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Ch 50-55 in the AP Biology Textbook. For Mrs Caruk's Ecology Test.


the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and the environment






all organisms


the geographic range (of a species, population, etc.)

organismal ecology

how an organism's structure, physiology, and behavior meet challenges in the environment


a group of individuals of the same species living in a particular geographic area

population ecology

concentrates on factors that affect how many in a species live in a certain area


all of the organism of all the species that inhabit a particular area

community ecology

the whole array of interacting species in a community studied


all the abiotic factors plus the entire community of species in a certain area

ecosystem ecology

studies the energy flow and chemical cycling among both abiotic and biotic pieces

landscape ecology

arrays of ecosystems and their arrangement in a geographic region


an environmental characteristic in which a region is made up of several patches, or types of environment


the global ecosystem; the sum of all Earth's ecosystems

precautionary principle

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."


the past and present distribution of individual species, in the context of evolutionary theory

biogeographic realms

Neartic (North America), Neotropical (Central and South America), Ethiopian (Southern Africa), Palearctic (Northern Africa, Middle East, Asia), Oriental (Southern Asia, Indonesia), Australian (Australia)


the movement of individuals away from centers of high population or from their area of origin

biotic factors

Living factors- predation, parasitism, disease, competition

abiotic factors

Nonliving factors- temperature, water, sunlight, wind, rocks, soil, climate


the lengths of daytime and nighttime


the prevailing weather conditions in a particular area
Factors: Temperature, Water, Sunlight, Wind


patterns on the global, regional, or local levels


very fine patterns, like in the community under a fallen log


the regions that lie between 23.5 degrees north and 23.5 degrees south, where the sunlight strikes most directly


the shortest and longest days of the year


the two days of the year when there are 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness


brings oxygenated water from lake's surface to bottom and nutrient-rich water from bottom to surface during spring and autumn


major types of ecological associations that occupy broad geographic regions of land or water

photic zone

the layer of a body of water that has sufficient light for photosynthesis

aphotic zone

the layer of a body of water where little light penetrates

benthic zone

the bottom, the substrate


organisms that inhabit the benthic zone


dead organic matter, benthos food source


strip of water that separates the warmer top parts from the frigid bottom


lakes that are nutrient poor and oxygen rich


lakes that are nutrient rich and oxygen poor

littoral zone

the part of a lake that is shallow, well-lit, and close to shore

limnetic zone

lake that is further from shore


an area covered with water for long enough to support aquatic plants


develops in a shallower, basinlike area


wetlands along riverbanks


wetlands at the coast of large lakes, seas, and oceans


a wetland that contains woody plants


a wetland with mosses and other plants


a transition between river and sea, mixing salt and fresh water

inter-tidal zones

periodically submerged and uncovered by the tides

oceanic pelagic

a vast realm of open blue water


a plot of the temperature and precipitation in a particular region


the levels of a region or biomes (ex. forest layers)


the blurred lines between biomes

ecological equivalents

similar organisms in the same biome bur different realms, caused by convergent evolution

behavioral ecology

studies how animal behavior is controlled, how it develops, evolves, and contributes to survival and reproductive success


the visible result of an animal's muscular activity- also includes some nonmuscular activity and learning

proximate questions

focus on environmental stimuli that trigger behavior, as well as the genetic, physiological, and anatomical mechanisms underlying a behavioral act

ultimate questions

focus on the evolutionary significance of a behavior


the scientific study of how animals behave

fixed action pattern (FAP)

a sequence of unlearned behaviors that is essentially unchangeable and, once initiated, is usually carried to completion

sign stimulus

an external sensory stimulus that triggers a FAP


a type of behavior that includes both learning an innate components and is generally irreversible

sensitive period

a limited phase in an animal's development that is the only time when certain behaviors can be learned

innate behavior

behavior that is developmentally fixed, under strong genetic influence


a simple change in activity or turning rate in response to a stimulus


a more of less automatic, oriented movement toward or away from some stimulus


a behavior that causes a change in another animal's behavior


the transmission of, reception of, and response to signals


chemical substances, often related to reproductive behavior, but not always


the modification of behavior based on specific experiences


a loss of responsiveness to stimuli that convey little or no information

spatial learning

a modification of behavior based on experience with the spatial structure of the environment


a location indicator

cognitive map

an internal representation/code of the spatial relationships between objects in an animal's surroundings

associative learning

the ability of many animals to associate one feature of the environment with another

classical conditioning

when an arbitrary stimulus is associated with a reward or punishment

operant conditioning

trial-and-error learning


the ability of an animal's nervous system to perceive, store, process, and use information gathered by sensory receptors

cognitive ethology

the study of animal cognition, studies connections between animal behavior and their nervous system


behavior associated with recognizing, searching for, capturing, and consuming food

