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Ecology Unit

Question/TermAnswer/Definition
Biotic Factors All living organisms
Abiotic Factors Non-living factors in an environment (pH, temp., sunlight, soil)
Population A group of ONE species that live in the same environment
Community All the living organisms within an environment. Several interacting populations.
Ecosystem All the living and nonliving parts of an environment
Biosphere The EARTH
Niche An organism's JOB in an ecosystem
Habitat WHERE an organism lives
Range The area on a map where organisms live and move within
Limiting Factor Anything (biotic or abiotic) that can affect an organism's ability to survive in its habitat. (examples: temp, sun, food, predators, etc)
Autotroph Producer, or something that makes its own food by absorbing energy
Heterotroph Consumer, or something that must consume food to make energy
Herbivore Consumer that eats plants
Carnivore Consumer that eats only meat/other animals
Scavenger Consumer that searches out and eats dead animals
Omnivore Consumer that eats both plants and animals
Decomposer Consumer that breaks down dead material into simpler forms
Symbiosis Two different species living together and affecting each other in a specific way
Commensalism Symbiotic relationship where one organism benefits and the other is unaffected. Example: bird makes nest in tree
Mutualism Symbiotic relationship where both organisms benefit. Example: bee and flowers
Parasitism Symbiotic relationship where one organism benefits and the other is harmed. Example: flea on a dog
Trophic Level Each step in the food chain or a level of energy transfer
Biomass The total amount of organic matter in an ecosystem
Food Chain A simple model that shows how energy and matter move through an ecosystem
Food Web A model that shows all possible feeding relationships within a community.
Evaporation The change of liquid water to water vapor (gas).
Transpiration The release of water from plants
Condensation The change of water vapor (gas) into liquid water.
Precipitation The water released from clouds.
Photosynthesis The process of turning carbon dioxide, water, and Light energy into oxygen and sugar.
Respiration The process of turning sugar and oxygen into energy, carbon dioxide and water.
Nitrogen Fixation Bacteria changes (fixes) Nitrogen in the atmosphere into forms that other living things can use.
Biological Magnification Toxins increase or magnify as they move through a food chain.
Density Number of individuals per unit of space Example: 20 rabbits per acre of land
Immigration Movement of individuals INTO a population
Emigration Movement of individuals OUT of a population (Exiting)
Density Dependent Factors Factors that affect populations more the larger the population is in size/density. Example: Disease, Parasites, Predators (biotic factors)
Density Independent Factors Factors that affect populations regardless of the size/density. Examples: Temperature, storms, drought (abiotic factors)
Dispersion Describes how a population is spread out relative to each other.
Carrying Capacity The maximum population size that can be supported by the number of resources in an environment. There can only be as many organisms as the environment can support.
Logistic Growth S-Curve. Populations are held around carrying capacity.
Exponential Growth J-Curve. Populations grow uncontrollable, but will eventually crash when resources run out.
R-Strategists Organisms that reproduce quickly and don't live very long. Examples: Insects, bacteria, weeds
K-Strategists Organisms that reproduce more slowly, have a longer life span, and often provide parental care. Examples: Elephants, deer, lions, whales
Succession How an ecosystem changes over time with new species gradually replaces existing species.
Primary Succession Succession that starts on BARE ROCK Only after lava flow, glacier flow
Secondary Succession Succession that starts on EXISTING SOIL After forest first and natural disasters that remove everything but soil
Pioneer Organism The first organisms to show up to a new environment. LICHENS and sometimes moss help create new soil by breaking down rock.
Climax Community The final community in succession. In VA it is an oak/hickory tree forest.
Pond Succession Ponds gradually get more organisms over time, but ponds shrink in size over time
Biodiversity Having many DIFFERENT types of species. Tropical Rain forests and coral reefs contain most diversity
Producer First trophic level of a food chain/pyramid
Primary Consumer First consumer of a food chain/pyramid that feeds on producers. Usually a herbivore.
Secondary Consumer Second consumer of a food chain/pyramid that feeds on primary consumers. Omnivore or carnivore
Tertiary Consumer Third consumer of a food chain/pyramid that feeds on secondary consumers. Carnivore
Quaternary Consumer Fourth consumer of a food chain/pyramid that feeds on a third level consumer. Carnivore
Where does energy originate from for most ecosystems? Sun
Global Warming The gradual increase in Earth's temperature, often due to the increase in Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere.
Greenhouse Effect Earth's atmosphere helps trap heat by reflecting heat from the surface of the Earth back down. This helps keep Earth warm instead of heat being released into space at night.
Dead Zone Aquatic areas that have no oxygen. Therefore, no living thing can survive in it. These are created by fertilizer run-off and pollution.
Created by: Rylands