Topic 5 - Life processes in the biosphere glossary

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Abiotic factors
Physical factors such as light, water and temperature.
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Autotroph
An organism that can capture llight or chemical energy from the environment to make high-energy substnces such as carboohydrates. They include photoautotrophs and chemoautotrophs.
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Biome
A large geographical region with particular climatic features, in which a characteristic, unique community of species live.
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Biosphere
All the living organisms on Earth.
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Biotic factors
Biological factors such as food and disease.
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Carrying capacity
The greatest population that can be supported sustainably in an area.
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Cellulase
An enzyme that digests cellulose that is produced by some bacteria, fungi and protozoans.
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Cellulose
The carbohydrate made of linked glucose molecules, which is a major component of plant cell walls and wood.
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Climax community
The community of organisms at the end of primary succession.
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Community
The population of all the species living in a particular area.
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Density-dependent factors
A factor which is affected by the density of the population, e.g. food supply and disease.
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Density-independent factors
A factor that is not influenced by the population of the species, e.g. droughts and volcanic eruptions.
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Ecological succession
The sequences of changes in community composition that changes as an area is colonised and develops until a climax community is eventually produced.
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Ecosystem
The community of organisms living in an area, their inter-relationships and interactions with their abiotic environment.
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Edaphic
A factor related to soil, particularly as it affects living organisms.
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Exoskeleton
A skeleton on the outside of an organism found in insects and crustaceans.
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Genus
A group of closely related species.
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Habitat
The place where an organism, species or population lives.
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Heterotroph
An organism that gains its organic compounds for energy and growth from other organisms.
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Inter-species competition
A form of competition of which individuals of different species compete for the same resource in an ecosystem, e.g. food or living space.
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Intra-species competition
A form of competition of which members of the same species compete for limited resources.
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Lithosere
The sequence of changes in community composition as bare rock is colonised and becomes a terrestrial climax community.
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Mycorrhizal fungi
Symbiotic fungi associated with plant roots that gain carbohydrates from the plants and aid the uptake of nutrients such as phosphates from the soil by the plants.
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Niche
The niche of a species is the role it plays in its habitat, which includes how it makes use of resources and responds to the other species in its habitat.
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Pioneer species
The species which is the first to colonise an ecosystem.
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Plagioclimax
A community of species that does not develop to a natural climax, but is maintained by external influences including human activities such as burning, grazing or ploughing.
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Pollination
The transfer of the male plant gametes onto the female part of a flower, resulting in fertilisation and seed production.
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Population
All the individuals of a species living in a particular area.
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Sigmoidal population growth
The growth pattern of a population where abundant resources allow rapid growth followed by population stabilisation as the carrying capacity is reached.
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Species
A group of organisms that resemble each other more than other organisms and naturally interbreed to produce fertile offspring.
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Symbiosis
A relationship between organisms of different species that live together. One benefits while the other species may benefit, be unaffected or suffer.
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Taxon
A group of organisms based on their biological similarities.
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Taxonomy
The study of organisms to assess how they may be grouped or classified.
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Turbulence
The roughness of the environment caused by chaotic air or water flow.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

An organism that can capture llight or chemical energy from the environment to make high-energy substnces such as carboohydrates. They include photoautotrophs and chemoautotrophs.

Back

Autotroph

Card 3

Front

A large geographical region with particular climatic features, in which a characteristic, unique community of species live.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

All the living organisms on Earth.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Biological factors such as food and disease.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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