Biology Chapter 4: Ecosystems and Communities

weatherCondition of the atmosphere at a specific time and place
climateOverall weather in an area over a long period of time
greenhouse effectNatural situation in which heat is retained in Earths atmosphere by carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and other gases

polar zonescold areas where the suns rays strike Earth at a very low angle
temperate zonesthe zone that sits between the polar zones and the tropics and has a climate that ranges from hot to cold, depending on the season
tropical zonesThe area between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer and between the Tropic of Capricorn where the climate is generally hot.
biotic factorsBiological influences on organisms within an ecosystem. These include the entire living cast of characters with which an organism might interact.
abiotic factorsnonliving parts of an ecosystem
habitatA place where organisms live
nicheFull range of physical and biological conditions in which an organism lives and the way in which the organism uses those conditions
resourceAny necessity of life, such as water, nutrients, light, food, or space.
competitive exclusionEcological rule that states that no two species can occupy the same exact niche in the same habitat at the same time
predationAn interaction in which one organism captures and feeds on another organism
symbiosisA close relationship between two or more species where at least one benefits
mutualismA relationship in which both species benefit
commensalismA relationship between two organisms in which one organism benefits and the other is unaffected.
parasitismA relationship in which one organism lives on or in a host and harms it.
ecological successionSeries of predictable changes that occurs in a community over time
primary successionSuccession that occurs on surfaces where no soil exists.
pioneer speciesFirst species to populate an area
secondary successionLife recovering from either partial or total destruction – soil remains ex. forest fire
biomeA group of ecosystems that share similar climates and typical organisms
toleranceAbility of an organism to survive and reproduce under circumstances that differ from their optimal conditions
microclimateClimate within a small area that differs significantly from the climate of the surrounding area
canopyDense covering formed by the leafy tops of tall rain forest trees
understoryA layer of shorter plants that grow in the shade of a forest canopy
deciduousTrees and shrubs that shed their leaves at the end of the growing season
coniferousCone-bearing trees with year-round leaves that are long, thin, and needle-like.
humusDecayed plant and animal remains which provide nutrients to plants
taigaBiome in which the winters are cold but summers are mild enough to allow the ground to thaw
permafrostLayer of permanently frozen subsoil in the tundra
planktonTiny organisms that float in the water
phytoplanktonUnicellular algae supported by nutrient in the water
zooplanktonAnimal plankton that feed on phytoplankton
wetlandAn ecosystem in which water either covers the soil or is present at or near the surface for at least part of the year.
estuariesWetlands formed where rivers meet the sea
detritusMade up of tiny pieces of organic material that provides food for organisms at the base of the estuary and food web
salt marshestemperate zones, estuaries dominated by salt tolerant grasses above the low tide line and by sea grasses under the water.
mangrove swampsCoastal wetlands that are widespread across tropical regions
photic zonewell-lit upper layer of the oceans
aphotic zonePermanently dark layer of the oceans below the photic zone
zonationProminent horizontal banding of organisms that live in a particular habitat
coastal oceanmarine zone that extends from the low-tide mark to the end of the continental shelf
kelp forestsCoastal ocean community named for its dominant organism-kelp, a giant brown alga
coral reefsDiverse and productive environment named for the coral animals that make up its primary structure
benthosorganisms (plants and animals) that live at or near the bottom of a sea