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chapter 18 vocab

introduction to ecology

TermDefinition
abiotic factor an environmental factor that is not associated with the activities of living organisms
ammonification the formation of ammonia compounds in the soil by the action of bacteria on decaying matter
biosphere the part f the earth where life exists; includes all of the living organisms on earth
biotic factor an environmental factor that is associated with or results from the activities of living organisms
biomass any organic material that has been produced in an ecosystem
biogeochemical cycle the circulation of substances through living organisms from or to the environment
community a group of various species that live in the same habitat and interact with each other
acclimation an organisms change in response to a change in the organisms environment
consumer an organism that eats other organisms or organic matter instead of producing its own nutrients or obtaining nutrients from inorganic sources
chemosynthesis the production of carbohydrates through the use of energy from inorganic molecules instead of light
carnivore an organism that eats animals
carbon cycle the movement of carbon from the nonliving environment into living things and back
dormancy a state in which seeds spores bulbs and other reproductive organs stop growth and development and reduce the metabolism especially respiration
detritivore a consumer that feeds on dead organisms or on the parts or wastes of other organisms
decomposer an organism that feeds by breaking down organic matter from dead organisms; examples include bacteria and fungi
denitrification the liberation of nitrogen from nitrogen containing compounds by bacteria in the soil
ecology the study of the interactions between organisms and other living and nonliving components of their environment
ecological model a model that represents or describes the relationships between the components of an ecological system
ecosystem a community of organisms and their abiotic environment
food chain the pathway of energy transfer through various stages as a result of the feeding patterns of a series of organisms
food web a diagram that shows the feeding relationships among organisms in an ecosystem
gross primary productivity the rate at which organic matter is assimilated by plants and other producers during a period of time over a certain area
ground water the water that is beneath the earth's surface
habitat the place where an organism usually lives
herbivore an organism that only eats plants
interdependence the dependence of every organism on its connections with other living and nonliving parts of its envrionment
migration in general, any movement of individuals or populations from one location to another; specifically as periodic group movement that is characteristic of a given population or species
niche the unique position occupied by a species both in terms of its physical use of its habitat and its function within an ecological community
net primary productivity the rate at which biomass accumulates in an ecosystem
nitrogen cycle the process in which nitrogen circulates among the air, soil, water, plants and animals in an ecosystem
nitrogen fixtation the process by which gaseous nitrogen is converted into nitrates compounds that organisms can use to make amino acids and other nitrogen- containing organic molecules
nitrogen fixing bacteria a bacterium that converts atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia
nitrification the process by which nitrites and nitrates are produced by bacteria in the soil
omnivore an organism that eats a variety of other organisms including animals and plants
population a group of organisms of the same species that live in a specific geographical area and interbreed
producer an organism that can make organic molecules from inorganic molecules; a photosynthetic or chemosynthetic autotroph that serves as the basic food sources in an ecosystem
phosphorus cycle the cyclic movement of phophorus in different chemical forms from the environment to organisms and then back to the environment
tolerance curve a graph of the performance of an organism versus the value of an environmental variable
trophic level an organisms relative position in a sequence of energy transfers in a food chain or food pyramid, examples include producers and primary, secondary and tertiary consumers
transpiration the process by which plants release water vapor into the air through stomata; also the release of water vapor into the air by other organisms
water cycle the continuous movement of water between the atmosphere, the land, and the oceans
Created by: campbellm19