NV APES -Living World

A set of relationships between various biotic resources. They vary in size and should be sustainable in order to carry on from generation to generation. Source: http://forest.mtu.edu/kidscorner/ecosystems/definition.


A collection of similar species of organisms that all live in the same area. Source: AP Environmental Textbook 
Different species of organisms that interact with each other and live in the same area at the same time. Source: AP Environment Textbook
Ecological Niche
The role or job that each individual organism plays in an ecosystem. Source: http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Ecological_Niche
Fundamental Niche
The full potential of factors that an organism could utilize if there were no competition among species.

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 Source: http://www.science-dictionary.com/definition/fundamental-niche.html

Realized Niche
This term is included in the fundamental niche and describes the role an organism plays with the inclusion of limiting factors in the environment. Source: http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Realized_niche
A location or place where an organism or species lives. Source: AP Environmental Textbook
Decidous Forest 
Forests that have the characteristic of trees that lose their leaves seasonally.

They grow in areas with a moderate temperature that change with the seasons. They have long summers and cold, moderate length winters. They also have abundant precipitation.

Vegetation includes: oak, hickory, and maple trees.  Source: http://dictionary.reference.


Tropical Rainforest
A type of biome that is characterized by almost constant rainfall and a warm climate that allows many varieties of plants to grow. Trees usually have short roots and large bases and the soil is covered with leaf litter. Examples of vegetation: broadleaf evergreen plants. Source: http://www.science-dictionary.com/definition/tropical-rainforest.html
A type of biome that has a dry climate in summer and freezes during the winter. There are many types of grasses and shrubs.

Another name is a prairie. Source: http://www.everythingbio.com/glos/definition.php?word=grassland

Located in the Subarctic and contains  varieties of coniferous evergreen forests.

They are south of some tundra areas and in the north part of the Northern Hemisphere. Source: http://www.allwords.com/word-taiga.html

Also known as a polar grassland, and characterized by below freezing temperatures for most of the year. Precipitation is in very small amounts throughout the year. They are present in places such as Alaska and contain only small shrubs for vegetation. Source: AP Environmental Textbook
Also known as temperate shrublands and located in many coastal regions that border a desert.

They have long rainy winters and fogs during the spring and fall. They are characterized by dense growths of low-growing evergreen shrubs. they also have long, dry summers. Source: AP Environmental Textbook

In this biome, precipitation is exceeded by evaporation. They have dry soil and hardly any vegetation. Plant species include: cacti, small shrubs, etc. They take up 30% of Earth’s land surface.;Source: AP Environmental Textbook
Aquatic Life Zones: Lakes and Ponds (Freshwater)
Littoral: the area nearest to the shore.

It is warm and contains the greatest amount of plant and animal life. Light shines all the way through it.Limnetic: Photosynthesis occurs here and the area is dominated with phytoplankton and freshwater fish.

Profundal: This water is colder and photosynthesis cannot occur. Oxygen levels are low and only certain adapted fish live here.Benthic: The bottom of the lake or pond. It contains low oygen and is cold. Decomposers and detritus feeders are found here.;*Note* Ponds are usually too small to have distinct life zones. Rivers and stream also possess similar qualities to the lakes.

;Source: AP Environmental Textbook,;http://www.ucmp.berkeley.


Aquatic Life Zone: Oceans
Coastal: This area may contain coral reefs and contains warm and nutrient rich water. Most of the plant and animal life is here.Euphotic: Sunlight can penetrate here and photosynthesis occurs.

Bathyal:;this area is darker and colder. Forms of nekton live here.Abyssal: The deepest part of the ocean. It is very dark and cold and hardly any species (unless adapted) can survive.;Source: AP Environmental Textbook

The area where a river meets the sea. Saltwater mixes with freshwater and coastal wetlands are present.;Source: APES textbook
Coral Reef
Located in the coastal waters of an ocean, these areas are formed by polyps and contain vast amounts of biodiversity.

