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abiotic factor physical, or nonliving, factor
autotroph organism that is capable of producing its own food; also called a producer
biogeochemical cycle for example, water cycle, nitrogen cycle, carbon cycle
biomass total amount of living tissue in a given trophic level
biotic factor any living thing in an ecosystem
carnivore consumer that eats animals
chemosynthesis process used by bacteria near thermal vents to make "food" using chemical energy
commensalism symbiotic relationship in which one organism benefits and the other is neither harmed nor helped
consumer an organism that must rely on other organisms for its energy and food supply; also called a heterotroph
decomposer organism that breaks down and obtains energy from dead organic matter
denitrification process in which bacteria convert nitrates into nitrogen gas
detritivore organism that feeds on detritus
distrubance anything that disrupts the balance of an ecosystem; i.e. forest fire
ecology study of interactions among organisms and their environment
ecosystem all of the living organisms that live in one place, plus the nonliving (abioitic) parts of the environment
food chain clover --> rabbit --> hawk
food web diagram showing all of the feeding relationships in an ecosystem
herbivore organism that eats only plants/producers
heterotroph organism that gets food by eating other living things; also called a consumer
keystone species single species that keeps an entire community of organisms balanced
mutualism example: bird eating leeches out of crocodiles mouth
nitrogen fixation process of converting nitrogen gas into nitrate (a form that plants can use)
nutrient chemical substance an organism needs to sustain life
omnivore organism that gets energy/food by eating both plants and animals
parasitism example: tick on a dog
photosynthesis process used by plants and other autotrophs to capture light energy and use it to power chemical reactions
phytoplankton photosynthetic algae found near surface of ocean; base of most marine food chains
pioneer species first species to populate an area during succession(i.e. lichen)
lichen pioneer species made of a fungus and photosynthetic bacteria that can attach to rock and break it down into soil
population group of individuals of the same species living in an area
primary succession change in ecosystem that starts with bare rock and takes an extremely long time to turn into a mature forest
producer a photosynthetic or chemosynthetic organism that can make "energy-rich organic compounds" (in other words food)
scavenger animal that eats the carcasses of other animals
secondary succession change in ecosystem that starts after a disturbance when soil is already present
species a group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring
symbiosis relationship between two species that live close together
trophic level each step in a food chain or food web
zooplankton small-free floating animals that eat phytoplankton and are the primary consumer in marine ecosystems
primary consumer first consumer in ecosystem; eats plants/producers
secondary consumer consumers that eat herbivores
Created by: cwill1217