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AP Biology Ecology Cards


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the study of the interactions of organisms with their environments
organism level
how one organism meet the challenges of its environment
an interacting group of individuals
community level
consists of all the organisms; all the populations of different species that inhabit a particular area
ecosystem level
includes all the life forms existing in a certain areas AND all NONLIVING factors as well
nonliving factors (temperature, energy, gases, water)
the global ecosystem, the portion of the Earth that is alive
environmental situations in which organisms live
4 most important abiotic factors are...?
Solar energy, water, temperature, and wind
air at the equator rises and creates an area of calm of very light rises
trade winds
dry air descends, and some of it spreads back toward the equator

dominates the tropics
latitudes between 23.5 degrees north and south
temperate zones
regions that have milder climates than the tropics or the polar regions
Prevailing winds
major global air movements; caused by the combined effects of the rising and falling of air masses and Earth's rotation
winds that blow from west to east
ocean currents
riverlike flow patterns in the oceans
an area where fresh water merges with seawater
intertidal zone
where estuarine water (sea water) meets land
an ecosystem that is intermediate between an aquatic ecosystem and a terrestrial one
pelagic zone
the ocean water itself
algae and cyanobacteria
animals that drift in the pelagic zone - eat phytoplankton
benthic zone
photic zone
a small portion of ocean water which light penetrates and in which photosynthesis occurs
aphotic zone
the vase dark region that is most of the oceans
terrestrial ecosystems
tropical thorn forests
equatorial lowlands, rainfall is scarce, prolonged dry seasons, thorny shrubs and trees
tropical deciduous forests
India, Southeast Asia, Tropical deciduous trees and shrubs, releaf after heavy rains
tropical rain forests
very humid equatorial areas, rainfall is abundant (>250 cm/year) + season of reduced rainfall for a few months
dominated by grasses and scattered trees, South America, South Africa, Australia, temperate forests
sparse rainfall, rapid evaporation, Austrailia, central Sahara
conversion of other biomes (especially savannas) to deserts
dense, spiny shrubs, evergreen leaves, cool ocean currents mild, rainy winters, and long, hot, dry summers
temperate grasslands
treeless, cold winter temperatures
temperate deciduous forests
sufficient moisture to support the growth of large trees (oak, beech, hickory)
coniferous forests
bioms in which the principal trees are cone bearers
extensive coniferous forest across northern coniferous forest, harsh winters, short summers
permanently covered with ice and snow; dwarf woody shurbs, grasses, mosses, and lichens
continuously frozen ground
Population dynamics
the changes in population size and the factors that regulate populations over time
population density
the number of individuals of a species per unit are or volume
mark-recapture method
a method used to trap animals and tag them, and then are released. The proportion of marked to unmarked individuals gives an estimate of the size of the entire population
dispersion pattern
the way individuals are spaced within their area
individuals are separated in patches
an even pattern of dispersion often results from interactions among individuals of a population
individuals in a population are spaced in a patternless, unpredictable way
intrinsic rate of increase
an organism's inherent capacity to reproduce
exponential growth model
unregulated growth of a population
population limiting factors
environmental factors that restrict population growth
logistic growth model
idealized population growth that is lowed by limiting factors
carrying capacity
the number of individuals in a population the environment can maintain.
density dependent factors
factors whose effects depend on the opulation size (limited food supply and the buildup of poisonous wastes)
density independent factors
limiting factors whose occurrence is not affected by population size (climate, weather)
life history
the series of events from birth through reproduction to death
opportunistic life history
population tends to grow exponentially when conditions are favorable
equilibrial life history
population is stable, held by density dependent factors
age structure
the proportion of individuals in different age groups
all the populations of organisms living together and potentially interacting in a particular area
trophic structure
the feeding relationships among the various species making up the community
interspecific competition
two populations both require a limited resource, and individuals of the two species compete for the resource
competitive exclusion principle
A slight reproductive advantage will eventually lead to local elimination of the inferior competitor (G.F. Gause)
a population's role in its community
interaction where one species eats another
consumer in predation
the food species
