Biodiversity vocab (community ecology)

alien species
Species that migrate into an ecosystem or are deliberately or accidentally introduced into an ecosystem by humans.
annual
Plant that grows, sets seed, and dies in one growing season.
climax community
Fairly stable, self-sustaining community in an advanced stage of ecological succession; usually has a diverse array of species and ecological niches; captures and uses energy and cycles critical chemicals more efficiently than simpler, immature communities.
commensalism
An interaction between organisms of different species in which one type of organism benefits and the other type is neither helped nor harmed to any great degree.
competition
Two or more individual organisms of a single species (intraspecific competition) or two or more individuals of different species (interspecific competition) attempting to use the same scarce resources in the same ecosystem.
disturbance
A discrete event that disrupts an ecosystem or community. Examples of natural disturbances include fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, and floods.

Examples of human-caused disturbances include deforestation, overgrazing, and plowing.

ecological succession
Process in which communities of plant and animal species in a particular area are replaced over time by a series of different and often more complex communities.
ecosystem services
Process in which communities of plant and animal species in a particular area are replaced over time by a series of different and often more complex communities.
exotic species
Species that migrate into an ecosystem or are deliberately or accidentally introduced into an ecosystem by humans.
foundation species
Species that plays a major role in shaping communities by creating and enhancing a habitat that benefits other species.
habitat fragmentation
Breakup of a habitat into smaller pieces, usually as a result of human activities.

host
Plant or animal on which a parasite feeds.
immature community
Community at an early stage of ecological succession. It usually has a low number of species and ecological niches and cannot capture and use energy and cycle critical nutrients as efficiently as more complex, mature communities.
immigrant species
Species that migrate into an ecosystem or are deliberately or accidentally introduced into an ecosystem by humans.
indicator species
Species that serve as early warnings that a community or ecosystem is being degraded.

inertia
Ability of a living system to resist being disturbed or altered.
interspecific competition
attempts by members of two or more species to use the same limited resources in an ecosystem.
intraspecific competition
competition Attempts by two or more organisms of a single species to use the same limited resources in an ecosystem.
invasive species
Species that migrate into an ecosystem or are deliberately or accidentally introduced into an ecosystem by humans.

keystone species
Species that play roles affecting many other organisms in an ecosystem.
mature community
Fairly stable, self-sustaining community in an advanced stage of ecological succession; usually has a diverse array of species and ecological niches; captures and uses energy and cycles critical chemicals more efficiently than simpler, immature communities.
mutualism
Type of species interaction in which both participating species generally benefit.
native species
Species that normally live and thrive in a particular ecosystem.
nonnative species
Species that migrate into an ecosystem or are deliberately or accidentally introduced into an ecosystem by humans.
parasite
Consumer organism that lives on or in and feeds on a living plant or animal, known as the host, over an extended period of time. The parasite draws nourishment from and gradually weakens its host; it may or may not kill the host.
parasitism
Interaction between species in which one organism, called the parasite, preys on another organism, called the host, by living on or in the host.
pathogen
Organism that produces disease.
perennial
Plant that can live for more than 2 years.
pioneer community
First integrated set of plants, animals, and decomposers found in an area undergoing primary ecological succession.
pioneer species
First hardy species, often microbes, mosses, and lichens, that begin colonizing a site as the first stage of ecological succession.
predation
Situation in which an organism of one species (the predator) captures and feeds on parts or all of an organism of another species (the prey).
predator
Organism that captures and feeds on parts or all of an organism of another species (the prey).
predator-prey relationship
Interaction between two organisms of different species in which one organism, called the predator, captures and feeds on parts or all of another organism, called the prey.
prey
Organism that is captured and serves as a source of food for an organism of another species (the predator).
primary succession
Ecological succession in a bare area that has never been occupied by a community of organisms.
resilience
Ability of a living system to restore itself to original condition after being exposed to an outside disturbance that is not too drastic.
secondary succession
Ecological succession in an area in which natural vegetation has been removed or destroyed but the soil is not destroyed.
species evenness
Abundance of individuals within each species contained in a community.
species richness
Number of different species contained in a community.
succession
See ecological succession, primary succession, secondary succession.
threshold effect
The harmful or fatal effect of a small change in environmental conditions that exceeds the limit of tolerance of an organism or population of a species.
tolerance limits
Minimum and maximum limits for physical conditions (such as temperature) and concentrations of chemical substances beyond which no members of a particular species can survive.