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ecosystem The living and non-living parts of the environment in a specific area. (Ecosystems can be really small or really large!)
ecology The study of how living things are related each other and to their natural environment.
Environment Everything that surrounds an organism and influences it. The study of how living things are related each other and to their natural environment.
Biotic Factors The living parts of an ecosystem such as plants and animals.
Abiotic Factors The non-living parts of an ecosystem such as soil, climate and rainfall.
Organism A living thing.
Consumer An organism that feeds on other organisms because it cannot make its own food.
Producer An organism that can make its own food through the process of photosynthesis.
Decomposers A consumer that breaks down the tissues of dead organisms as food.
Herbivore A consumer that only eats plants.
Carnivore A consumer that only eats animals
Omnivore A consumer that eats both plants and animals.
Predator An organism that eats other organisms to live.
Prey The organism that gets eaten.
Decomposistion The breaking down of an organism back into nature.
Germinate The process of a seed beginning to sprout or beginning to grow into a plant.
Habitat The physical place where an organism lives.
Interdependance The relationship between plants and animals in an ecosystem.
Niche The position of an organism in a community of plants and animals.
Photosynthesis The chemical process where plants make their own food.
Adapt To change in order to fit a new situation.
Balance Equilibrium in an ecosystem
Population A group of the same type of organisms living in an area.
Community The interaction of all organisms (more than one population) living in an area.
food chain A picture that shows how each organism gets energy.
food web A system of food chains.
primary consumer Gets energy from plants (herbivores)
secondary consumer Gets every from primary consumers (omnivores and carnivores)
tertiary consumer Gets energy from secondary consumers (carnivores)
aquatic ecosystem Includes freshwater areas, estuaries (mixture of salt and freshwater), and marine areas
marine ecosystem Includes ocean and sea areas; high salt content
freshwater ecosystem Includes streams, rivers, lakes, marshes and swamps; low salt levels
terrestrial ecosystem Land areas
biome Complex ecological community that extends over a large area; consists of many ecosystems
deciduous Trees that lose leaves in the autumn/fall
nutrients Substance required to nourish an organism
Eutrophication Increased nutrients in an ecosystem (ex: too much fertilizer)
pollutant Substance with damaging effects on the environment (ex: acid rain, over-fertilization, road salt)