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Biology HSA Q4

Evolution & Ecology

TermDefinition
species a group of organisms that can interbreed to produce fertile offspring
variation differences among members of the same species
inheritable characteristic a trait that can be passed on to any offspring of the organism
natural selection process in which organisms best suited to their environment as a result of favorable characteristics survive and reproduce
overproduction most organisms produce more offspring than are able to survive
adaptation a trait that improves an organism's chance for survival and reproduction
extinction the end of a species
evolution the process of change over time
kingdom large, broad categories that group living things by the structure of their cells
prokaryote organism with cell that lacks a membrane-bound nucleus or organelles
eukaryote organism with cells that contain a nucleus and membrane-bound organelles
fossil preserved remains of an organism that lived many years ago
homologous structures similar structures that began from a common ancestor; provide evidence of close evolutionary relationship
DNA fingerprint DNA fragments separated according to size, may give information about how closely related organisms are
ecology the study of the interactions among living things and their environment
abiotic factors physical factors in an ecosystem; not alive; light, water, weather, soil
biotic factors factors in an ecosystem that are alive; all of the living things in an ecosystem
ecosystem a collection of organisms and their relationships with the biotic and abiotic factors that affect their lives
symbiosis a permanent relationship between two different organisms
mutualism both organisms benefit in this symbiotic relationship
commensalism one organism benefits, the other is unaffected in this symbiotic relationship
parasitism one organism benefits and the other (host) is harmed
predator an animal that feeds on another animal
prey the animal that is killed and eaten by a predator
niche an organism's role in the environment
producers organisms capable of making own food; plants
consumers organisms that eat other organisms to obtain food
herbivores organisms that eat only plants
carnivores organisms that eat only animals
omnivores organisms that eat both plant and animals
scavenger organisms that feed off other organisms that have already been killed or have died
decomposers organisms that break down the remains of dead organisms
food chain describes the flow of energy from producers to consumers to decomposers
food web interconnected food chains
ecological succession when one community is entirely replaced by another
climax community the final community that results from ecological succession; diverse, stable and in balance with the environment
pioneer species the first group of plants to appear in a bare region
population all of the members of the same species that inhabit a specific area
limiting factors environmental factors that limit the size of a population
Created by: plaun