Miller and Levine Biology Chapter 3 and 4: Biosphere, Ecosystems and Communities Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Biosphere
Consists of all life on Earth and all parts of the Earth in which life exists, including land, water, and the atmosphere
Species
A group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring
Population
A group of individuals that belong to the same species and live in the same area
Community
An assemblage of different populations that live together in a defined area
Ecology
The scientific study of interactions among organisms and between organisms and their physical environment
Ecosystem
All the organisms that live in a place, together with their physical environment
Biome
A group of ecosystems that share similar climates and typical organisms
Biotic Factor
Any living part of the environment with which organisms might interact, including animals, plants, mushrooms, and bacteria
Abiotic Factor
Any nonliving part of the environment, such as sunlight, heat, precipitation, humidity, wind or water currents, soil type, and so on
Autotroph
Plants that can capture energy from sunlight or chemicals and convert it into forms that living cells can use
Primary Producers
The first producers of energy-rich compounds that are later used by other organisms
Photosynthesis
Captures light energy and uses it to power chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and energy-rich carbohydrates such as sugars and starches
Chemosynthesis
In which chemical energy is used to produce carbohydrates
Heterotrophs
Must acquire energy from other organisms- by ingesting them one way or another
Consumers
Organisms that rely on other organisms for energy and nutrients are called consumers
Carnivores
Kill and eat other animals
Herbivores
Obtain energy and nutrients by eating plant leaves, roots, seeds, or fruits
Omnivores
Animals whose diets naturally include a variety of different foods that usually include both plants and animals
Scavengers
Animals that consume the carcasses of other animals that have been killed by predators or have died of other causes
Decomposers
Feed chemically by breaking down organic matter
Detritivores
Feed on detrius particles, often chewing or grinding them into even smaller pieces
Food Chain
A series of steps in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten
Phytoplankton
A mixture of floating algae that are primary producers
Food Web
A network of feeding interactions
Zooplankton
Swimming animals that feed on marine algae
Trophic Level
Each step in a food chain or food web
Ecological pyramids
Show the relative amount of energy or matter contained within each trophic level in a given food chain or food web
Biomass
The total amount of living tissue within a given trophic level
Biogeochemical cycles
Elements that pass from one organism to another and among parts of the biosphere through closed loops
Nutrients
The chemical substances that an organism needs to sustain life
Nitrogen Fixation
When bacteria convert nitrogen gas into ammonia
Denitrification
When bacteria obtain energy by converting nitrates into nitrogen gas, which is then released into the atmosphere
Limiting Nutrient
The nutrient whose supply limits productivity
Weather
Day-to-day conditions of the Earth's atmosphere
Climate
Refers to average conditions over long periods
Microclimate
Environmental conditions spreading of a small distance
Greenhouse Effect
The function were greenhouse gases allow visible light to pass but traps heat
Tolerance
The ability to survive and reproduce under a range of environmental circumstances
Habitat
The general place where an organism lives
Niche
Describes not only what an organism does, but also how it interacts with biotic and abiotic factors in the environment
Resource
Refers to any necessity of life, such as water, nutrients, life, food, or space
Competitive Exclusion Principle
States that no two species can occupy exactly the same niche in exactly the same habitat at exactly the same time
Predation
An interaction in which one animal captures and feeds on another animal
Herbivory
An interaction in which one animal feeds on producers
Keystone Species
Changes in the population of a single species that causes dramatic changes in the structure of a community
Smybiosis
Any relationship in which two species live closely together
Mutualism
A kind of relationship between species in which both benefit
Parasitism
Relationships in which one organism lives inside or on another organism and harms it
Commensalism
A relationship in which one organism benefits and the other is neither helped nor harmed
Ecological Succession
A series of more-or-less predictable changes that occur in a community over time
Primary Succession
Succession that begins in an area with no remnants of an older community
Pioneer Species
The first species to colonize barren areas
Secondary Succession
Where a disturbance affects the community without completely destroying it
Canopy
50 to 80 meters above the forest floor
Understory
Located in the shade below the canopy where its populated with shorter trees and vines
Decidious
A plant that sheds its leaves during a particular season
Coniferous
Trees that produce seed-bearing cones, and most have leaves shaped like needles
Humus
A material formed from decaying leaves and other organic matter
Taiga
Dense forests of coniferous evergreens along the northern edge of the temperate zone
Permafrost
A layer of permanently frozen subsoil
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