APES Chapter 4 Vocabulary

Any form of life
Cell containing a nucleus, a region of genetic material surrounded by a membrane. Membranes also enclose several of the other internal parts found in a eukaryotic cell
Cell that does not have a distinct nucleus. Other internal parts are also not enclosed by membranes
Group of organisms that resemble one another in appearance, behavior, chemical makeup and processes, and genetic structure. Organisms that reproduce sexually are classified as members of the same species only if they can actually or potentially interbreed with one another and produce fertile offspring
Asexual reproduction
Reproduction in which a mother cell divides to produce two identical daughter cells that are clones of the mother cell. This type of reproduction is common in single-celled organisms.
Sexual reproduction
Reproduction in organisms that produce offspring by combining sex cells, or gametes (such as ovum and sperm), from both parents.

This produces offspring that have combinations of traits from their parents.

·         Group of individual organisms of the same species living in a particular area
• Genetic diversity
Variability in the genetic makeup among individuals within a single species
·         Place or type of place where an organism or population of organisms lives
Populations of all species living and interacting in an area at a particular time
• Ecosystem
·         Community of different species interacting with one another and with the chemical and physical factors making up its nonliving environment.
• Biosphere
Zone of earth where life is found.

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It consists of parts of the atmosphere (the troposphere), hydrosphere (mostly surface water and groundwater), and lithosphere (mostly soil and surface rocks and sediments on the bottoms of oceans and other bodies of water) where life is found. Sometimes called the ecosphere

• Atmosphere
Whole mass of air surrounding the earth
Innermost layer of the atmosphere. It contains about 75% of the mass of earth’s air and extends about 17 kilometers (11 miles) above sea level
• Stratosphere
Second layer of the atmosphere, extending about 17-48 kilometers (11-30 miles) above the earth’s surface. It contains small amounts of gaseous ozone (O3), which filters out about 95% of the incoming harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the sun
The earth’s (1) liquid water (oceans, lakes, other bodies of surface water, and underground water), (2) frozen water (polar ice caps, floating ice caps, and ice in soil, known as permafrost), and (3) small amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere
• Lithosphere
Outer shell of the earth, composed of the crust and the rigid, outermost part of the mantle outside the asthenosphere; material found in earth’s plates
Terrestrial regions inhabited by certain types of life, especially vegetation. Examples are various types of deserts, grasslands, and forests
o Climate
Physical properties of the troposphere of an area based on analysis of its weather records over a long period (at least 30 years).

The two main factors determining an area’s climate are temperature, with its seasonal variations, and the amount and distribution of precipitation

Aquatic life zone
Marine and freshwater portions of the biosphere. Examples include freshwater life zones (such as lakes and streams) and ocean or marine life zones (such as estuaries, coastlines, coral reefs, and the deep ocean).
o Ecotone
Transitional zone in which one type of ecosystem tends to merge with another ecosystem
o Range of tolerance
Range of chemical and physical conditions that must be maintained for populations of a particular species to stay alive and grow, develop, and function normally
o Limiting factor
Single factor that limits the growth, abundance, or distribution of the population of a species in an ecosystem
Organism that uses solar energy (green plant) or chemical energy (some bacteria) to manufacture the organic compounds it needs as nutrients from simple inorganic compounds obtained from its environment
any organism capable of self-nourishment by using inorganic materials as a source of nutrients and using photosynthesis or chemosynthesis as a source of energy (or light or chemical energy), as most plants and certain bacteria and protists.
o Photosynthesis
Complex process that takes place in cells of green plants.

