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Unit 6 Ecology

Ecology vocabulary

TermDefinition
abiotic factor A physical factor of the environment such as water, light, temperature, soil, air.
aquatic Of or pertaining to water.
autotroph An organism that can use the energy from the Sun or chemical reactions to make organic nutrients from inorganic materials.
biodiversity Differences and variety in the organisms and their roles in an ecosystem.
biomass pyramid A diagram in the shape of a pyramid, showing the relative mass of organisms. The mass is greatest at the producer level and lessens as it goes to the higher consumer levels.
carnivore An organism that eats other animals.
carrying capacity The maximum number of organisms that an ecosystem can support without deteriorating
community All the plant and animal populations in a given area.
conifer A plant that bears cones and has needle-like leaves.
consumer A heterotroph; an organism that cannot make its own food and must ingest (eat) organic nutrients.
deciduous trees Trees that loose their leaves.
decomposers Organisms of decay which convert organic compounds into inorganic compounds
dynamic equilibrium A balanced state of the body or a system; for example, homeostasis or a predator-prey relationship.
ecosystem The interaction of living things and their nonliving environment.
energy pyramid, pyramid of energy A diagram in the shape of a pyramid that shows the relative amount of available energy at each feeding level as you move from producers to decomposers in an ecosystem.
evolution The process of change in living things through time.
feedback A mechanism that responds to change by causing a response
food chain A series of organisms, starting with a producer, through which food energy is passed in an ecosystem.
food web A series of interconnecting food chains in an ecosystem. Arrows show the direction that energy is moving in.
herbivore A heterotroph that only feeds on plants
heterotroph An organism that cannot make its own food and therefore must ingest (eat) organic nutrients.
hibernation A state of lowered metabolic rate experienced by some animals, usually during cold weather. The animal survives on stored body fat
inorganic A compound that does not contain both carbon and hydrogen
lichen
limiting factor A nonliving, physical factor that limits the type of organisms that can exist in a particular ecosystem
organic compound A compound that contains the elements carbon and hydrogen.
population All the members of the same species living together in a given region and capable of interbreeding
producers Organisms that can use the energy from the Sun or chemical reactions to make organic nutrients from inorganic materials
recycling The process of reusing materials rather than throwing them away.
scavenger A carnivore that feeds on dead animals it finds.
secondary consumers In a food chain, carnivores that eat primary consumers or herbivores
speciation The process by which one species can evolve into two or more species because of geographic isolation
species A group of organisms that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring
succession The replacement of one type of community by another until the stable climax community is reached, which remains in place until it is destroyed by some catastrophe.
Created by: Dr. Lamont