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Integrated Life Science Unit 4

Vocab for Unit 4, fall 2011
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Virus
an extremely small organism which causes disease in humans, animals and plants
Protein Coat
The substance that PROTECTS a virus's genetic material and helps it get inside a cell:
Nucleic Acid
an organic compound, either RNA or DNA, whose molecules are made up of one or two chains of nucleotides and carry genetic information
Sporadic Disease
Disease that occurs occasionally in a population
Endemic Disease
a disease that is constantly present to a greater or lesser degree in people of a certain class or in people living in a particular location
Epidemic
a widespread outbreak of an infectious disease
Pandemic
an epidemic that is geographically widespread
Pathogen
any disease-producing agent (especially a virus or bacterium or other microorganism)
Symbiosis
the relation between two different species of organisms that are interdependent
Mutualism
the relation between two different species of organisms that are interdependent
Commensalism
the relation between two different kinds of organisms when one receives benefits from the other without damaging it
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)
Competition
the act of competing as for profit or a prize
Predation
the act of preying by a predator who kills and eats the prey
Binary Fission
a form of asexual reproduction in single-celled organisms by which one cell divides into two cells of the same size
Exotoxin
a toxin that is secreted by microorganisms into the surrounding medium
Endotoxin
a toxin that is confined inside the microorganisms and is released only when the microorganisms are broken down or die
Decomposer
organism that breaks down and obtains energy from dead organic matter
Mycorrhizae
symbiotic relationships between fungal hyphae and plant roots
Ecology
the branch of biology concerned with the relations between organisms and their environment
Biotic
of or relating to living organisms
Abiotic
non-living
Population distribution
how population is spread out in an area
Population density
number of individuals per unit area
Population ecology
The study of populations in relation to the environment, including environmental influences on population density and distribution, age structure, and variations in population size.
Reproductive Strategies
evolutionary effects on systems of mating and rearing offspring; these need not be conscious strategies
Age Structure Pyramids
graphical representations of populations' ages.
Fertility rates
a measure of population growth through reproduction; often expressed as the average number of births per 1,000 people in the total population or the average number of children a woman would be expected to have
Community
(ecology) a group of interdependent organisms inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other
Habitat
the type of environment in which an organism or group normally lives or occurs
Niche
(ecology) the status of an organism within its environment and community (affecting its survival as a species)
Diversity
the condition or result of being changed
Richness
the property of a sound that has a rich and pleasing timbre
Evenness
the quality of being balanced
Interspecific competition
in a community competition for resources between members of different species
Exclusion
the act of forcing out someone or something
Resource Partitioning
in a biological community various populations sharing environmental resources through specialization thereby reducing direct competition
Coevolution
process by which two species evolve in response to changes in each other
Parasite
an animal or plant that lives in or on a host (another animal or plant)
Parasitoid
insects lay their eggs in hosts (often paralyzed), young hatch, eat host alive
Keystone Species
a species whose impact on its community or ecosystem are much larger and more influential than would be expected from mere abundance
Ecosystem
a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment
Energy Flow
The passage of energy through the components of an ecosystem
Carbon Cycle
the organic circulation of carbon from the atmosphere into organisms and back again
Nitrogen cycle
the circulation of nitrogen
Nitrogen Fixation
the assimilation of atmospheric nitrogen by soil bacteria and its release for plant use on the death of the bacteria
Phosphorous Cycle
the cyclic movement of phosphorus in different chemical forms from the environment to organisms and then back to the environment
Water Cycle
the continuous process by which water moves from Earth's surface to the atmosphere and back
Trophic Levels
The hierarchical levels of the food chain through which energy flows from primary producers to primary consumers, secondary consumers and so on.
Bioaccumulation
the selective absorption and concentration of molecules by cells
Ecosystem Services
Important environmental benefits, such as clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and fertile soil in which to grow crops, that ecosystems provide
Habitat Destruction
the loss of a natural habitat
Fragmentation
separating something into fine particles
Invasive Species
plants and animals that have migrated to places where they are not native
Overexploitation
exploitation to the point of diminishing returns
Deforestation
the removal of trees
Desertification
the gradual transformation of habitable land into desert
Climate Change
a change in the world's climate
Greenhouse effect
warming that results when solar radiation is trapped by the atmosphere
Greenhouse Gas
a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation
Ecological Footprint
The amount of biologically productive land and water needed to support a person or population.
Carbon Footprint
measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide
Sustainability
The ability to keep in existence or maintain. A sustainable ecosystem is one that can be maintained
Vampire Power
Things that are still using power even when you're away and not using them