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Ecology Vocabulary

Biology Review

microorganism an organism that is too small to be seen with the naked eye
decomposition the process of breaking down a substance into its smaller components of organic matter; decay
nitrogen fixation bacterial action that results in the combination of atmospheric nitrogen with other elements; making nitrogen available for use by plants
health an organism’s state of being free from disease or ailment
fermentation a metabolic process that converts sugars to acids, gasses, and/or alcohol to produce ATP; does not involve an electron transport chain and produces less ATP than respiration
extremophile any organism that lives and thrives in extreme environments
yeast a single-celled fungus; some species are beneficial, and others are parasitic
primary succession the development of an ecological community in a previously uninhabited location
secondary succession the development of an ecological community in an area that was once inhabited, but experienced devastation
climax community the dynamically stable ecological community representing the final stage of ecological succession
natural disaster a force of nature that results in catastrophic consequences
habitat destruction the alteration of the area and conditions in which an organism lives so that the organisms can no longer live in them
limiting factor an environmental factor that limits the growth of a population
biodiversity the sum of the different forms of living things in a given area or population
pioneer species the first plant species to grow during primary succession
predator an organism that captures and consumes another organism for nourishment
prey an organism that is captured and consumed by another organism for nourishment
parasitism the symbiotic relationship in which one organism benefits while the other is harmed
parasite an organism that lives in or on another organism (host) and causes harm to the host
host an organism within or upon which another organism (parasite, commensal, or mutualist) resides
niche the ecological role played by an organism
habitat the area and conditions in which an organism lives
interspecific activity occurring between two or more species
intraspecific activity occurring within a species
pollinator something that carries pollen from the anther to the stigma in flowering plants
food chain a single linear path of energy transfer through the trophic levels of an ecosystem
food web a complex of interconnected food chains showing the trophic interactions in an ecosystem
trophic level an organism’s position on a food chain
ecological pyramid a representation of the organisms in an ecosystem organized into separate trophic levels with producers at the bottom and top predators at the top
tundra a biome characterized by vast, treeless plains and extremely cold temperatures
taiga a biome characterized by its coniferous evergreen forests and cold temperatures
desert a biome characterized by very low annual rates of precipitation and sparse vegetation
rainforest a biome characterized by high biodiversity, humid climate, and high annual precipitation
grasslands a biome characterized by a primary vegetation of grasses, warm-to-hot climates, and moderate rainfall
temperate forest biome characterized by high biodiversity, four distinct seasons, and moderate climate
primary consumer an animal that eats the producers
secondary consumer an animal that eats the primary consumers
tertiary consumer an animal that eats the secondary consumers
quatenary consumer an animal that eats the tertiary consumers
nutrient cycle cycling of organic and inorganic matter through living organisms and the environment
ammonification the process of converting nitrogen into ammonium by bacteria
carbon cycle the continuous movement of carbon among the abiotic environment and living things
denitrification the reduction of oxidized forms of nitrogen (nitrates), ultimately resulting in molecular nitrogen
detrivore an organism that feeds on dead or decaying plant or animal remains
legume a family of plants including beans, alfalfa, and peas, most of which harbor symbiotic, nitrogen-fixing bacteria in nodules in their roots
lithosphere the outermost part of the Earth, comprising the crust and the uppermost part of the mantle
nitification the biological transformation of ammonia or ammonium to nitrites and nitrates
nitrogen fixation bacterial action that results in the combination of atmospheric nitrogen with other elements; making nitrogen available for use by plants
Created by: Doerre475
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