Flashcards in Ecology Deck (39):
What is Ecology?
The study of living things in relation of each other and their non-living environment.
What is a community?
All the populations living and interacting in a given environment.
What is an eco-system?
A self-sustaining dynamic community of organisms and their non-living environment. it includes organisms, abiotic factors and energy flow.
What are biome?
A major ecological grouping of organisms on a broad geographical basis; characterised by its climatic and soil conditions. The predominant plants give the biome its name.
What is the bio-sphere?
A part of the earth (soil, water, ai) that contains living organisms.
What are the five chemical elements that are cycled between organisms and their environment?
Nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, phosphorus.
Compare herbivore to carnivore?
A herbivore: plant - eating animal.
eg. horse, cow, sheep.
A carnivore: meat loving animal eg. Lion, vulture.
What is an omnivore?
Animals that eats both plants and animals.
Contrast predator with scavenger.
Both carnivores: predators kill animals to eat (lion, hawks, wolfs) and scavengers eat dead organisms that they did not kill (vulture, raccoon, crab)
What is the food chain?
The series of organisms through which food energy is passed beginning with produces.
Example: green plants ---> mice ---> snakes.
What are the four major class of organisms in the food chain?
Producers (pants and protists)
Primary consumers (herbivores)
secondary consumers (carnivores)
Decomposers eg bacteria.
What is the food web?
Overlapping and interconnecting food chains where many organisms eat or are eaten by several other organisms.
What is a biomass pyramid?
It exemplifies the energy loss at each trophic level. The total amount of organic matter (biomass) has a pyramid structure because the total mass of consumers is less than the total mass of producers.
What is a niche?
The combination of an organism's habitat and its role in its environment.
What are ecological succession?
Process by which one community is gradually replaced by another in a progression to a climax community.
What is a Climax community?
The final stage of ecological succession; it is stable and self-perpetuating and persists unless changed or destroyed by environmental change.
eg. old-growth forest.
What are pioneer organisms?
The organisms that first populate a community.
What are the six major land biomes?
temperate deciduous forest
tropical rain forest
What are Tundra?
Treeless regions in the far north; permanently frozen subsoil (permafrost)
Plants; moss, lichen, small plants
Animals; polar bears, birds
What are Taiga?
Northernmost forests below the tundra.
Plants: coniferous trees.
Animals: moose, wolves, rodents birds.
What are temperate deciduous forests.
Contains trees that shed leaves during cold wintes and grow them during warm summer.
Plants: maple, oak.
Animals: deer fox squirrel.
What are tropical rain forests?
Region of high temperature and abundant rainfall; located near the equator; richest terrestrial biome in terms of numbers of plant and animal species, especially birds, insects and vines.
What are grasslands?
Less rainfall than deciduous forests.
grasses and small leafy plants
grazing animals like bison.
What is the desert?
Plants, cactus, water-conserving plants.
land biome with the least amount of precipitation (less than 25 cm per year)
Extreme temperature difference between night and day.
What are saprophytes?
An organism that obtains its energy and nutrition from once living organic matter, e.g. mild, mildew, mushrooms.
What is a decomposer?
An organism that breaks down dead organic material to obtain energy and raw materials for life.
Examples : saprophytic bacteria, fungi.
What is symbiosis?
The living together (more or less permanently) of two or more dissimilar organisms in which one or both may benefit or be harmed.
What is mutualism?
A symbiosis in which two or more organisms live together in such a way that boy benefit from the relationship. e.g. cows - bacteria in cows intestines aid in digestion, bacteria absorb nutrients consumed by the cow.
What is parasitism?
A symbiosis in which one organism benefits but the other is harmed.
What is communalism?
A symbiosis in which one organism benefits while the other is unaffected.
What is a population?
Any group of individuals of the same species living in a given area at the same time.
What is the trophic level?
A stage in the movement of energy and nutrients through an ecosystem.
Examples: autotrophs, primary consumers etc.
What is a producer?
An autotroph; an organism that can produce its own food from inorganic substance. eg. plants algae.
What is a consumer?
A heterotroph: an organism that feeds on other organisms or their products. Eg cows and humans.
What are limiting factors?
An environmental condition that prevents a population from growing to its potential. Food, space, water.
What is the photic zone?
The narrow top layer of the ocean where light penetrates so photosynthesis can occur.
What is the Aphotic Zone?
The part of the ocean beneath the photic zone where light does not penetrate sufficiently for photosynthesis to occur.
What is a predator?
An organism that hunts and consumes another organism.