Term Definition
Abiotic An environmental factor that is not associated with the activities of living organisms.
biogeochemical cycle
biotic An environmental factor that is associated with or results from the activities of living organisms.
carbon cycle The movement of carbon from the nonliving environment into living things and back.
commensalism A relationship between two organisms in which one organism benefits and the other is unaffected.
competition Ecological relationship in which two or more organisms depend on the same limited resource.
Consumer An organism that eats other organisms or organic matter.
decomposer An organism that gets energy by breaking down the remains of dead organisms or animal wastes and consuming or absorbing the nutrients.
ecology The study of the interactions of living organisms with one another and with their environment.
ecosystem A community of organisms and their abiotic, or nonliving, environment.
energy pyramid A triangular diagram that shows an ecosystem's loss of energy, which results as energy passes through the ecosystem's food chain; each row in the pyramid represents a trophic feeding level in an ecosystem, and the area of a row represents the energy store
food chain The pathway of energy transfer through various stages as a result of the feeding patterns of a series of organisms.
food web A diagram that shows the feeding relationships between organisms in an ecosystem.
limiting factor An environmental factor that prevents an organism or population from reaching its full potential of size or activity.
mutualism A relationship between two species in which both species benefit.
parasitism A relationship between two species in which one species, the parasite, benefits from the other species, the host, which is harmed.
predator An organism that kills and eats all or part of another organism
prey An organism that is killed and eaten by another orginism
primary consumer
producer An organism that can make its own food by using energy from its surroundings.
secondary consumer
symbiosis A relationship in which two different organisms live in close association with each other.
tertiary consumer
trophic level
water cycle The continuous movement of water between the atmosphere, the land, the oceans, and living things.
Habitat A living things environment
Niche The role of a living thing in that certain environment

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