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Unit 9A Honors

Food Chains/Webs/Energy Pyramids

food chain A single, linear path showing the flow of energy from the sun to producers and through different levels of consumers.
food web Overlapping food chains with different pathways for the flow of food energy in the same ecosystem.
trophic level The position an organism occupies in the food web.
producer An organism that makes complex, energy containing biomolecules from simple inorganic molecules using energy captured from light or inorganic chemical compounds.
consumer An organism that must consume other organisms for nutrients.
herbivore An organism that consumes only plants.
carnivore An animal that eats other animals.
omnivore An organism that consumes both animals and plants.
parasite An organism that survives on a host organism and causes harm to the host.
host An organism upon or within which another organism lives.
predator An animal that lives by killing and eating other animals.
prey An animal that is eaten by another animal.
aquatic ecosystem An ecosystem that is located in a body of fresh or salt water.
terrestrial ecosystem An ecosystem that is found on land.
marine ecosystem An ecosystem found in oceans, seas, and gulfs where the water has a salt content of at least 3.5%.
freshwater ecosystem An ecosystem found in streams, lakes, and rivers where the water has less than 1% salt content.
autotroph An organism that obtains its nutrition from simple, inorganic compounds.
heterotroph An organism that must use other organisms for food, such as animals.
energy pyramid A diagram that shows the trophic levels of organisms in a food web.
decomposer An organism such as bacteria and fungi that breaks down the remains of dead organisms without need for internal digestion.
scavenger An organism that eats dead and decaying organisms and uses internal digestion to get the energy. (carnivores, insects, birds, many sea creatures)
organic molecule a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon and (in addition to carbon) H, O, N, P, S
macromolecule a very large molecule, such as protein, commonly created by chemically connecting smaller compounds; often composed of thousands of atoms.
zooplankton Heterotrophic plankton drifting in oceans, seas, or fresh water, often microscopic. Some grow up to be larger organisms.
phytoplankton Autotrophic plankton drifting in oceans, seas, or fresh water. Sometimes called microalgae, they are buoyant to stay in the parts of the water where there is sun.
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