Jose Luis Martinez Jr. September 23, 2013

Ecology Definitions

1. Ecology- scientific study of all the interrelationships between organisms and their environment.
2. Biosphere- relatively thins layer of Earth and its atmosphere that supports life.
3. Biotic factor- any living factor in an organism’s environment.
4. Abiotic factor- any nonliving factor in an organism’s environment such as soil, water, temperature, and light availability.
5. Population- group of organisms of the same species that occupy the same geographic place at the same time.
6. Biological community- all the inter acting populations of different species that live in the same geographic location at the same time.
7. Ecosystem- biological community and all the interrelationships between organisms and their environment.
8. Biome- Large group of ecosystems that share the same climate and have similar types of communities.
9. Habitat- Physical area in which an organism lives.
10. Niche- Role, or position, of an organism in it’s environment.
11. Predation- act of an organism feeding on another organism.
12. Symbiosis- close mutualistic, parasite, or commensal association between two or more species that live together.
13. Mutualism- symbiotic relationship in which both organisms benefit
14. Commensalism- symbiotic relationship in which one organism benefits and the other organism is neither helped nor harmed.
15. Parasitism- symbiotic relationship in which on organism benefits at the expense of another organism.
16. Autotroph- organism that captures energy from sunlight or inorganic substances to produce its own food; provides the foundation of the food supply for other organisms; also called a producer.
17. Heterotroph- organism that cannot make its own food and gets its nutrients and energy requirements by feeding on other organisms; also called a consumer.
18. Carnivore- Heterotroph that preys on other heterotrophs.
19. Herbivore- heterotroph that only eats plants.
20. Omnivore- heterotroph that consumes both plants and animals.
21. Detritivore- heterotroph that decomposes organic material and returns the nutrients to soil, air, and water making nutrients available to other organisms.
22. Trophic level – Each step in food chain or food web.
23. Food chain- simplified model that shows a single path for energy flow through an ecosystem.
24. Food web- model that shows many interconnected food chains and pathways in which energy and matter flow through an ecosystem,
25. Biomass- total mass of living matter at each trophic level.