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Ecology Vocab #3-5

Food chain A series of steps in which organisms transfer energy by eating or being eaten.
Food web A network of food chains.
Trophic level An individual step within a food chain, food web, or pyramid.
Ecological pyramid Shows the relative amount of energy available at each trophic level of a food chain or food web.
Energy pyramid A diagram that shows the loss of energy in an ecosystem; the greatest amount of energy is found at the bottom.
Biomass pyramid A diagram that shows how an ecosystem's weight by species is distributed; largest group is producers (found at bottom).
Pyramid of numbers A diagram that shows the relative numbers of different species in an ecosystem; largest amounts are at the bottom.
Biomass The total amount of living material in a given habitat, population, or sample; number is expressed as a mass that can be measured on a balance.
Biogeochemical cycle Matter is recycled within and between ecosystems in closed loops.
Water cycle Water continuously moving between oceans, the atmosphere, and the land.
Nutrient cycle Nutrients moved into and out of organisms to build tissue and carry out life functions.
Carbon cycle Carbon is continuously exchanged between the atmosphere and oceans.
Nitrogen cycle Nitrogen exists in many forms (as ammonia and nitrogen compounds) and is continuously recycled.
Phosphorous cycle Found as inorganic compounds in rocks and minerals; cycles through using plants.
Denitrification Bacteria convert nitrates into nitrogen gas to get energy.
Competition Occurs when two organisms attempt to use the same resource (food, space, a mate) at the same time.
Competitive exclusion principle No two species can occupy the same niche at the same time.
Keystone species A single species in an ecosystem that, if changed, can impact the entire ecosystem.
Biodiversity Sum total of all of the different species of habitats and organisms that make up the Earth.
Ecological succesion Series of changes that occur in a community over time.
Primary succesion Begins in an area with no remnants of an older community; usually occurs after a natural disaster (volcano or earthquake).
Secondary succesion Occurs in ecosystems where an existing community was not fully disturbed/destroyed; usually occurs after wildfires or hurricanes or human activities.
Pioneer species First species to colonize barren areas after natural disaster; usually lichens and mosses.
Climax community The original community that existed before a natural disaster.
Carrying capacity Maximum number of individuals that the environment can support.
Native species An organism that "belongs" in the ecosystem; has evolved with the ecosystem (Canada goose).
Invasive species An organism that successfully takes over an organism's niche and is not native to the area (Burmese python, Asian long horned beetle).
Deforestation Destruction of forests for the increased clearing of land to create farms and homes for the increasing world population; can lead to other environmental issues.
Created by: Jlags