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Ecology Vocabulary

TermDefinition
Microorganisms 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.
Rain forest 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 A biome characterized by high biodiversity, four distinct seasons, and moderate climate.
Primary Consumer An animal that eats the producers.
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.
Dentrification 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.
Nitrification 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: s592542
 

 



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