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PSSA science terms

Science Glossary terms

Abiotic A nonliving factor or element
Acid Deposition Precipitation with a pH less than 5.6 that forms in the atmosphere when certain pollutants mix with water vapor
Allele Any set of possible forms of a gene
Biochemical conversion The changing of organic matter into other chemical forms
Biological diversity The variety and complexity of species present and interacting in an ecosystem and the relative abundance of each
Biomass conversion The changing of organic matter that has been produced by photosynthesis into useful liquid gas or fuel
biomes A community of living organisms of a single major ecological region
biotechnology the ways that humans apply biological concepts to produce products and provide services
biotic an environmental factor related to or produced by living organisms
composting the process of mixing decaying leaves, manure and other nutritive matter to improve and fertilize soil
consumer the organisms that obtain energy by feeding on other organisms and their remains
decomposer an organism, including fungi and rodents, that obtain nutrients by consuming dead organic matter
delineate to trace the outline; to draw; to sketch; to depict or picture
dichotomous divided into two parts or classification
ecosystem a community of living organisms and their interrelated physical and chemical environment
endangered species a species that is in danger of extinction
environment the total of one's surroundings including plants or animals, climate and location
enzyme a protein that acts as an organic catalyst
evolution a process of change that explains why what we see today is different from what existed in the past
extinction the complete elimination of a species
fact information that has been objectively verified
geology the study of earth's mineral
groundwater water that infiltrates the soil and is located in the underground reservoirs called aquifers
homeostasis the tendency for a system to remain in a state of equilibrium
hydrology the study of water
hypothesis an educated guess; an assertion subject to verification
inquiry a systematic process for using knowledge and skills to acquire and apply new knowledge
law summarizing statement of observed experimental facts that has been tested MANY times and is generally accepted as true
lentic relating to or living in still water
lotic relating to or living in actively moving water
mitosis a process of cell division that follows a series of steps and results in a replicated chromosome
model a representation of something to aid in understanding
niche the role played by an organism in an ecosystem
nonrenewable resources substances (oil, gold, copper, gas) that once used, cannot be replaced
nova a star that increases in intensity for a brief period of time
pest a label applied to an organism when it is in competition with humans for some resources
radioactive isotope an atom that gives off nuclear radiation and has the same number of protons (atomic number) as another atom but has a different number of neutrons
recycling collection and reprocessing a resource or product to make new products
renewable a naturally occurring raw material or form of energy that will be replenished through natural ecological cycles or sound management practices
scale relates concepts and ideas to one another by some measurement
science search for understanding the natural world using inquiry and experimentation
stream order energy and nutrient flow that increases as water moves toward the oceans (e.g. the smallest stream (primary) that ends when rivers flow into oceans)
succession the series of changes that occur in an ecosystem with the passing of time
system a group of related objects that work together to achieve a desired result; open-loop system; closed-loop system; subsystem
theory of evolution a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types that the the distinguishable differences are due to modification in successive generations
theory systematically organized knowledge applicable in a relatively wide variety of circumstances; a system of assumptions devised to explain a specified set of phenomena
tool any device used to extend human capability including computer-based tools
trophic levels the role of an organism in nutrient and energy flow within an ecosystem (e.g. herbivore, carnivore, decomposer)
watershed the land area from which surface runoff drains into a stream, channel, lake, reservoir or other body of water; also called a drainage basin
wetlands lands where water saturation is the dominant factor determining the nature of the soil development and the plant and animal communities (e.g. sloughs, estuaries, marshes)
Created by: daykara
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