Ch.3: Communities, Biomes, & Ecosystems Vocab


Group of interacting populations that live in the same geographic area at the same time.

Limiting factor

Biotic or abiotic factor that restricts the number, distribution, or reproduction of a population within a community.


Organisms's ability to survive biotic and abiotic factors.

Ecological succession

Process by which one community replaces another community because of changing abiotic and biotic factors.

Primary succession

Establishment of a community in an area of bare rock or bare sand, where no topsoil is present.

Climax community

Stable, mature ecological community with little change in the composition of species.

Secondary succession

Orderly change that occurs in a place were soil remains after a community of organisms has been removed.


Atmospheric conditions (temperature & precipitation) at a specific place and time.


Distance of a point on Earth's surface north or south of the equator.


Average weather conditions in a specific area, determined by latitude, elevation, ocean currents, and other factors.


Treeless biome with permenently frozen soil under the surface and average yearly precipitation of 15-25 cm.

Boreal forest

Biome south of the tundra with dense evergreen forests and long, cold, dry winters.

Temperate forest

Biome south of the boreal forest characterized by broad-leaved, deciduous trees, well-defined seasons, and average yearly precipitation of 75-150 cm.


Biome characterized by small trees and mixed scrub communities.


Biome characterized by fertile soils with a thick cover of grass.


Area with low rainfall, whose annual rate of evaporation exceeds its annual rate of precipitation; can support cacti and some grasses and animal species (snakes & lizards).

Tropical savanna

Biome characterized by grasses and scattered trees, and herd animals (zebras & antelopes).

Tropical seasonal forest

Biome characterized by deciduous and evergreen trees, a dry season, and animal species that include: monkeys, elephants, and tigers.


Material deposited by water, wind, or glaciers.

Littoral zone

Area of a lake or pond closest to the shore.

Limnetic zone

Well-lit, open-water area of a lake or pond.


Tiny marine or freshwater organisms (often autotrophic) that serve as a food source for many fish species.

Profundal zone

Deepest, coldest area of a large lake with little light and limited biodiversity.


Water-saturated land area that supports aquatic plants.


Unique, transitional ecosystem that supports diverse species and is formed where freshwater and ocean water merge.

Intertidal zone

Narrow band of shoreline where the ocean and land meet that is alternately submerged and exposed and is home to constantly changing communities.

Photic zone

Open-ocean zone shallow enough for sunlight to penetrate.

Aphotic zone

Open-ocean zone through which sunlight cannot penetrate.

Benthic zone

Ocean-floor area consisting of sand, silt, and dead organisms.

Abyssal zone

Deepest,very cold region of the open ocean.