Ecology Vocabulary

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Ecology Vocabulary
2013-06-14 16:28:20
science terms

Ecology Vocab Terms
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  1. What is an ecosystem?
    All the interacting parts of a biological community and its environment.
  2. What is a sustainable ecosystem?
    An ecosystem that is capable of withstanding pressure and giving support to a variety of organisms.
  3. What is biotic?
    The living parts of an ecosystem.
  4. What is abiotic?
    The non-living parts of an ecosystem.
  5. What is the lithosphere?
    The hard part of the Earth's surface.
  6. What is the hydrosphere?
    All the water found on Earth, including lakes, oceans, and ground water.
  7. What is the atmosphere?
    The layer of gases above the Earth's surface.
  8. What is the biosphere?
    The regions of Earth where living organisms exist.
  9. What are nutrients?
    A chemical that is essential to living things and is cycled through ecosystems.
  10. What is eutrophication?
    A process in which nutrient levels in aquatic ecosystems increase, leading to an increase in the populations of primary producers.
  11. What is photosynthesis?
    A process that changes solar energy into chemical energy.
  12. What is a trophic level?
    A category of organisms that is defined by how organisms gain their energy.
  13. What is biomass?
    The total mass of living organisms in a defined group or area.
  14. What is trophic efficiency?
    A measure of the amount of energy or biomass transferred from one trophic level to the next higher trophic level.
  15. What is bioaccumulation?
    A process in which an organism ingests materials, especially toxins, faster than it eliminates them.
  16. What is biomagnification?
    A process in which the concentration of ingested toxins increases as it moves from one tropic level to the next.
  17. What is cellular respiration?
    A process that releases energy from organic molecules, especially carbohydrates, in the presence of oxygen.
  18. What is fermentation?
    A process that releases energy from organic molecules, especially carbohydrates, in the absence of oxygen.
  19. What is a greenhouse gas?
    An atmospheric gas that prevents heat from leaving the atmosphere, thus increasing the temperature of the atmosphere.
  20. What is the greenhouse effect?
    The warming of the Earth as a result of greenhouse gases, which trap some of the energy that would otherwise leave the Earth.
  21. What is acid precipitation?
    Rain, snow or fog that is unnaturally acidic (pH less than 5.6) due to gases in the atmosphere that react water to form acids.
  22. What is population?
    All the individuals of a species that occupy a particular geographic area at a certain time.
  23. What is exponential growth?
    Accelerating growth that produces a J-shaped curve when the population is graphed against time.
  24. What are limiting factors?
    Factors that limit the growth, distribution, or amount of population in an ecosystem.
  25. What is carrying capacity?
    The size of a population that can be supported indefinitely by the available resources and services of an ecosystem.
  26. What is an equilibrium?
    The balance between opposing forces.
  27. What is an urban sprawl?
    The growth of relatively low-density development on the edges of urban areas.
  28. What is an ecological niche?
    The way in which organisms occupy a position in an ecosystem, including all necessary biotic and abiotic factors.
  29. What is a bog?
    A type of wetland in which the water is acidic and low in nutrients.
  30. What is a predator?
    An organism that kills and consumes other organisms.
  31. What is prey mutualism?
    A symbiotic relationship between two species in which both  species benefit from the relationship. 
  32. What is a parasite?
    An organism whose niche is dependent on a close association with a larger host organism.
  33. What is sustainable use?
    Use that does not lead to long-term depletion of a resource or affect the diversity of an ecosystem from which the resource is obtained.
  34. What is doubling time?
    The period of time that is required for a population to double in size.
  35. What is an ecological footprint?
    A measure of the impact of an individual or a population on the environment in terms of energy consumption, land use, and waste production.
  36. What is "unsustainable"?
    A pattern of activity that leads to a decline in the function of an ecosystem. 
  37. What are ecosystem services?
    The benefits experienced by organisms, including humans, that are provided by sustainable ecosystems.
  38. What is desertification?
    The change of a non-desert land into a desert, which may result form climate change or from unsustainable farming or water use.
  39. What is a watershed?
    An area of land over which the run-off drains into a body of water.
  40. What is connectivity?
    The collection of links and relationships between ecosystems that are separated geographically.
  41. What is ecotourism?
    A form of tourism that is sensitive to the health of an ecosystem and involves recreational activities provided by sustainable ecosystems.
  42. What is biodiversity?
    The number and variety of organisms found in a specific region.
  43. What does it mean "to protect"?
    To legally guard from harm a species that is listed as endangered. threatened, or of special concern.
  44. What is a biodiversity hotspot?
    A place where is an exceptionally large number of species in a relatively small area.
  45. What is a community?
    All the populations of the different species that interact in a specific area or ecosystem.
  46. What is a dominant species?
    A species that is so abundant that it has the biggest biomass of any community member.
  47. What is a keystone species?
    A species that can greatly affect the population numbers and health of an ecosystem.
  48. What is captive breeding?
    The breeding of rare endangered wildlife in controlled settings to increase the population size.
  49. What is an ecosystem engineer?
    A species that causes such dramatic changes to landscapes that it creates a new ecosystem.
  50. What is succession?
    The series of changes in an ecosystems that occurs over time following a disturbance.
  51. What is habitat loss?
    The destruction of habitats, which usually results from human activities.
  52. What is deforestation?
    The practice of clearing forests for logging or other human uses, and never replanting them.
  53. What are alien species?
    A species that is accidentally or deliberately introduced to a new location, usually a result of human activity.
  54. What is overexploitation?
    The use or extraction of a resource until it is depleted.
  55. What is extinction?
    The death of all individuals of a species.
  56. What is the biodiversity crisis?
    The current accelerated rate of extinctions on Earth.
  57. What is stewardship?
    The active assumption of responsibility for the welfare of the environment.
  58. What is restoration ecology?
    The renewal of degraded or destroyed ecosystems through human intervention.
  59. What is reforestation?
    The regrowth of a forest, either through the planting of seeds or trees in an area where a forest was cut down.
  60. What is biocontrol?
    The use of a species to control the population growth or spread of an undesirable species.
  61. What is bioremediation?
    The use of living organisms to clean up contaminated areas naturally.
  62. What is bioaugmentation?
    The use of organisms to add essential nutrients to depleted soils.