Ap Environmental Chapter 5



Aerobic Respiration (2)

complex process that occurs in the cells of most living organisms, in which nutrient organic molecules such as glucose combine WITH oxygen and produce carbon dioxide and energy

Anaerobic Respiration (2)

form of cellular respiration in which some decomposers get the energy they need through the breakdown of glucose in the ABSENCE of oxygen

Aquatic Life Zone

Marine and freshwater portions of the ecosphere.
fresh water life zones - lakes and streams
ocean or marine life zones - estuaries, coast lines, coral reafs

Biogeochemical Cycle

Natural process that recycle nutrients in carious chemical forms from the nonliving environment.
EX. - carbon, oxygen, nitrogen


Organic matter produced by plants or other photosynthetic producers; total dry weight of all living organisms that can be supported by each trophic level in a food chain or web; dry weight of all organic matter in plants and animals in an ecosystem; plant


Terrestrial regions inhibited by certain types if life, especially vegetation.
EX. various types of deserts, grasslands, and forests


Zone of the earth where life is found. Consists of parts of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere where life is found. AKA ecosphere



Biotic Potential (2)

Maximum rate at which the population of a given species can increase when there are no limits of any sort on its rate of growth

Carbon Cycle

Cyclic movement of carbon in different chemical forms from the environment to organisms, and then back to the environment

Chemosynthesis (3)

Process in which certain organisms extract inorganic compounds from their environment and convert them into organic nutrient compounds without the presence of sunlight


Populations of all species living and interacting in an area at a particular time


Organism that cannot produce its own nutrients. Receives nutrients from the tissue of predators or other consumers
Trophic levels:


Organism that digests parts of dead organisms and cast-off fragments and wastes of living organisms; breaks down the organic molecules into simpler inorganic compounds, then absorbs the organic nutrients. Most of the chemicals pass through back into the s

Ecological Efficiency

Percentage of energy transferred from one trophic level to another in a food chain or web


Community of different organisms that interact with each other and the chemical and physical factors that make up its non-living environment


transitional area - ecosystems merge: blurring borderline between ecosystems

Food Web

Complex network of many interconnected food chains

Genetic Diversity

Variability in the genetic make-up among individuals within a single species

Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) (3)

The rate an ecosystem's producers capture and store a given amount of chemical energy as biomass in a given length of time


Place or type of place where an organism or population lives


Slightly soluble residue of undigested organic material in topsoil. Helps retain water and water-soluable nutrients, which benefit plants

Hydrologic Cycle

Collects, purifies, and distributes the earth's fixed supply of water, from the environment to living organisms and then back to the environment


Earths liquid water, frozen water and water vapor

Law of Tolerance (2)

The existence, abundance, and distribution of a species in an ecosystem and determined by whether the levels of one or more physical or chemical factors fall within the range tolerated by the species


Chemicals in upper soil are dissolved and carried to lower layers, and in some cases, groundwater

Limiting Factor

Single factor that limits the growth, abundance, or distribution of the population of a species in an ecosystem

Loams (3)

Soils containing a mixture of clay, sand, silt, and humus. Good for growing most crops.

Net Primary Productivity (NPP)

Rate at which all the plants in an ecosystem produce net useful chemical energy

Nitrogen Cycle

Cyclic movement of nitrogen into different forms of nitrogen from the environment to organisms and then bak to the environment

Nitrogen Fixation (2)

Process of combining nitrogen gas with hydrogen to form ammonia; Process of combining nitrogen gas with hydrogen to form ammonia, process in which bacteria convert nitrogen gas into nitrogen compounds plants can use to make proteins

Percolation (3)

the slow passage of a liquid through a filtering medium
EX. Rainwater filters into the soil


Ability of rock or soil to transmit fluid

Phosphorus Cycle

Movement of phosphorous in different chemical forms from the environment to organisms then back to the environment

Photosynthesis (2)

Only occurs in green plants. Radiant energy from the sun is used to combine carbon dioxide and water to produce oxygen, carbohydrates (glucose), and other nutrient molecules


Group of organisms of the same species living within a particular area


Percentage of space between the grains that compose a rock


water (droplets, sleet, hail, snow) that falls from the atmosphere falls to the ground

Primary Consumer

Organism that feeds directly either on all parts of plants (herbivore) or on other producers


Organism that uses solar energy (green plant) or chemical energy (some bacteria - detritivore) to produce the organic nutrients needed for survival obtained from its environment

Pyramid of Energy Flow

Diagram that shows the flow energy through each trophic level in a food chain or food web. about 10% energy is transferred to the next trophic level

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


Organism that feeds on dead organisms
EX. vultures, flies, crows

Secondary Consumer

Organism that only feeds on primary consumers. Most are animals, some are plants


Mixture of inorganic minerals (clay, silt, pebbles, sand), decaying organic matter, water, air, and living organisms

Soil Horizons

horizontal layers that reveal a soil's history, characteristics, and usefulness

Soil Texture (2)

Relative amounts of the different types and sizes of mineral particles in a sample of soil.


a specific kind of something; a specific kind of something, a group of organisms so similar to one another that they can breed and produce fertile offspring

Species Diversity

Number of different species and their relative abundances in a given area

Sulfur Cycle

Movement of sulfur into different forms of sulfur form the environment to organisms then back to the environment


Pertaining to land

Tertiary (higher level) Consumers

Animals that feed on animal-eating animals. Feed at high trophic levels in food chains and webs.
EX. hawks, sharks, humans

Trophic Level

Each step in a food chain or food web, step in the movement of energy through an ecosystem; an organism's feeding status in an ecosystem.