26 terms

bio chap 3 vocab - ecology

scientific study of interactions among organisms and between organisms and their environment
part of the earth in which life exists including land, water, and air or atmosphere
group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring
group of individuals of the same species that live in the same area
assemblage of different populations that live together in a defined area
collection of all the organisms that live in a particular place, together with their nonliving environment
group of ecosystems that have the same climate and similar dominant communities
process my which some organisms use chemical energy to produce carbohydrates
organism that relies on other organisms for its energy and food supply; also called a heterotroph
organism that obtains energy by eating only plants
organism that obtains energy by eating animals
organism that obtains energy by eating both plants and animals
organism that feeds on plant and animal remains and other dead matter
food chain
series of steps in an ecosystem in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten
food web
network of complex interactions formed by the feeding relationships among the various organisms in an ecosystem
trophic level
step in a food chain or food web
energy pyramid
diagram that shows the relative amounts of energy or matter within each trophic level in a food chain or food web
biomass pyramid
a graphical representation designed to show the biomass or biomass productivity at each trophic level in a given ecosystem
water cycle
cycle of processes by which water circulates between the earth's oceans, atmosphere, and land, involving precipitation as rain and snow, drainage in streams and rivers, and return to the atmosphere by evaporation and transpiration
carbon cycle
series of processes by which carbon compounds are interconverted in the environment, chiefly involving the incorporation of carbon dioxide into living tissue by photosynthesis and its return to the atmosphere through respiration, the decay of dead organisms, and the burning of fossil fuels
nitrogen cycle
series of processes by which nitrogen and its compounds are interconverted in the environment and in living organisms, including nitrogen fixation and decomposition
process by which water changes from a liquid into an atmospheric gas
loss of water from a plant through its leaves
nitrogen fixation
process of converting nitrogen gas into ammonia
limiting nutrient
single nutrient that either is scarce or cycles very slowly, limiting the growth of organisms in an ecosystem
algal bloom
an immediate increase in the amount of algae and other producers that results from a large input of a limiting nutrient