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Vocab

Chapter 3 vocab

TermDefinition
autotroph an organism that is able to form nutritional organic substances from simple inorganic substances such as carbon dioxide.
primary producer The base of the food train.
photosynthesis the process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. Photosynthesis in plants generally involves the green pigment chlorophyll and generates oxygen as a byproduct.
chemosynthesis the synthesis of organic compounds by bacteria or other living organisms using energy derived from reactions involving inorganic chemicals, typically in the absence of sunlight.
heterotroph an organism deriving its nutritional requirements from complex organic substances.
consumer a person or thing that eats or uses something.
carnivore A meat eating animal.
herbivore a plant eating animal.
scavenger an animal that feeds on carrion, dead plant material, or refuse
omnivore An animal that eats both meat and plants
decomposer an organism that decomposes organic material.
detritivore an animal that feeds on dead organic material.
food chain a hierarchical series of organisms each dependent on the next as a source of food
phytoplankton plankton consisting of microscopic plants
food web a system of interlocking and interdependent food chains.
zooplankton plankton consisting of small animals and the immature stages of larger animals.
trophic level each of several hierarchical levels in an ecosystem, comprising organisms that share the same function in the food chain and the same nutritional relationship to the primary sources of energy
ecological pyramid a graphical representation designed to show the biomass or bio productivity at each trophic level in a given ecosystem.
biomass
biogeochemical cycle a pathway by which a chemical substance moves through both biotic (biosphere) and abiotic (lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere) compartments of Earth.
nutrient a substance that provides nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life
nitrogen fixation the chemical processes by which atmospheric nitrogen is assimilated into organic compounds, especially by certain microorganisms as part of the nitrogen cycle.
denitrification a microbially facilitated process of nitrate reduction (performed by a large group of heterotrophic facultative anaerobic bacteria) that may ultimately produce molecular nitrogen (N2) through a series of intermediate gaseous nitrogen oxide products.
limiting nutrient at any given time, one or the other of these nutrients may be the hardest nutrient for a plant to acquire and therefore be the only nutrient that is limiting the plant's growth.
Created by: Charliemonster