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Science 7th Grade - Unit 9 Biodiversity

Ecology the study of the relationships between living things and their surrounds.
Levels of study (from most inclusive to least inclusive) biosphere, ecosystem, community, population, organism
Biosphere zone of air, land and water of the planet that is occupied by organisms
Ecosystem all living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) things in a designated area
Community all the living organisms in an ecosystem
Population the number of individuals of a one species within a community
Organism an individual member of a species
Habitats ecological or environmental areas that are inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant or other type of organism. This is synonymous to an animal's "address".
microhabitat a specialized habitat such as a clump of grass or a space between rocks.
niche the role that an animal plays in its habitat. Synonymous to an animal's "job".
biome a division of the world's vegetation that corresponds to a defined climate and is characterized by specific types of plants and animals.
terrestrial biomes land biomes
aquatic biomes water biomes
Tundra biomes with only simple plants such as lichen and arctic animals. The least sustainable biome due to little biodiversity. (frozen permafrost)
Taiga biomes coniferous forest (trees whose seeds are cones - evergreens)
Deciduous forest trees that drop their leaves annually (have 4 seasons)
Tropical forest wet and warm, poor soil, most biologically diverse
Desert dry with very thin, sandy or gravelly soil, species must cope with the heat and cold.
Saltwater Oceans saltwater environment with abundant forms of life and lots of biodiversity
Grasslands land covered in grasses, small shrubs, and few large trees
Biodiversity known as the "variety of life", and it is always changing. (species diversity). The greater the richness and species numbers, the more sustainable (lasting) the ecosystem.
Organisms affected by other organisms symbiosis, mutualism, commensalism, parasitism
Symbiosis describes close and often long-term interactions between different biological species
Mutualism a dependent relationship that benefits both organisms
Commensalism a dependent relationship that neither helps nor harms the host.
Parasitism a dependent relationship that harms the host
Ecological Succession more-or-less predictable and orderly changes in the composition or structure of an ecological community.
Primary succession the area will begin from bare rock
Secondary succession the soil will already be developed
Pioneer species the first species that inhabit an area (examples include lichens and moss). These plants, along with wind and weather, help break down the rocks into smaller pieces and organic matter gradually accumulates.
Examples of pioneer species in secondary succession grasses, weeds and wildflowers
Intermediate species begin to form when the soil is rich enough and deep enough to support larger species of plants (which in turn provide animals species with varied shelters). This includes bushes and shrubs.
Climax communities ecosystems that have reached equilibrium (a stable state where very few large changes are taking place). They remain relatively stable unless disturbed by man or Mother Nature.
Examples of things in climax communities Large plants such as trees as well as other species that can continue to compete in a more complex ecosystem.
Invasive species affect ecosystems and are more successful than the native plants for a several reasons. (example: weeds)
Reasons invasive species are more successful 1) better competitors for resources 2) faster growth rates 3) greater seed dispersal abilities 4) better colonizers of disturbed ground 5)reproduce quicker and produce more seeds 6)greater tolerance to environmental extremes 7) lower rate of disease