optimal foraging theory

foraging behavior is a compromise between the benefits of nutrition and the costs of obtaining food


mating with no strong pair bonds or lasting relationships


mating one male, one female, longer relationship


still longer relationship, but an individual of one sex mating with several of the other sex


one male, several females


one female, several males

agonistic behavior

a ritualized contest that determines which competitor gains access to a resource (food/mates)

game theory

evaluates alternative strategies where the outcome does not depend on each individual's strategy, but also other individuals' strategies


selflessness, when an animal behaves in such a way that their individual fitness decreases but other individuals' fitness increases

inclusive fitness

the total effect an individual has on proliferating its genes by producing its own offspring and by providing aid that enables other close relatives to produce offspring

coefficient of relatedness

the probability that if two individuals share a common parent or ancestor, a particular gene present in one individual will will also be present in a second individual

Hamilton's Rule

an inequality that states in the (coefficient of relatedness)(benefit to the recipient)>(cost to the altruist), an altruistic act is worth it for the animal

kin selection

the natural selection that favors this kind of altruistic behavior by enhancing reproductive success of relatives

reciprocal altruism

when animals behave altruistically toward others who are not relatives


individuals are likely to meet again, likely to be negative consequences associated with not returning favors who have been helpful in the past


an individual treats another in the same way it was treated the last time they met

social learning

learning through observing others


a system of information transfer through the social learning or teaching that influences the behavior of individuals in a population

mate choice copying

individuals in a population copy the mate choice of others


certain behavioral characteristics exist because they are expressions of genes that have been perpetuated by natural selection


the number of individuals per unit area or volume


the pattern of spacing among individuals within the boundaries of the population

mark-recapture method

place traps, tag individuals, wait a few days/weeks (in which tagged individuals mix with population), wet out traps again, estimate due to number of marked and unmarked


influx of new individuals from other areas


the movement of individuals out of a population

clumped dispersion

individuals aggregate in patches

uniform dispersion

evenly spaced


the defense of a bounded physical space against encroachment by other individuals

random dispersion

unpredictable spacing


the study of the vital statistics of populations and how they exist over time

life tables

age-specific summaries of the survival pattern of a population


a group of individuals of the same age

survivorship curve

a plot of the proportion or numbers in a cohort still alive at each age

reproductive table

(fertility table) an age specific summary of the reproductive rates in a population

life history

made up of the traits that affect an organism's schedule of reproduction and survival

big-bang reproduction/semelparity

one shot, mature for a few years, spawn, produce thousands of eggs, then die

iteroparity/repeated reproduction

continued reproductive acts after maturity

per capita birthrate

the number of offspring produced per unit time by an average member of the population

change in population size equation

change in population size /change in time= number of births-number of deaths

per capita death rate

the number of deaths in a population per unit time

zero population growth

per capita birth and death rates are equal

exponential population growth

population increase under ideal conditions

exponential population growth equation

change in population/change in time= intrinsic rate of increase*population size

intrinsic rate of increase

the per capita rate is the maximum rate for the species

carrying capacity

(K) the maximum population size that a particular environment can support

logistic population growth

shows that per capita rate of increase declines as carrying capacity is reached

logistic population growth equation

change in population/change in time=intrinsic rate of increasepopulation((carrying capacity-population size)/carrying capacity)


selection for life history traits that are sensitive to population density, density dependent selection


selection for life history traits that maximize reproductive success, density independent selection

density independent

a term that indicates that a certain birth or death rate does not change iwth population density

density dependent

a death rate that rises when population density rises or a birth rate that falls when population density rises

population dynamics

a study that focuses on the complex interactions between biotic and abiotic factors that causes variation in population size


when a group of populations is linked

demographic transition

the movement from the first toward the second state of zero population growth

age structure

the relative number of individuals of each age

infant mortality

the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births

life expectancy at birth

the predicted average length of life at birth

ecological footprint

summarizes the aggregate land and water area appropriated by each nation to produce all the resources it consumes and to absorb all the waste it generates

ecological capacity

the actual resource base of each country

interspecific interactions

interactions between an organism and other species in the community

interspecific competition

when species compete for a particular resource that is in short supply

competitive exclusion

strong competition leads to the local elimination of one of the two competing species

ecological niche

the sum total of a species' use of the biotic and abiotic resources in its environment

competitive exclusion principle

two species competing for the same limiting resources

fundamental niche

the niche potentially occupied by a species

realized niche

the niche a species actually occupies in a particular environment

resource partitioning

the differentiation of niches that enables similar species to coexist in a community

character displacement

the tendency for characteristics to be more divergent in sympatric populations of two species than in allopatric population of the same two species


a +/- interaction between species in which one species, the predator, kills and eats the other, the prey

cryptic coloration


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