Ecology Key Vocabulary

Mix of AS/A2 ecology vocabulary

Biosphere
Part of the Earth and its atmosphere that is inhabited by living organisms
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Ecosystem
A biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment
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Abiotic factors
Non-biological factors that affect an ecosystem; they include physical and chemical factors like soil pH and climate
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Biotic factors
Biology factors that affect an ecosystem; they include factors determined by organisms such as predation and competition
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Anthropogenic factors
Human factors that influence an ecosystem
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Habitat
A place with a distinct set of conditions where an organism lives
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Population
Group of interbreeding individuals of the same species found in an area
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Community
Various populations in an area
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Niche
The way an organism exploits its environment
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Competition
Interaction between animal or plant species, or individual organisms, that are attempting to gain a share of a limited environmental resource
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Predation
The preying of one animal on others
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Species richness
The number of species in a given habitat
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Species evenness
How close in numbers each species in an environment is; how even species numbers are in one given ecosystem
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Biodiversity
The variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat, a high level of which is usually considered to be important and desirable
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Succession
The process by which a plant or animal community successively gives way to another until a stable climax is reached
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Primary succession
Occurs upon newly formed habitats on bare inorganic surfaces
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Pioneer species
First organisms to colonise a bare inorganic surface
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Sere
Name given to each stage of succession
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Climax community
Stable community reached after primary succession; usually composed of trees and shrubs
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Secondary succession
When the climax community is destroyed e.g. by a forest fire and succession begins again
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Deflected succession
Community that only remains stable because human activity prevents succession from running its course
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Primary productivity
The rate at which energy is incorporated into organic molecules in an ecosystem
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Autotrophs
Also known as producers; they can make their own organic compounds from inorganic compounds e.g. plants use sunlight to create glucose
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Chemosynthetic autotrophs
They make organic molecules using energy released from chemical reactions
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Heterotrophs
Organisms that obtain energy as 'ready-made' organic matter by ingesting material from other organisms
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Food chain
Shows feeding relationships between different organisms
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Food web
System of interlocking and interdependent food chains
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Primary consumers
Herbivores
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Secondary consumers
Carnivores
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Tertiary consumers
Top of the food chain; can be carnivores or omnivores
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Trophic level
Position each species occupies in a food chain; energy is lost from one trophic level to the next in a food chain
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Detritivores
Primary consumers that feed on dead organic material
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Detritus
Dead organic material
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Decomposers
Species of bacteria and fungi that feed on the dead remains of organisms and animal faeces
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Limiting factors
Factors that influence the rate of photosynthesis e.g. light, CO2 concentration, temperature
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Photosynthesis
The process by which plants create glucose from light energy, carbon dioxide and water; sunlight + H2O + CO2 -> glucose + O2
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

A biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment

Back

Ecosystem

Card 3

Front

Non-biological factors that affect an ecosystem; they include physical and chemical factors like soil pH and climate

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Biology factors that affect an ecosystem; they include factors determined by organisms such as predation and competition

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Human factors that influence an ecosystem

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
View more cards

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