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trophic level
All organisms that are the same number of energy transfers away from the original source of energy (for example, sunlight) that enters an ecosystem. For example, all producers belong to the first trophic level, and all herbivores belong to the second trophic level in a food chain or a food web.
physical properties of the trophoshere of an area based on analysis of its weather records over a long period (at elast 30 yrs) the 2 main factors determining an area's cliamte are temperature with its seasonal variations, and the amount and distribution of precipitation.
pyramid of energy flow
Diagram representing the flow of energy through each trophic level in a food chain or food web. With each energy transfer, only a small part (typically 10%) of the usable energy entering one trophic level is transferred to the organisms at the next trophic level
transitional zone in which one type of ecosystem tends to merge with another ecosystem
sulfur cycle
Cyclic movement of sulfur in different chemical forms from the environment to organisms and then back to the environment
the whole mass of air surrounding the earth
Organism that feeds on dead organisms that were killed by other organisms or died naturally. Examples are vultures, flies, and crows
variety of different species (species diversity) genetic cariability among individuals within each species (genetic diversity), variety of ecosystems (ecological divresity) and functions such as energy flow and matter cycling needed for the survival of species and biological communities (functional diversity)
Organism that cannot synthesize the organic nutrients it needs and gets its organic nutrients by feeding on the tissues of producers or of other consumers; generally divided into primary consumers (herbivores), secondary consumers (carnivores), tertiary (higher-level) consumers, omnivores, and detritivores (decomposers and detritus feeders). In economics, one who uses economic goods.
ecological effiency
percentage of energy transferred from one trophic level to another in a food chain or web
tertiary (higher-level) consumers
Animals that feed on animal-eating animals. They feed at high trophic levels in food chains and webs. Examples are hawks, lions, bass, and sharks
abiotic limits
nonliving single factor that limits the groweth abundance, or distribution of the population of a species in an ecosystem.
Outer shell of the earth, composed of the crust and the rigid, outermost part of the mantle outside of the asthenosphere; material found in earthUs plates
organic matter produced by plants adn other photosynthetic producers; total dry weight of all living organisms that can be supported at each trophis level in a food chain or web; dry weight of all organic matter in plants and animals in an ecosystem; plant materials and animal wastes used as fuel.
food web
comples network of many interconnected food chains and feeding relationships
Passage of a liquid through the spaces of a porous material such as soil
Smallest living unit of an organism. Each cell is encased in an outer membrane or wall and contains genetic material (DNA) and other parts to perform its life function. Organisms such as bacteria consist of only one cell, but most of the organisms we are familiar with contain many cells
asexual reproduction
Reproduction in which a mother cell divides to produce two identical daughter cells that are clones of the mother cell. This type of reproduction is common in single-celled organisms
phosphorus cycle
Cyclic movement of phosphorus in different chemical forms from the environment to organisms and then back to the environment
Group of organisms that resemble one another in appearance, behavior, chemical makeup and processes, and genetic structure. Organisms that reproduce sexually are classified as members of the same species only if they can actually or potentially interbreed with one another and produce fertile offspring.--
Water in the form of rain, sleet, hail, and snow that falls from the atmosphere onto the land and bodies of water
Zone of earth where life is found. It consists of parts of the atmosphere (the troposphere), hydrosphere (mostly surface water and groundwater), and lithosphere (mostly soil and surface rocks and sediments on the bottoms of oceans and other bodies of water) where life is found. Also called the ecosphere
Terrestrial regions inhabited by certain types of life, especially vegetation. Examples are various types of deserts, grasslands, and forests
Innermost layer of the atmosphere. It contains about 75% of the mass of earthUs air and extends about 17 kilometers (11 miles) above sea level
Amount of various salts dissolved in a given volume of water
condensation nuclei
Tiny particles on which droplets of water vapor can collect
tolerance limits
Minimum and maximum limits for physical conditions (such as temperature) and concentrations of chemical substances beyond which no members of a particular species can survive.
biogeochemical cycle
Natural processes that recycle nutrients in various chemical forms from the nonliving environment to living organisms and then back to the nonliving environment. Examples are the carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and hydrologic cycles.--
Parts of dead organisms and cast-off fragments and wastes of living organisms
net primary produntivity
(NPP) rate at which all the palnts in an ecosystem produce net useful chemical energy; equal to the difference between the rate at which the plants in an ecosystem produce useful chemical energy (primary productvity) and the rate at which they use some of that energy through cellular respiration.
gross primary productivity
(GPP) the rate at which an ecosystem's producers capture and store a given amount of chemical energy as biomass in a given length of time
Animal that can use both plants and other animals as food sources. Examples are pigs, rats, cockroaches, and people.--
Plant-eating organism. Examples are deer, sheep, grasshoppers, and zooplankton
The earth's (1) liquid water (oceans, lakes, other bodies of surface water, and underground water), (2) frozen water (polar ice caps, floating ice caps, and ice in soil, known as permafrost), and (3) small amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere
law of tolerance
the exsistence, abundance, and distribution of a species in an econsystem are detirmined by whether the levels of one or more physical or chemical factors fall within the range tolerated by the species
Organism that uses solar energy (green plant) or chemical energy (some bacteria) to manufacture the organic compounds it needs as nutrients from simple inorganic compounds obtained from its environment.
