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Chapter 3 Vocabulary

autotroph organism that is able to capture energy from sunlight or chemicals and use it to produce its own food
primary producer first producer of energy rich compounds that are later used by other organisms
photosynthesis process used by plants to produce food from sunlight
chemosynthesis process in which chemical energy is used to produce carbohydrates
heterotroph organism that obtains food by consuming other living things
consumer organism that relies on other organisms for its energy and food supply
carnivore obtains energy by eating other animals
herbivore obtains energy by eating plants
scavenger consumes carcasses of other animals
omnivore eats both plants and animals
decomposer breaks down and obtains energy from dead organic matter
detritivore organism that feeds on plant and animal remains and other dead matter
food chain a series of organisms interrelated in their feeding habits
phytoplankton photosynthetic algae found near the surface of the ocean
food web series of organisms related by predator-prey and consumer-resource interactions
zooplankton small free-floating animals that form part of plankton
trophic level each step in a food chain or food web
ecological pyramid illustration of the relative amounts of energy or matter contained within each trophic level in a given food chain or food web
biomass amount of living matter in a given habitat
biogeochemical cycle process in which elements, chemical compounds, and other forms of matter are passed from one organism to another and from one part of the biosphere to another
nutrient nourishing, providing nutrition
nitrogen fixation process of converting nitrogen gas into nitrogen compounds that plants can absorb and use
denitrification process by which bacteria convert nitrates into nitrogen gas
limiting nutrient single essential nutrient that limits productivity in an ecosystem
Created by: little_timmy