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Ecology Vocab #1-2

Ecology The study of the interactions between living and non-living parts of the Earth.
Species Group of similar organisms that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring.
Population All of the same species living in one area.
Community All of the populations of organisms living in one area.
Biotic factor All of the living organisms in an area; any living organism that affects other organisms in the area.
Abiotic factor All of the non-living (physical) factors that can affect other living organisms in the area.
Habitat Place where organisms live.
Ecosystem All of the animal and plant populations interacting with each other and other abiotic factors.
Biosphere Portion of the Earth that supports life; examples: air, land, salt water, fresh water.
Niche A range of physical and biological conditions in which an organism lives; the "role" an organism plays within the ecosystem.
Heterotroph Organisms that rely on other organisms for energy and nutrients; also called consumers.
Autotrophs Organisms that can make their own food from inorganic matter; also called producers.
Primary producer First producers of energy-rich compounds; uses the Sun's energy as a means of synthesizing organic compounds.
Prey A consumer that serves as a food source for another consumer.
Consumer An organism that eats other organisms as a food source; identified as "primary", "secondary", "tertiary".
Predator A consumer that feeds on other consumers.
Herbivore An organism that feeds on plants.
Carnivore An organism that feeds on meat.
Omnivore An organism that feeds on both plants and animals.
Decomposer (saprophyte) An organism that consumes decaying organic matter.
Detritivore (scavenger) An organism that consumes dead animals.
Primary consumer Feeds on plant matter or primary producers.
Secondary consumer Feeds on primary consumers.
Tertiary consumer Feeds on secondary consumers; considered the "apex" or top of the food pyramid.
Symbiosis A relationship between two different species in an ecosystem.
Commensalism A relationship between two species whereby one species benefits and the other is not affected; can be symbolized as: +, 0
Parasitism A relationship between two species in which one species negatively affects the other species; can by symbolized as: +, -
Mutualism A relationship between two different species whereby both species help in the advancement of each other; sometimes the relationship is so close that the two organisms cannot live apart; can be symbolized as: +, +
Phytoplankton Tiny organisms that are the producers in a marine ecosystem; are eaten by zooplankton.
Created by: Jlags