However, many of these areas are depleting quickly.;Source: APES Textbook

Mangrove Forests
These areas are characterized by dense trees with large, long roots near the waterside and grow along 70% of silty coastlines in tropical and subtropical biomes.;Source: APES Textbook
Intraspecific Competition
This type of competition occurs between members of the same species.

It is important in limiting population size of the given species.;Source:;http://www.eoearth.org/article/Intraspecific_competition

Interspecific Competition
This type of competition is between 2 or more different species over specific limiting resources.

This helps with the evolution of the different species.;Source:;http://www.tiem.


Competitive Exclusion/ Gause’s Principle
This theory states that if two species are using the same resource, they cannot coexist together. Source: http://knol.google.


A relationship between organisms in which one organism hunts and kills the other (the predator). The victim is called the prey. Source: http://www.


A relationship between organisms in which both benefit and help eachother survive. Source: APES Textbook
In this form of relationship, one organism benefits from another organism. The organism that does not benefit is not harmed in any way.

 Source: APES Textbook

In this relationship between organisms, one species benefits and the other species is harmed or killed. Source: APES Textbook
Law of Tolerance
States that the distribution as well as the number and presence of a species is dependant upon whether the levels of 1 or more factors fall within the tolerable range of the species. It is similar to the limiting factor principle. Source: environment.nelson.com/0176169040/glossary.html
Law of the Minimum
States that the availability of specific nutrients that are present in the minimal amount determine the growth and development of an organism.

 Source: http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Law_of_the_minimum

Range of Tolerance
The amounts of different conditions in which a species can survive.

This limits the population growth and is affected by limiting factors. Source: http://library.thinkquest.org/28343/rangtole.html

Keystone Species
A type of species that play many roles that affect the other organisms in an ecosystem. An example would be the sea otter. Source: APES Textbook
Indigenous Species
A type of species that originated from a specific location and was not introduced to another.

An example would be the Red squirrel in England. Source: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_an_indigenous_species_or_animal

Invasive species
These species are not indigenous to an area and are brought to a location from other countries, continents, etc, They spread quickly and often endanger the indigenous species. Source: APES Textbook.
Foundational Species
These species play a huge role in building and shaping a particular community. They enhance habitats and give benefits to other species.

An example would be the American alligator. Source: APES Textbook.

Indicator Species
These species are very sensitive and are utilized to help predict environmental damage and toxins in water or land. Many amphibians are great indicator species.

 Source: http://www.epa.gov/bioiweb1/html/indicator.html

Natural Capital (Natural Resources vs. Natural Services)
Natural Resource Examples: Air, Water, Soil, Land, Biodiversity Natural Service Examples: Pest Control, Air Purification, Soil Renewal, Water Storage Source: APES Textbook
Renewable vs. Nonrenewable resources
Renewable: These resources replenish themselves quickly unless they are used up faster than they can naturally replenish: examples= forests, fresh air, wild animals.

Nonrenewable: These resources only are present in a fixed quantity. They are depleted faster than they are formed and often are used up. Examples= energy resources, nonmetallic mineral resources. Source: APES Textbook

Autotrophs: Photosynthesis vs. Chemosynthesis
Autotrophs can provide food for themselves in various ways: Photosynthesis: a process in which, plants use sunlight as energy to produce sugar as food. Chemosynthesis: a process in which certain microbes create energy for themselves by intervening with chemical reactions.  Source: http://www.pmel.

noaa.gov/vents/nemo/explorer/concepts/chemosynthesis.html ,http://www.emc.


Heterotrophs: Cellular Respiration
Heterotrophs are organisms that cannot produce their own source of food. Cellular Respiration: The process by which organisms use and release energy that is stored in the chemical, glucose.

 Source: http://faculty.clintoncc.suny.edu/faculty/michael.gregory/files/bio%20101/bio%20101%20lectures/cellular%20respiration/cellular.htm

Anything that can make its own food, such as plants. They are also the base of a food chain.

