a biological community of interacting organisms and their environment
An ecosystem that is capable of resisting pressure and preserving a great diversity of organisms. Examples: rainforests, tropical grasslands.
All the living or recently living parts of an ecosystem. Consists of plants, animals, microorganisms and fungi.
The non-living parts of the ecosystem that organisms need to survive. Consists of water, soil, air (oxygen), sun (light) and chemical nutrients.
Earth's solid outer layer, includes the rigid crust and the upper mantle. It extends 100 km down from the surface and runs under oceans and continents. It is home to many microorganisms, plants, animals and fungi.
All the water on Earth, including lakes, oceans, and ground water.
The layer of gases above the Earth's surface.
Water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere absorb sunlight and retain the Sun's energy as heat, warming the planet to temperatures suitable for life.
The lower atmosphere contains oxygen which many organisms need to survive.
The higher atmosphere contains ozone which protects organisms in the biosphere from the sun's harmful ultra-violet radiation.
The part of the planet including water, land and air, where living organisms exist.
chemicals that are needed by living things and are continually cycled through ecosystems.
A process in which nutrient levels (nitrogen and phosphorus levels) in aquatic ecosystems increase pushing it beyond the normal nutrient cycle and sustainability. It causes algal blooms that blocks sunlight from reaching plants and reduces the amount of oxygen available to fish and other organisms, so they die.
A process that changes solar energy into chemical energy.
Carbon dioxide+water in the presence of sunlight and using chlorophyll in the leaves produce glucose+oxygen gas.
A category of organisms that is defined by how the organisms gain their energy. Levels in the food chain.
The total mass of living organisms in a defined group or area. The mass of living cells and tissues that has been assembled by organisms using solar energy.
a measure of the amount of energy or biomass transferred from one trophic level to the next higher trophic level.
A process in which materials, especially toxins, are ingested by an organism at a rate greater than they are eliminated.
The increase in the concentration of a toxin as it moves from one trophic level to the next.
A process that releases energy from organic molecules in the presence of oxygen.
Used by most living organisms E.g. humans, bacteria, plants.
Essential to life
A process that releases energy from organic molecules, especially carbohydrates, in the absence of oxygen.
Atmospheric gases that prevent heat from leaving the atmosphere, thus increasing the temperature of the atmosphere.
the warming of the Earth as a result of greenhouse gases, which trap some of the energy that would otherwise leave Earth.
Rain, snow, or fog that is unnaturally acidic due to gases in the atmosphere that react with water to form acids (nitric acid and sulfuric acid).