Ecology Glossary Terms - Chapter 1

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  1. Ecosystem
    • def: All the interacting parts (biotic and abiotic) of a biological community and its environment.
    • e.g: forest, pond, arctic, ocean, puddle, tundra, jungle, rainforest
  2. Sustainable Ecosystem
    • def: An ecosystem that is capable of withstanding pressure and giving support to a variety of organisms.
    • All organisms need sustainable ecosystems to survive.
    • e.g: animals such as birds that migrate in the winter need more than one ecosystem to survive
  3. Biotic
    • def: All the living or recently living parts of an ecosystem.  This includes the interactions between the livings things in an ecosystem.
    • e.g: plants (producers), animals, microorganisms and fungi (consumers)
    • *There are 3 different types biotic interactions:
    • Symbiosis (interactions between 2 different species that live closely)
    • Predation (one organism consumes another)
    • Competition (two or more species compete for the same resources)
  4. Abiotic
    • def: All the non-living parts of the ecosystem that organisms need to survive.
    • e.g: water, air (oxygen), light, chemical nutrients and soil
  5. Lithosphere
    • def: Hard part of Earth's surface.
    • Includes rock and soil
  6. Hydrosphere
    • def: Liquid part of Earth's surface.
    • Includes saltwater oceans, freshwater lakes and rivers
  7. Atmosphere
    • def: Layer of gases above Earth's surface.
    • Includes air
  8. Biosphere
    • def: Living part of Earth's surface.
    • Not separate from other abiotic spheres because there are life forms underground, in freshwater/saltwater and in the atmosphere.
    • Includes life in soil, water and air
  9. Nutrients
    def: Chemicals that are needed by living things to survive.  They are cycled through Earth's  ecosystems/spheres.
  10. Eutrophication
    • def: The process of adding nitrogen or phosphorous to an ecosystem that pushes it beyond the normal nutrient cycle and beyond sustainability.
    • e.g: when too much fertilizer gets into bodies of water, it causes algae to grow, which blocks sunlight from getting to aquatic plants and reduces the amount of oxygen for fish, which causes them to die.
  11. Photosynthesis
    • def: Conversion of solar energy to chemical energy, to be used as "food".  (CO2 enters through leaves and H2O enters through roots)
    • equation: carbon dioxide+water (light and chlorophyll are also needed) = glucose (sugar) and oxygen
    • chemical equation: 6CO2+6H2O=C6H12O6 and 6O2
    • carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are put together to make glucose

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  12. Trophic Level
    • def: Categories of organisms defined by how the organisms gain energy.
    • *there are 2 main groups in trophic levels:
    • Primary Producers (make their own food [plants])
    • Consumers (cannot make their own food; must eat other organisms to survive)
    • food chains are used to show trophic levels in ecosystems and pyramids are used to show how energy moves through the trophic levels

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  13. Biomass
    def: The total mass of living organisms in a defined group or area.
  14. Trophic Efficiency
    • def: A measure of the amount of energy or biomass transferred from one trophic level to the next higher trophic level.
    • *Always less than 100% because not all of the lower organism is eaten, not all is digested, and energy is lost as heat.  Only around 10% is passed on.  (the reason why there are less carnivores than herbivores and less herbivores than plants)

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  15. Bioaccumulation
    • def: A process in which materials, especially toxins, are ingested by an organism at a rate greater than they are eliminated.
    • Bioaccumulation of toxins from pollution caused by humans can be harmful to a species.  (DDT and PCB's)
  16. Biomagnification
    def: The increase in the concentration of a toxin as it moves from one trophic level to the next.

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  17. Cellular Respiration
    • def: A process that releases energy from glucose (sugar).  It is opposite to photosynthesis because it consumes oxygen and produces carbon dioxide.
    • The most common and efficient way to extract and break down energy from glucose.  (plants, animals, fungi and other organisms use cellular respiration to do this)
  18. Fermentation
    def: A process that releases energy from organic molecules, especially carbohydrates, in the absence  of oxygen.
  19. Greenhouse Gases
    • def: Atmospheric gas that prevents heat from leaving the atmosphere, therefore increasing the temperature of the atmosphere.
    • e.g: water vapour, carbon dioxide and methane
    • Without greenhouse gases, the Earth's temperature would be less than 0o celcius.
  20. Greenhouse Effect
    • def: The warming of Earth as a result of greenhouse gases, which trap some of the energy that would otherwise leave Earth.
    • It is called the greenhouse effect because the gases trap heat, the same way as the glass traps heat in greenhouses.
  21. Acid Precipitation
    • def: Rain, snow or fog that is unnaturally acidic due to gases in the atmosphere that react with water to form acids.
    • The burning of fossil fuels releases nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, which combine with water to form nitric and sulfuric acid.  These acids lower the pH of precipitation and fall as acid precipitation.
    • Acid precipitation causes a loss of nutrients in forest soil, problems for fish in aquatic ecosystems and kills organisms directly or through the food chain.
Card Set
Ecology Glossary Terms - Chapter 1
Grade 9 Science Ecology Terms - Chapter 1 of 3
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