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Ecology

QuestionAnswer
Ecology The scientific study of interactions among organisms and between organisms and their environments. The study of how we share the planet with other organisms and how we deal with the environment surrounding us.
Biosphere The combined portions of the planet in which all life exists. This includes land, air, water and the atmosphere.
What are the levels of organization at which you can study ecology? From smallest to largest they are: 1) the individual; 2) population; 3) community; 4) ecosystem; 5) biome and 6) biosphere
Species A group of organisms that are so similar to one another that they can breed and produce fertile offspring.
Population A group of individuals belonging to the same species and living within the same area
Communities An assembly of different populations that live together in a defined area.
Ecosystem Al collection of all the organisms that live in a particular place. Also includes the environment surrounding these organisms.
Biome A group of ecosystems that have the same climate and similar dominant communities.
What is the main source of all energy for life on earth? The sun
Autotroph Organisms that capture energy from the sun and use that energy to produce food. Typically, autotrophs are plants, algae and certain bacteria.
Producers Another term for autotrophs that capture energy from the sun to make their own food.
Heterotrophs Organisms that rely on other organisms for their food supply.
Consumers Another word for heterotrophs that must consume other organisms for food.
Herbivores Organisms that obtain energy by eating only plants.
Carnivores Organisms that obtain energy by eating other animals
Omnivores Organisms that obtain their energy by eating both plants and animals.
How does energy flow through an ecosystem? In one direction--from the sun to autotrophs (producers) and then to various heterotrophs (consumers)
Food Chain A series of steps in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten.
Food Web The linking of a number of food chains within an ecosystem.
Trophic Level Each step in a food chain or food web
Ecological pyramid A diagram that shows the amount of energy or matter contained in each trophic level of a food chain or food web.
10% rule of energy transfer within an ecosystem Only about 10% of the energy available within one trophic level is transferred to organisms in the next trophic level.
What happens to the 90% of the energy in a trophic level that is not available to move to the organisms at the next trophic level? Most of it is used by the organisms at that trophic level for life processes such as digesting, breathing, reproducing, etc. The rest is lost as heat as calories are used to produce energy.
Evaporation The process by which water changes from a liquid to a gas in the atmosphere
Transpiration The evaporation of water from the leaves of plants to produce gaseous water in the atomosphere.
Nitrogen Fixation In order for plants to be able to use nitrogen in the soil, it must be converted to ammonia. Bacteria living in the soil use the process of nitrogen fixation to convert the nitrogen in the soil into products that plants can use to make proteins.
Limiting Nutrient A nutrient that is scarce or cycles slowly within an ecosystem, thus limiting the growth and or reproduction of organisms within that ecosystem.
Created by: smerrill