 Source: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_definition_of_producer

Net Primary Productivity (NPP) vs Gross Primary Productivity (GPP)
NPP: The amount of energy that goes through photosynthesis and becomes chemical energy. It only includes the energy that goes to new plant growth. GPP: This consists of the same aspects of NPP but includes the amount of chemical energy that is used in respiration. Source: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_difference_between_gross_primary_production_and_net_primary_production
Consumers (The different types)
Primary: These organisms are close to the bottom of the food chain and feed on plants (Herbivores).

An example would be a bunny.Secondary: These organisms feed off of other consumers, the primary consumers. They are called carnivores.

An example would be certain types of snakes.Tertiary: These are at the very top of the food chain and are carnivores. They feed off of secondary consumers. An example would be a hawk.Detrivores: These are consumers that feed off of decomposing materials and dead animals. An example would be a vulture.Decomposers: A type of organism that gets energy from dead creatures and help to break down organic molecules into simple compounds.

Examples include fungi and some bacteria. Sources: APES Textbook,http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tertiary+consumer,https://www.uwsp.edu/natres/nres743/Definitions/Primary_consumer.htm

Trophic Level
This is determined by the position that an organism occupies in a food chain.

Here is the pyramid diagram:[image]Source: http://schoolworkhelper.net/2011/01/energy-movement-in-ecosystems-trophic-energy-pyramid/

Food Chain
The organization for which each organism get its food. In each one, plants and other producers are at the base and are followed by different consumers. Source: http://www.vtaide.

com/png/foodchains.htm and http://alaska.fws.


Energy Pyramid
This is the picture representation of the trophic levels. It explains that each organism on the pyramid recieves only 10% of the energy of the organism that it consumed. Source:http://www.biocab.org/energy_pyramid.html
Food Web
This is a type of diagram that explains the eating patterns of different organisms.

It shows what organism eats the other organism. Source: http://www.eoearth.org/article/Food_web

This is the term for the eventual buildup of substances from successive trophic levels. Source: http://www.greenfacts.org/glossary/abc/biomagnification-biomagnify.


The appearance and increase of pollutants from the environment and its deposit on the 1st organism of the food chain. Source: http://www.marietta.edu/~biol/102/2bioma95.html
1st and 2nd Law of Thermodynamics
1st law: States that energy cannot be created nor destroyed.

However, the energy can be transferred from one form to another. 2nd law: States that even though energy cannot be destroyed, the amount of potential energy is always less over a period of time. Also, energy transfer always moves in one direction. Source: http://www.


A variey of all different life forms on Earth. It includes plants, animals, etc. Source: http://cnx.org/content/m12151/latest/
Species Evolution
The changes and adaptations that occur throughout a species. This was part of Darwin’s original therories.

It has be proven to not exist because species rely on other species to evolve.;Source:;http://www.pathlights.com/ce_encyclopedia/Encyclopedia/11spec01.htm

Phylogenetic Tree
This is a type of diagram that portrays the diverse, evolutionary backgrounds of organisms.

;Here is an example:;[image]Sources:;http://retrieverman.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/will-rebranding-lycaon-pictus-save-it/;and;http://www.everythingbio.com/glos/definition.php?word=phylogenetic+tree

Natural Selection
A process in which a particular gene is reproduced in a further generation more frequently than another gene. This produces more adapted organisms in the future.;Source: APES Textbook
Gene Pool
The entire total of all the genes found in individuals of a certain population of species.

;Source: APES Textbook

Hardy-Weinberg Principle
A theorem that predicts how the gene frequencies will get passed on from generation to generation and includes a set of assumptions. It is written mathematically as: p;+2pq+q;=1. The p’s and q’s represent the frequencies of alleles.;Source:;http://www.nfstc.org/pdi/Subject07/pdi_s07_m01_02.htm
Microevolution: bottleneck effect vs founder effect.

Microevolution: tiny genetic changes that a population experiences.;Bottleneck effect: Occurs when a population decreases in size for at least one generation. This can limit genetic variation.

;Founder effect: a loss of genetic variation that is due to a new population that is formed by only a small number of individuals that came from a large population.;Sources: APES Textbook,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founder_effect;;,http://wiki.answers.


