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Chapters are titled "The Dynamic Earth"(Ch.3) and "The Organization of Life" (Ch. 4)


a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment

biotic factor

a living part of an ecosystem

Abiotic factors

nonliving parts of an ecosystem


an individual living thing


group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring


all the members of one species in a particular area


a group of various species that live in the same place and interact with each other


the place an organism lives

natural selection

process by which individuals that are better suited to their environment survive and reproduce most successfully; also called survival of the fittest


change in the genetic characteristics of a population from one generation to the next


an inherited trait that increases an organism's chance of survival and reproduction in a certain environment

artificial selection

the selective breeding of organisms by humans for specific characteristics


the ability of one or more organisms to tolerated a particular chemical designed to kill it.


single celled; lack cell nuclei; reproduce by dividing in half; often found in harsh environments; e.g - methanogens


single celled; lack cell nuclei; reproduce by dividing half; incredibly common; e.g - blue-green algae


an organism whose cells have nuclei and cell walls.
absorb their food through body surface; have cell walls; most live on land


diverse group of one-celled organisms and their many celled relatives. They are often classified as plant-like, animal-like, and fungus-like. most live in water. Malaria is a protist


woody plants that produce seeds, but their seeds are not enclosed in fruits


a flowering plant that produces seeds within a fruit


animals that lack backbones


animals that have backbones


the solid part of the Earth that consists of all rock, and the soils and sediments on Earth's surface


Earth's thin outer layer composed almost entirely of light elements


the layer of the earth between the crust and the core


Earth's innermost layer composed of the densest elements


Earth's outer layer that is cool and rigid and includes the crust and uppermost part of the mantle. It is made up of tectonic plates.


the layer beneath the lithosphere and mesosphere; tectonic plates rest on it

tectonic plates

Sections of the Earth's lithosphere that rest on top and glide across the underlying asthenosphere


condition in which the earth's surface is worn away by the action of water and wind


the envelope of gases surrounding any celestial body


the layer closest to Earth, where almost all weather occurs; the thinnest layer


the layer of the atmosphere that lies between the troposphere and the mesosphere and in which temperature increases as altitude increases; contains the ozone layer


a form of oxygen that has three oxygen atoms in each molecule instead of two. protects us from dangerous ultraviolet radiation from the sun


transfer of energy across space


heat transfer by direct contact


the transfer of heat by air currents

greenhouse effect

the process in which gases trap heat near the Earth

water cycle

the continuous process by which water moves from Earth's surface to the atmosphere and back


the process by which water changes from liquid form to an atmospheric gas


the process in which water vapor forms water droplets on dust particles


the falling to earth of any form of water (rain or snow or hail or sleet or mist)


the relative proportion of salt in a solution

fresh water

water that contains insignificant amounts of salts, as in rivers and lakes


Thin zone of the earth that supports all life

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