Level 32
Level 33

Ecosystems & Communities


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weather
Day-to-day conditions of Earth's atmosphere
climate
Average year-after-year patterns of temperature and precipitation
microclimate
Environmental conditions within a small area that differs significantly from the climate of the surrounding area
greenhouse effect
Situation in which heat is retained in Earth's atmosphere due to accumulation of greenhouse gases
tolerance
The ability to survive and reproduce under a range of environmental conditions
habitat
The general place where an organism lives
niche
What an organism does and how it interacts with the abiotic and biotic factors in the environment
resource
Any necessity of life, such as water, nutrients, light, food and space
competitive exclusion principle
The rule that says that no two species can occupy exactly the same niche in the same habitat at exactly the same time
predation
Interaction in which one organism (the predator) captures and feeds on another organism (the prey)
herbivory
Interaction in which one animal feeds on producers
keystone species
A species in which a change in its population causes a dramatic change in the structure of the community
symbiosis
Any relationship in which two organisms live closely together
mutualism
A relationship between organisms in which both benefit
parasitism
A relationship in which one organism lives on or inside of another organism and harms it
commensalism
A relationship where one organism benefits and the other is neither helped nor harmed
ecological succession
A series of somewhat predictable changes that occur in a community over time
primary succession
A succession that begins in an area where there are no remnants of an older ecosystem
pioneer species
The first species to arrive or colonize a barren area
secondary succession
A succession that occurs in an area where remnants of a previous ecosystem, such as soil, remain
canopy
The dense, leafy covering formed by tall trees
understory
The shaded area just below the canopy that is characterized by shorter trees and vines
deciduous
A plant that sheds its leaves during a particular season
coniferous
Trees that produce seed-bearing cones, most with leaves shaped like needles
humus
Material formed from decaying leaves and other organic matter
taiga
Dense forests of conifers along the northern edge of the temperate zone; also called boreal forests
permafrost
A layer of permanently frozen subsoil found in the tundra
photic zone
Sunlit region near the surface of a body of water in which photosynthesis can occur
aphotic zone
Dark region in a body of water where no photosynthesis occurs; below the photic zone
benthos
Organisms living on, or in, rocks and sediments at the bottom of lakes, streams, or oceans
plankton
Phytoplankton (photosynthetic algae) and zooplankton (free floating small animals)
wetland
Ecosystem in which water either covers the soil or is present at or near the surface for at least part of the year
estuary
A special kind of wetland, formed where a river meets the sea
Level 34