Radiant energy from the sun is used to combine carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) to produce oxygen (O2) and carbohydrates (such as glucose, C6H12O6) and other nutrient molecules.

o Chemosynthesis
Process in which certain organisms (mostly specialized bacteria) extract inorganic compounds from their environment and convert them into organic nutrient compounds without the presence of sunlight
o   An organism that cannot synthesize its own food and is dependent on complex organic substances/compounds for nutrition
o Consumer
Organism that cannot synthesize the organic nutrients it needs and gets its organic nutrients by feeding on the tissues of producers or of other consumers
Plant-eating organism. Examples are deer, sheep, grasshoppers, and zooplankton
Animal that feeds on other animals
Tertiary consumer
Animals that feed on animal-eating animals. They feed at high trophic levels in food chains and webs. Examples are hawks, lions, bass, and sharks. Compare detritivore, primary consumer, secondary consumer
o Omnivore
Animal that can use both plants and other animals as food sources. Examples are pigs, rats, cockroaches, and people
o Scavenger
Organism that feeds on dead organisms that were killed by other organisms or died naturally.

Examples are vultures, flies, and crows

Consumer organism that feeds on detritus, parts of dead organisms, and castoff fragments and wastes of living organisms. The two principal types are detritus feeders and decomposers.
Detritus feeder
Organism that extracts nutrients from fragments of dead organisms and their cast-off parts and organic wastes. Examples are earthworms, termites, and crabs
Organism that digests parts of dead organisms and cast-off fragments and wastes of living organisms by breaking down the complex organic molecules in those materials into simpler inorganic compounds and then absorbing the soluble nutrients. Producers return most of these chemicals to the soil and water for reuse.

Decomposers consist of various bacteria and fungi

o Aerobic respiration
Complex process that occurs in the cells of most living organisms, in which nutrient organic molecules such as glucose (C6H12O6) combine with oxygen (O2) and produce carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O), and energy
Anaerobic respiration
Form of cellular respiration in which some decomposers get the energy they need through the breakdown of glucose (or other nutrients) in the absence of oxygen
Food chain
Series of organisms in which each eats or decomposes the preceding one
Trophic level
All organisms that are the same number of energy transfers away from the original source of energy (for example, sunlight) that enters an ecosystem. For example, all producers belong to the first trophic level, and all herbivores belong to the second trophic level in a food chain or a food web.
Food web
Complex network of many interconnected food chains and feeding relationships
Organic matter produced by plants and other photosynthetic producers; total dry weight of all living organisms that can be supported at each trophic level in a food chain or web; dry weight of all organic matter in plants and animals in an ecosystem; plant materials and animal wastes used as fuel
• Pyramid of energy
Diagram representing the flow of energy through each trophic level in a food chain or food web. With each energy transfer, only a small part (typically 10%) of the usable energy entering one trophic level is transferred to the organisms at the next trophic level
• Pyramid of numbers
Diagram representing the number of organisms of a particular type that can be supported at each trophic level from a given input of solar energy at the producer trophic level in a food chain or food web
• Gross primary productivity
The rate at which an ecosystem’s producers capture and store a given amount of chemical energy as biomass in a given length of time
• Net primary productivity
·         Rate at which all the plants in an ecosystem produce net useful chemical energy; equal to the difference between the rate at which the plants in an ecosystem produce useful chemical energy (gross primary productivity) and the rate at which they use some of that energy through cellular respiration
Any food, element, or compound an organism must take in to live, grow, or reproduce
• Biogeochemical cycle
Natural processes that recycle nutrients in various chemical forms from the nonliving environment to living organisms and then back to the nonliving environment.

Examples are the carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and hydrologic cycles

• Relative humidity
·         Amount of water vapor in a certain mass of air, expressed as a percentage of the maximum amount it could hold at that temperature
• Condensation nuclei
Tiny particles on which droplets of water vapor can collect.
• Dew point
Temperature at which condensation occurs for a given amount of water vapor
• Nitrogen fixation
Conversion of atmospheric nitrogen gas into forms useful to plants by lightning, bacteria, and cyanobacteria; part of the nitrogen cycle
• Nitrification
·         To oxidize (an ammonia compound) into nitric acid, nitrous acid, or any nitrate or nitrite, especially by the action of nitrobacteria
·         Production of ammonia or ammonium compounds in the decomposition of organic matter, especially through the action of bacteria
·         To reduce (nitrates or nitrites) to nitrogen-containing gases, as by bacterial action on soil