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General Ecology Terms


General Ecology Terms 1. Biotic Factor of or relating to life; caused or produced by living beings. Ex. plants, animals, any organism. 2. Community all the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: General Ecology Terms

General Ecology Terms
  • 1. Biotic Factor of or relating to life caused
    or produced by living beings. Ex. plants,
    animals, any organism.
  • 2. Community all the populations of organisms
    living in a given area.
  • 3. Consumer There are two kinds Primary
    consumers are organisms that eat plants.
    Secondary consumers are organisms that eat
    animals that eat plants. Also called carnivores.
  • 4. Decomposers An organism that feeds on dead
    material and causes its mechanical or chemical
    breakdown. For example Fungi and bacteria are
  • 5. Ecosystem All the living organisms interacting
    with each other and the non-living
    characteristics of an area.
  • 6. Habitat A native environment of an animal or
    plant which provides food, water, shelter and
    space suitable to its needs.
  • 7. Limiting factor The condition which inhibits
    the expansion of a species.
  • 8. Populations individuals of one species that
    occupies a particular geographic area
  • 9. Producer Green plants that produce their own
    food from soil and sunlight.
  • 10. Succession The gradual change of one
    community by another.

More Ecology Terms
  • 11. organic Pertaining to compounds containing
    carbon plus hydrogen. Also refers to living
    things or the materials made by living things.
  • 12. inorganic Not containing carbon and hydrogen
    in combination. Not from living things. Ex.,
    minerals, water, oxygen, carbon dioxide etc.
  • 13. biosphere The portion of the earth and its
    atmosphere in which living organisms exist or
    that is capable of supporting life.
  • 14. heterotroph "eats others." An organism that
    must consume other organisms to fuel its
  • 15. autotroph "self eater." Organisms capable of
    producing their own food.
  • 16. Niche the way in which an organism uses its
  • 17. Detritus particles of organic material that
    provide food for organisms at the base of a food
    web Ex leaf litter
  • 18. Abiotic Factor physical, or nonliving, factor
    that shapes an ecosystem.

  • branch of science concerned with the
    interrelationship of organisms and their

Photosynthesis Chemosynthesis
Producer Green plants that produce their own food
from soil and sunlight
autotroph "self eater." Organisms capable of
producing their own food.
Food Chain
  • food chain/food web All the interactions of
    predator and prey, included along with the
    exchange of nutrients into and out of the soil.
    These interactions connect the various members of
    an ecosystem, and describe how energy passes from
    one organism to another.

Food Web
Ecological Pyramids
  • Ecologist use ecological pyramids to represent
    the energy relationships among trophic levels.
  • There are 3
  • types of
  • ecological
  • pyramids.

Pyramid of Energy
  • A pyramid of energy the total amount of incoming
    energy at each successive level.
  • Notice that energy (in the form of heat) is lost
    going from one trophic level to another.

Pyramid of Biomass
  • A pyramid of biomass show the total mass of
    living tissue at each level.
  • This pyramid of biomass shows for example, that a
    large amount of grass is needed to feed a single
    rabbit and a large number of rabbits is needed to
    nourish a single hawk.

Pyramid of Numbers
  • A pyramid of numbers illustrates the total number
    of organisms at each level
  • In a grassland, for
  • example, a large amount of grass (producers)
    is needed to support the herbivores (primary

2000 grass plants25 voles1 barn owl
Pyramid of Numbers
  • pyramids of numbers do not always appear as
    pyramids. Look at this one
  • If the producer (in this example an oak tree) is
    a large plant, then the number of primary
    consumers which feed on the producer
    (caterpillars in this example) will be much
    larger in numbers.

Water Cycle
Carbon and Oxygen Cycle
Phosphorus cycle
Nitrogen Cycle
Denitrification When nitrogen in compounds is
released into the air
79 of the air is nitrogen
Nitrogen fixation the assimilation of
atmospheric nitrogen by soil bacteria and its
release for plant use
Nitrification the oxidation of ammonium compounds
in dead organic material into nitrates and
nitrites by soil bacteria (making nitrogen
available to plants)
Biogeochemical Cycles
  • All of the matter that cycles through the earth
    and living things. Ex. Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen,
    Phosphorous, Water, etc.
  • The difference between matter and energy flow is
    that energy can flows in one direction but matter
    (or nutrients) is neither created nor destroyed
    it gets recycled.

Biological Magnification
  • The process by which concentrations of a harmful
    substance increases in organisms at higher
    trophic levels in a food chain or food web.
  • It affects the entire food web but top-level
    carnivores are at highest risk.
  • 1962 Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring about the
    dangers of a pesticide called DDT, which was
    banned in 1970. One effect of DDT was to make the
    eggs of large fish eating birds so fragile that
    they could not survive intact.

Biotic Factors
  • Biotic relating to, or caused by living organisms
  • Biotic factor Factors such as parasitism,
    disease, competition and predation (one animal
    eating another) would also be classified as
    biotic factors.

Abiotic Factors
  • refers to nonliving objects, substances or
  • The abiotic factors of the environment include
    light, temperature, and atmospheric gases.

Symbiosis - Organisms and their interactions with
other organisms
  • Parasitism-relationship in which one species, the
    parasite, benefits at the expense of the other,
    the host

Symbiosis- Mutualism
  • An association between organisms of two different
    species in which each member benefits

Symbiosis - Commensalism
  • relationship between two organisms of different
    species in which one derives some benefit while
    the other is unaffected.

  • The gradual and orderly process of change in an
    ecosystem brought about by the progressive
    replacement of one community by another until a
    stable climax community is established.  
  • Lichens

Pond Succesion

Mount St. Helens
Growth of Populations
  • To study the relationships between organisms,
    ecologists need to know how organisms change over
    time. How many individuals are born? How many
    die? How many organisms live in an area at any
    given time? To answer these questions, ecologist
    study populations.

Exponential growth
  • Growth is accelerating. When introduced into
    a favorable environment with an abundance of
    resources, a small population may undergo
    geometric, or exponential growth.

Logistic Growth
  • When growth encounters environmental resistance,
    (competition, predation, parasitism, crowding and
    death due to natural disasters) populations
    experience an S-shaped or logistic growth curve.

Limiting Factors
Density Dependent Factors
  • Become limiting only when the population density
    (the number of organism per unit area) reaches a
    certain level.
  • These factors operate most strongly when a
    population is large and dense
  • They do not affect small, scattered populations

Density Independent Factors
  • Affect all populations in similar ways,
    regardless of the population size
  • Unusual weather, natural disasters, seasonal
    cycle, and certain human activities, such as
    damming rivers and clear-cutting forests are all
    examples of density-independent limiting factors

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Using Your Conservation Project Answer the
following Questions.
  1. Identify four different populations.
  2. Identify four biotic factors.
  3. Name one primary consumer.
  4. Identify two autotrophs.
  5. Identify two heterotrophs.
  6. Identify four abiotic factors.
  7. Identify four organic items.
  8. Name one secondary consumer.

  • 9. Identify two producers.
  • 10. Identify four inorganic items.
  • 11. Identify two decomposers.
  • 12. Using 4 organisms illustrate a basic food
  • 13. Using 10 organisms illustrate a basic food
  • 14. Using 4 organisms illustrate a energy
  • 15. Explain the problem that is causing your
    environment to be destroyed. (at least 20 words)
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