Populations and Ecosystems Vocabulary

  • 1.  Organism:  Any living thing.

    2.  Individual:  One single organism.

    3.  Population:  All of the individuals of one kind in a specified area at one time.

    4.  Community:  All the interacting populations in a specified area.

    5.  Ecosystem:  A system of interacting organisms and nonliving factors in a specified area.

    6.  Biotic:  Living organisms and products of organisms.

    7.  Abiotic:  Nonliving.

    8.  Scientific Method:  A series of steps that is used to answer a question or solve a problem.

    9.  Ask a Question:  Ask a question based on observations.

    10.  Form a Hypothesis:  A possible explanation for what you have observed.

    11.  Test the Hypothesis:  Design and conduct experiements.  Collect data from experiments.

    12.  Analyze the Results:  Use the data collected during experiments to draw conclusions.

    13.  Draw Conclusions:  Use the results of the experiment to confirm hypothesis.

    14.  Communicate Results:  Share results of experiments with other scientists.

    15.  Carrying Capacity:  The largest population that a given environment can support over a long period of time.

    16.  Coevolution:  The long-term changes that take place in two species because of their close interactions.

    17.  Commensalism:  A symbiotic relationship in which one organism benefits and the other is unaffected.

    18.  Parasitism:  A symbiotic relationship in which one organism benefits while the other is harmed.

    19.  Predator:  An organism that eats other organisms.

    20.  Prey:  An organism that is eaten by another organism.

    21.  Mutualism:  A symbiotic relationship in which both organisms benefit.

    22.  Symbiosis:  A close, long-term association between two or more species.

    23.  Innate Behavior:  A behavior that is influenced by genes and does not depend on learning.

    24.  Learned Behavior:  A behavior that has been learned from experience or observation.

    25.  Hibernation:  A period of inactivity that some animals experience in winter that helps them to survive on stored body fat.

    26.  Estivation:  A period of reduced activity that some animals experience in summer.

    27.  Communication:  A transfer of a signal from one animal to another that results in a response.

    28.  Social Behavior:  Interaction between animals of the same species.

    29.  Producer:  An organism that is able to produce its own food through photosynthesis.

    30.  Consumer:  An organism that eats other organisms.

    31.  Decomposer:  An organism that consumes parts of dead organisms and transfers all the biomass into simple chemicals.

    32.  Heterotrophs:  An organism that cannot make its own food and must eat other organisms.

    33.  Photosynthesis:  The process by which producers make energy-rich molecules from water and carbon dioxide and light.

    34.  Autotrophs:  An organism that can produce its own food.

    35.  Evolution:  The process by which populations accumulate inherited changes over time.

    36.  Selective Breeding:  The breeding of organisms that have a certain desired trait.

    37.  Natural Selection:  The process by which organisms with favorable traits survive and reproduce at a higher rate than organisms without the favorable trait.

    38.  Charles Darwin:  Developed the theory of natural selection to explain evolution.

    39.  Trait:  A distinguishing quality that can be passed from one generation to another.

    40.  Variations:  Differences in a specific trait among a species of organism.

    41.  Species:  A group of organisms that can mate with one another to produce offspring.

    42.  Fossil Record:  A historical sequence of life indicated by fossils found in layers of the Earth's crust.

    43.  Structural Adaptations:  A physical characteristic that helps an organism survive and reproduce in its environment.

    44.  Behavioral Adaptations:  A behavioral characteristic that helps an organism survive and reproduce in its environment.

    45.  Heredity:  The passing of traits from parent to offspring.

    46.  Dominant Trait:  The trait observed when at least one dominant allele for a characteristic is inherited.

    47.  Recessive Trait:  A trait that is apparent only when two recessive alleles for the same characteristic are inherited.

    48.  Genes:  Segments of DNA that carry hereditary instructions and are passed from parent to offspring.  Located on chromosomes.

    49.  Alleles:  Different forms of a single gene.

    50.  Genotype:  The inherited combination of alleles.

    51.  Phenotype:  An organism's inherited appearance.

    52.  Probability:  The mathematical chance that an event will occur.

    53.  Mendel:  Used plants to study the way traits are passed from parents to offspring.

    54.  Punnett Square:  A tool used to visualize all the possible combinations of alleles from parents.