Ecology Key Terms

  • Created by: daydream
  • Created on: 27-05-19 20:19


Non-living chemical and physical parts of the environment that affect living organisms and the functioning of ecosystem.

Abiotic factors include:

  • light intensity
  • temperature
  • moisture levels
  • soil pH and mineral content
  • wind intensity and direction
  • carbon dioxide levels for plants
  • oxygen levels for aquatic animals
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A feature of an organism's body which helps it to survive

For example:

  • The pelage of snow leopards help them to blend in with their surroundings.
  • Polar bears have black skin to absorb the sun's heat.
  • Cacti have a green stem which performs photosynthesis.
  • Camels have large, flat feet to spread their weight on sand.
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Living elements of an ecosystem, such as plants and animals

Biotic factors which can affect an environment include:

  • Availability of food
  • New predators arriving
  • New pathogens
  • Competition
  • One species outnumbering another, so the numbers are insufficient to breed
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All the organisms that live in a habitat (plants and animals)

  • An ecosystem is the interaction between a community of living organisms and their environment
  • A community is two or more populations of organisms
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The interaction of a community of living oranisms their environment

  • An ecosystem is two or more populations of organisms in their environmen
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food chain

A sequence of feeding relationships between organisms, showing which organisms eat what and the movement of energy through trophic levels

Trophic levels:

  • Producer - plants and algae which photosynthesise
  • Primary consumer - herbivores which eat producers
  • Secondary consumer - carnivores which eat primary consumers
  • Tertiary consumber - carnivores which eat secondary consumers
  • Top predator - the final predator
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Within a community, ech species depends on other species for food, shelter, pollination, seed dispersal, etc. If one species is removed it can affect the whole community

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All the members of a single species that live within a geographical area

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All the conditions that surround a living organism

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A place where individuals in a species live

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The process by which living organisms compete with each other for limited resources 

Plants compete for:

  • light
  • space 
  • water from soil
  • minerals from soil

Animals compete for: 

  • food and water
  • mates
  • territory
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stable communities

A community where all the species and environmental factors are in balance so that population sizes remain fairly constant. Tropical rainforests and ancient oak woodlands are stable communities.

Stable communities can be disturbed by:

  • fire
  • volcano
  • deforestation
  • flood
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