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chapter 3

QuestionAnswer
food chain series of steps in which organisms transfer energy by eating or being eaten.
phytoplankton mixture of floating algae
food web network of complex interactions formed by feeding relationships among the various organisms in an ecosystem
zooplankton small free floating animals that form part of plankton
trophic level each step in a food chain or food web
ecological pyramid an illustration of the reduction in energy as you move through each feeding (trophic) level in an ecosystem.
biomass is fuel that is developed from organic materials, a renewable and sustainable source of energy used to create electricity or other forms of power.
biogeochemical cycle a biogeochemical cycle or substance turnover or cycling of substances is a pathway by which a chemical substance moves through both biotic (biosphere) and abiotic (lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere) compartments of Earth.
nutrient anything that nourishes a living being.
nitrogen fixation some bacteria can convert N2 into ammonia by the process termed nitrogen fixation; these bacteria are either free-living or form symbiotic associations with plants or other organisms
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
limting nutrient the plant's growth is often directly related to the amount of whichever limiting nutrient (nitrogen or phosphorus) that it is are able to get. Generally speaking, phosphorus is a limiting nutrient in freshwater systems and nitrogen is a limiting nutrient
autotroph any organism capable of self-nourishment by using inorganic materials as a source of nutrients
primary producer any green plant or any of various microorganisms that can convert light energy or chemical energy into organic matter.
photosynthesis the complex process by which carbon dioxide, water, and certain inorganic salts are converted into carbohydrates
chemosynthisis the synthesis of organic compounds within an organism, with chemical reactions providing the energy source.
heterotroph an organism requiring organic compounds for its principal source of food.
consumer a person or thing that consumes.
carnivor an animal that eats flesh.
herbivore plant eating animal
scavenger an animal or other organism that feeds on dead organic matter.
omniver eats a variety of foods
decomposer an organism, usually a bacterium or fungus, that breaks down the cells of dead plants and animals into simpler substances.
detrivore an organism that uses organic waste as a food source, as certain insects.
Created by: troylauppe1