Matter and Energy in Ecosystems Vocabulary

Term Definition
matter anything that has mass and takes up space
energy the ability to do work
photosynthesis process by which plants and other autotrophs capture and use light energy to make food from carbon dioxide and water
autotroph an organism that is able to capture energy from the sunlight or chemicals and use it to produce its own food
heterotroph an organism that cannot make its own food and gets its energy by consuming other living things
chlorophyll green photosynthetic pigment found in the chloroplasts of plants, algae, and some bacteria
glucose the sugar (food) that is made during photosynthesis
stomata small openings in leaves that allow water to evaporate and gases to be exchanged
carbon cycle the process by which oxygen is recycle in ecosystems
water cycle the continuous process by which water moves from Earth's surface to the atmosphere and back
producer an organism that can make its own food
consumer an organism obtains energy by feeding on other organisms
decomposer an organism that breaks down wastes and dead organisms
scavenger a carnivore that feeds on the bodies of dead organisms
food chain a series of events in which one organism eats another and obtains energy
food web the many overlapping food chains in an ecosystem
energy pyramid a diagram that shows how much energy moves from one energy level to another

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