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9th Grd-Ecology

Ecology

TermDefinitionExamples
Abiotic factor A nonliving parts of an ecosystem. Air, sunlight, soil, rocks, temperature, clouds, asphalt, dumpster, etc…
Adaptation A characteristic that helps an organism survive and reproduce in its natural environment. Giraffe’s neck, humming bird’s beak, lions claws & teeth etc…
Biodiversity The variety of life in a particular habitat or ecosystem. Hundreds of different types plants in one square mile of a rainforest- high biodiversity.
Biotic factor Anything living in an ecosystem. Plants, animals, fungi, bacteria
Carnivore An animal that eats only meat from other animals. Lion, coyote, shark, snakes, owls, etc…
Catastrophic event A disastrous event, natural or man-made that causes widespread damage or death. Habitat destruction, pollution, development, overpopulation, war/ terrorism, etc…
Climax community A community that exists in equilibrium and will not change drastically unless it is disturbed. Forrest that has not be impacted by humans or catastrophic events
Community All the different organisms (populations) that live together in an area. San Antonio community would include trees, grass, animals, pets, people, etc...
Competition Occurs when more than one individual or population tries to make use of the same resource. Rams and deer fighting for mates, trees fighting for space,
Consumer An organism that cannot make its own food so it obtains energy by feeding on other organisms. All animals: humans, deer, bear, rabbits
Decomposers An organism that breaks down dead organisms to recycle nutrients back into the environment. Bacteria and fungi are the most common decomposers.
Ecosystem All the living and nonliving things that interact in an area. All the living animals in a forest interacting with the water, dirt, air, and temperature in the forest
Energy pyramid A diagram that shows the amount of energy transferred from one feeding level to another in a food chain. Trophic pyramid.
Environment The surroundings of an organism. A squirrel’s environment is a tree in a forest.
Food chain A series of events in which one organism eats another. Grass-->Rabbit-->Fox
Food web The pattern of overlapping food chains in an ecosystem. All of the feeding relationships within a lake or a forest.
Habitat The place where an organism lives that provides the things the organism needs. Food, shelter, water, etc…
Herbivore An animal that eats only plants. Rabbits, cows, zebras, giraffes, etc…
Light Quantity The amount of sunlight in an area that reaches the ground. The light reaching the ground in a field is greater than in a forest.
Limiting factors Resources which may limit the number of organisms supported by an ecosystem. Food, water, soil, space, etc…
Long-term environmental change Change in an ecosystem such as an ice age, deforestation, urbanization, Earth’s orbit, Sun’s intensity, global Warming, or radioactive waste/pollution that affects the survivability of an organism. Can last decades or longer. Deforestation, urbanization, climate change, etc…
Mutations Random changes in genes that cause variations that can be helpful or harmful. Extra digits, abnormal coloring, extra chromosomes, some diseases, etc….
Natural selection The process by which organisms best adapted to their environment survive & reproduce to pass on favorable traits to their offspring. Brightly colored birds are more likely to attract mates so they reproduce causing all the birds to eventually be brightly colored.
Niche An organism’s particular role in an ecosystem. Habitat, place in food chain, relationships with other species.
Nutrients Food or any nourishing substance required by organisms to live and grow. Food, elements plants need, water, etc…
Omnivore An animal that eats both plants and animals. Bears, raccoons, humans, chimps, etc…
Organism Any living thing. Plants, fungi, animals, bacteria, etc…
Population All of the organisms of the same species that live in area at the same time. All of the zebras living around a water source in Africa.
Primary Consumer An animal that eats plants in a food chain – an herbivore. Occupies the second trophic level in an energy pyramid.
Producer An organism that can make its own food, usually by converting sunlight into glucose (sugar). Plants.
Resources Biotic and abiotic factors that an organism needs in order to survive. Food, water, space, mates, etc…
Scarce Restricted in quantity Water in a dessert.
Secondary Consumer An organism that feeds on herbivores in a food chain. Occupies the third trophic level in an energy pyramid.
Short-term environmental change Change in an ecosystem such as drought, smog, flooding, volcanic eruption, blizzards, and pollution that affects the survivability of an organism. Only lasts from hours to a few years. Drought, flood, blizzards, fire, etc…
Space An area where an organism lives and competes for biotic and abiotic factors. A bear’s in a forest competes for food with other animals in that space.
Species A group of similar organisms that can mate with one another and produce fertile offspring. Brown bears, grizzly bears, polar bear, American black bear, etc…
Temperature Range The difference between the average high temperature and average low temperature. Temperatures in the Amazon Rainforest will be between 22C to 33C.
Tertiary Consumer A predator that eats another animal in a food chain. Occupies the fourth trophic level in an energy pyramid.
Tolerance ability of an organism to endure unfavorable environmental conditions Polar Bears have a cold tolerance due to their excess fat and adaptation of hibernation.
Popular Ecology sets

 



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