a series of reciprocal adaptations in two species
Heliconius :: Passiflora
Batesian mimicry
a paltable species mimics an unpalatable one (one harmless other harmful)
Mullerian mimicry
two unpalatable species that inhabit the same community mimic each otehr. (both harmful and mutually benefit)
keystone predator
a species that reduces the density of the strongest competitors in a community
symbiotic relationship
an interaction between two or more species in which one species lives in or on another species (parasitism, commensalism, nd mutualism)
predator-prey relationship in which one organism, the parasite, derives its food at the expense of its symbiotic sociate, the host
one partner benefits without significantly affecting the other
benefits both partners in the relationship
the tendency to remain in a more or less constant balance due largely to interactions among organisms
a force that alters a biological community and usually removes organisms from it
ecological succession
the process of community change resulting from disturbance
primary succession
community arises in a virtually lifeless area with no soil
secondary succession
occurs where a disturbance has destroyed an existing community but left the soil intact
energy flow
the passage of energy through the components of the ecosystem
chemical cycling
involves the circular movement of materials WITHIN the ecosystem
food chain
sequence of food transfer from trophic level to trophic level
the trophic level that supports all others consists of autotrophs
primary consumers
herbivors and eat auto trophs and their products
secondary consumers
small mammals eating insects and bugs
tertiary consumers
snakes that eat mice is an example
quaternary consumers
hawks and killer whales is an example
derive their energy from detritus - dead material
the breakdown of organic materials into inorganic ones
food web
network of interconnecting food chains
the amount of living organic material in an ecosystem
primary productivity
the rate at which producers convert solar energy to chemical energy
increasingly productive lakes that will cause massive amounts of algae, then aerobic bacteria, then a dead zone
zoned reserve
an extensive region of land that includes one or more areas undisturbed by humans
animal behavior
externally observable muscular activity triggered by some stimulus
behavioral biology
science of behavior
proximate cause
explains behavior in terms of immediate interactions with the environment
ultimate causes
evolutionary causes of behavior
behavioral ecology
the search for ultimate causes
innate behavior
behavior that appears to be performed in virtually the same way by all individuals of a species
fixed action patterns (FAPs)
unchangeable behavioral sequences
sign stimulus
a stimulus that triggers a FAP
a change in behavior resulting from experience
an animal learns not to respond to a repeated stimulus that conveys little or no information
learning that is limited to a specific time period in an animal's life that is irreversible
critical period
the specific time during which imprinting occurs
Associative learning
learning that a particular stimulus or particular response is linked to a reward or punishment
classical conditioning
an arbitrary stimulus is associated with a reward or punishment
trial and error learning
an animal learns to associate one of its own behavioral acts with a positive or negative effect
learning by observing and mimicking the behavior of others
is the ability to respond appropriately to a new situation without prior experience
assuming that animals experience feelings such as pain or pleasure in the same ways humans do
conscious thinking and self awareness
circadian rhythms
patterns that are repeated daily
a random movement in response to a stimulus
orientation behavior
directed movements
automatic movement directed toward or away from a stimulus
the ability of an animal's nervous system to perceive, store, process, and use information gathered by its sensory receptors.
cognitive ethology
study of animal cognition
cognitive maps
internal representations, or codes, of the spatial relationships among objects in their surroundings
seasonal migration
the regular back and forth movement of animlas between two geographic areas at particular times of the eyar
search image
the mechanism that enables an animal to find particular foods efficiently
optimal foraging
feeding behavior that yilds the lowest cost/benefit ratio
social behavior
any kind of interaction between two or more animals
agonistic behavior
threats or actual combat that settles disputes between individuals in a population
dominance hierarchy
ranking of individuals based on social interactions
an area that individuals defend and from which other members of the same species are usually excluded
behavior which reduces an individual's fitness while increasing the fitness of a recipient
kin selection
altruistic behavior evolves because it increases the number of copies of a gene common to a group
recipricol altruism
an altruistic act repaid at a later time by the beneficiary
the study of evolutionary basis of social behavior

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