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Ecology Bruton Unit2

Vocabulary for Ecology

ecology the study of the relationships between organisms and their surroundings
niche the role/job/place an organism fills in its environment
biotic factors living things that have an impact on an ecosystem (trees, animals, seeds, bacteria)
abiotic factors nonliving things in an ecosystem (temperature, water, oxygen)
population all the members of the same species within an area
community all the living organisms making up an ecosystem
ecosystem a portion of the earth defined by its living and nonliving components
biosphere the thin layer near the surface of the earth that supports life
symbiosis a close ongoing relationship between members of different species
mutualism a symbiotic relationship in which both organisms benefit
parasitism a symbiotic relationship in which one organism benefits and one is harmed
commensalism a symbiotic relationship in which one organism benefits and one is unaffected (may actually be a beginning of a relationship that will become mutualism or parasitism)
carrying capacity the ideal number of organisms an ecosystem can support indefinitely
steady state are of the logistic growth curve when a population averages zero growth due to the up and down fluctuations around the carrying capacity
host the organism fed on by the parasite
predation an interaction between species in which one species uses another as food
predator the organism that hunts for and kills it food
prey the organism hunted and killed by the predator for food
limiting factors anything that can negatively impact the growth or distribution of a population
density dependent limiting factor things that affect a population more when the population becomes more dense/crowded (food, disease, stress, fighting, space)
density independent limiting factor things that affect a population regardless of its size/density (forest fires, floods, hurricanes)
exponential growth rapid upward growth of a population due to plentiful resources and abundant organisms that can reproduce (J shaped graph)
logistic growth curve S shaped graph that shows the normal growth of a population
Intraspecies competition competition between members of the same species (ex. two deer fighting for the same mate)
Interspecies competition competition between members of different species (ex. Foxes and Coyotes)
Competitive Exclusion when two species are in competition (occupying the same niche), both cannot exist indefinitely
trophic level an energy or feeding level in an ecosystems food web
Law of 10% amount of energy stored at each trophic level. 90% of the energy obtained is used for the daily activities of the organism or lost as heat
Consumer organisms that must take in food for energy
Reintroduction the attempt to return a species to an ecosystem it once inhabited
Nonnative or Exotic Species species introduced to an ecosystem that do not belong or have not lived there in the past
Autotroph organisms that can produce their own energy from inorganic substances through photosynthesis or chemosynthesis
Heterotroph another name for a Consumer. They must take in food for energy.
Producers another name for an Autotroph. They produce their own energy from inorganic substances through photosynthesis or chemosynthesis
herbivore organisms that feed only on plants (also called Primary Consumer)
omnivore organisms that feed on both plants and animals
carnivore organisms that feed only on meat (Can be a Secondary or Tertiary Consumer)
scavenger organisms that feed on dead organisms that they did not kill
decomposer organisms that break down dead organisms into simpler molecules
nitrogen fixation nitrogen is removed from the air by bacteria and converted into a form in the soil that can be used by plants
carbon cycle the cycling of carbon between the atmosphere, organism, and the ground.
acid rain precipitation that contains acids produced from the nitrogen and sulfur contained in pollution.
biological accumulation/ biological magnification a chemical that cannot be processed from the tissues of organisms. Increases with each trophic level. The same amount of the chemical is present but there are less organisms at the upper trophic levels so the chemical has a greater affect (DDT, Mercury)
greenhouse effect carbon dioxide holding in the earth’s heat causing global warming
deforestation removal of vegetation. May contribute to global warming due to plants not being able to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
environmental stewardship responsible use and protection of the natural environment and resources though conservation and sustainable practices. (don't litter, control pollution, etc)
Sustainable Practices activities that conserve and protect nonrenewable resources (recycling, turning off lights, etc)
global warming rising of the average earth temperature due to an increase in Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere
Ozone molecule in the atmosphere that protects the each from Ultraviolet Radiation (does not affect global warming)
ozone depletion lose of ozone from the atmosphere due to the use of CFC’s in aerosol sprays. Ozone protects the earth from Ultraviolet radiation.
habitat destruction loss of the living areas of organisms due to deforestation, habitat fragmentation, and other human activities. Loss of habitat is the number one threat to biodiversity.
Biodiversity a wide variety of organisms in an ecosystem
fossil fuels coal, oil, and natural gas that are burned as fuel contributing to increases in carbon in the atmosphere and global warming
nitrogen element that increases the growth of plants. Too much can cause excessive plant growth resulting in animal kills especially in rivers and lakes. (Nitrogen in Hog Manure)
Runoff water that cannot seep into the ground and runs across the surface of the earth. Creates erosion issues. Urban development creates impermeable surfaces and increases runoff.
Resource anything necessary for the survival of a species including food, water, shelter, space, etc
Created by: scottbruton