Group of individual organisms of the same species living within a particular area
Ability of a living cell or organism to capture and transform matter and energy from its environment to supply its needs for survival, growth, and reproduction
secondary consumer
Organism that feeds only on primary consumers. Most secondary consumers are animals, but some are plants.
nutrient cycle
the recycling of nutrients
Organism that digests parts of dead organisms and cast-off fragments and wastes of living organisms by breaking down the complex organic molecules in those materials into simpler inorganic compounds and then absorbing the soluble nutrients. Producers return most of these chemicals to the soil and water for reuse. Decomposers consist of various bacteria and fungi.
anaerobic respiration
Complex process that occurs in the cells of most living organisms, in which nutrient organic molecules such as glucose (C6H12O6) combine with oxygen (O2) and produce carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O), and energy
hydrolic cycle
Biogeochemical cycle that collects, purifies, and distributes the earthUs fixed supply of water from the environment to living organisms and then back to the environment
food chain
series of organism in which each eats or decomposes the perceding one
sexual reproduction
Reproduction in organisms that produce offspring by combining sex cells or gametes (such as ovum and sperm) from both parents. This produces offspring that have combinations of traits from their parents.--
limiting factor priciple
too much or too littlt of any abiotic factor can limit or prevent growth of a population of a species in an ecosystem, even if all other factors are at or near the optimum range of tolerance for the species
any form of life
Process in which water (1) is absorbed by the root systems of plants, (2) moves up through the plants, (3) passes through pores (stomata) in their leaves or other parts, and (4) evaporates into the atmosphere as water vapor
functional diversity
Biological and chemical processes or functions such as energy flow and matter cycling needed for the survival of species and biological communities
natural green house effect
Heat buildup in the troposphere because of the presence of certain gases, called greenhouse gases. Without this effect, the earth would be nearly as cold as Mars, and life as we know it could not exist. There is much evidence that we are enhancing this natural effect by excess additions of greenhouse gases from human activities
Complex process that takes place in cells of green plants. Radiant energy from the sun is used to combine carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) to produce oxygen (O2) and carbohydrates (such as glucose, C6H12O6) and other nutrient molecules.
Downward movement of water through soil
primary consumer
Organism that feeds on all or part of plants (herbivore) or on other producers.--
eurkaryote v. prokaryote
eukaryote: cell containing a nucleus, a region of genetic material surrounded by a membrane. membranes also enclose several of the other internal parts found in a eukartotic cell.
prokaryotic: cell that does not have a distict nucleus. other internal parts are also not enclosed by membranes
range of tolerance
Range of chemical and physical conditions that must be maintained for populations of a particular species to stay alive and grow, develop, and function normally
Place or type of place where an organism or population of organisms lives
genetic diversity
Variability in the genetic makeup among individuals within a single species
pyramid of biomass
Diagram representing the biomass, or total dry weight of all living organisms, that can be supported at each trophic level in a food chain or food web
nitrogen cycle
Cyclic movement of nitrogen in different chemical forms from the environment to organisms and then back to the environment.--Miller
Consumer organism that feeds on detritus, parts of dead organisms, and cast-off fragments and wastes of living organisms. The two principal types are detritus feeders and decomposersdetri
aquatic life zone
Marine and freshwater portions of the ecosphere. Examples include freshwater life zones (such as lakes and streams) and ocean or marine life zones (such as estuaries, coastlines, coral reefs, and the deep ocean).--
dissolved oxygen (DO) content
Amount of oxygen gas (O2) dissolved in a given volume of water at a particular temperature and pressure, often expressed as a concentration in parts of oxygen per million parts of water
detritus feeder
Organism that extracts nutrients from fragments of dead organisms and their cast-off parts and organic wastes. Examples are earthworms, termites, and crabs
Populations of all species living and interacting in an area at a particular time
Process in which certain organisms (mostly specialized bacteria) extract inorganic compounds from their environment and convert them into organic nutrient compounds without the presence of sunlight
carbon cycle
Cyclic movement of carbon in different chemical forms from the environment to organisms and then back to the environment
absolute humidity
Amount of water vapor found in a certain mass of air (usually expressed as grams of water per kilogram of air).--
Study of the interactions of living organisms with one another and with their nonliving environment of matter and energy; study of the structure and functions of nature
Second layer of the atmosphere, extending about 17-48 kilometers (11-30 miles) above the earthUs surface. It contains small amounts of gaseous ozone (O3), which filters out about 99% of the incoming harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the sun
any food or element an organism must take in to live, grow, or reproduce

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