
Biotic Factors
living parts of an ecosystem
Abiotic Factors
nonliving parts of an ecosystem
Niche
organism's role, or job, in its habitat
Autotrophs
organisms that make their own food
Producers
organisms that make their own food
Chemosynthesis
process by which some organisms, such as certain bacteria, use chemical energy to produce carbohydrates
Photosynthesis
process by which plants and some other organisms use light energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and high-energy carbohydrates such as sugars and starches
Biomass
the total mass of living matter in a given unit area
Consumers
an organism that obtains energy and nutrients by feeding on other organisms or their remains
Heterotrophs
consumers, they rely on other organisms for their energy and food supply
Herbivores
organisms that eat only plants
Carnivores
consumers that eat only animals
Omnivores
organisms that eats both plants and animals
Detrivores
feed on plant and animal remains
Decomposers
organisms that break down wastes and dead organisms and return raw materials to the environment
Trophic Level
each step in a food chain or food web
Food Chain
series of steps in an ecosystem in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten
Food Web
a community of organisms where there are several interrelated food chains
Ecological Pyramids
show the relative amount of energy or matter contained within each trophic level in a given food chain or food web
Energy
the ability to do work or cause change
Biogeochemical Cycles
elements, chemical compounds and other forms of matter are passed between organisms and parts of the biosphere in a cycle
Carbon/Oxygen Cycle
the process by which carbon and oxygen cycle among plants, animals, and the environment
Nitrogen Cycle
the process in which nitrogen circulates among the air, soil, water, plants, and animals in an ecosystem
Water Cycle
the continuous cycle of the transfer of water through an ecosystem, which involves evaporation, transpiration, condensation, and precipitation
Phosphorus Cycle
the cyclic movement of phosphorus in different chemical forms from the environment to organisms and then back to the environment
Ecology
the study of the interactions of living organisms with one another and with their environment
Symbiosis
a relationship in which two different organisms live in close association with each other
Homeostasis
process by which organisms maintain a relatively stable internal environment
Emigration
the movement of individuals out of a population
Immigration
movement of individuals into an area occupied by an existing population
Biodiversity
the variety of species living within an ecosystem
Exponental Growth
as population gets larger it also grows at a faster rate