Macroevolution and various related terms
Macroevolution: Characterized by longterm and large-scale evolution changes that groups of species endure.;Allopatric Speciation: This is the same thing as speciation through the concept of geographic isolation. As a species is isolated at different parts of the world, they evolve differently and produce different qualities.

;Reproductive Speciation: Shows that species can evolve and change genetically through reproducing with others.Sympatric Speciation: This does not require geographic distance to occur and reduces the gene flow. It describes how new species can evolve from a singular species.;Sources: APES Textbook,;http://www.


Occurs when an entire population disappears and dies out.;Source:;http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Extinction
This acronym describes the various factor that lead to the endangerment of species.

;H: Habitat DestructionI:;Invasive SpeciesP: PopulationP: PollutionO: Overharvesting;Source:;http://www.acronymfinder.com/Habitat-Destruction,-Invasive-Species,-Population,-Pollution,-Overharvesting-(factors-endangering-species)-(HIPPO).html

Ecological Succession
The process of observed changes in a species’ structure and ecological community over a specific period of time. Source: http://www.


Primary vs Secondary Succession
Primary: The formation of a living community from a habitat that originally had no plant or animal life. [image]       Secondary: The formation of a living community from a habitat that was previously established and may have been partially damaged. [image]        Sources: http://cochranshalfacre.pbworks.

com/w/page/30560637/5-Chukri,-Daniel-Primary-and-Secondary-succession and http://geowords.org/ensci/imagesbook/04_03_succession.swf

Pioneer Species
Typically very hard and tolerable plants. They are the 1st plant (or species) to colonize on previously abiotic places. They usually start the beginning of an ecological succession. Source: http://www.


Climax Community: Components
A community of biodiversity that has reached a stable point. At extreme stability they are known as biomes. Components include: ecological components are in balance, the cycle of succession is complete, etc. Source: http://www.bookrags.com/research/climax-community-wob/
This is an area of transition between 2 communities or species and contains similar and shared characteristics between the 2 communities.

 Source: http://www.answers.com/topic/ecotone

Habitat Fragmentation
Usually occurs when humans interact negatively with the environment and breaks the habitats into smaller pieces. Source: APES Textbook
Edge Effect
Characterized by the influence that 2 communities have on each other in ecotones.

 Source: http://science.yourdictionary.com/edge-effect

Species Movement in and out of ecosystem
Species may venture into or out of an ecosystem for many reasons. For example, if an ecosystem is not providing the necessary resources and nutrients, a species will move out. If another ecosystem provides necessary resources, new species will move in. Source: APES Textbook
Biogeochemical Cycles
Natural recylcing processes in the environment that replenish nutrients in chemical forms from the non-living to living organisms and back to the non-living environment. Source: APES Textbook
Part of a biogeochemical cycle that can be a source or sink of different substances.

 Source: marine.rutgers.edu/..


Exchange Pool
A part of a biogeochemical cycle that is also known as a cycling pool. They include the exchages between the abiotic and biotic factors in an ecosystem. Source: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/197735/exchange-pool
Residency Time
The term for the amount of time that a object remains in the same state until it is transformed into something else.

 Source: http://www.science-dictionary.com/definition/residence-time.html

Law of Conservation of Matter
States that in any change (physical or chemical), matter can be neither created nor destroyed. It also states that the matter can be changed from one form to another. Source: APES Textbook
The Water Cycle and Terms
Precipitation: Any different type or form of water that comes from the atmosphere and falls to the ground. http://nsidc.

org/arcticmet/glossary/precipitation.html Groundwater: Water that is located under the Earth’s surface and has sunk into soil. It is stored in aquifers below the water table.;(APES Textbook)Infiltration: The process by which water moves downward through the soil. ;(APES Textbook);Runoff: Water from precipitation or other sources that flows across Earth’s surface and is not infiltrated.

http://www.water-technology.net/glossary/runoff.html Evaporation: The process by which liquid water is transformed into vapor (gas state) and is taken in by the atmosphere.http://www.brainyquote.com/words/ev/evaporation162073.html Transpiration: When water is absorbed by the roots of plants and passes through the leaves’ pores.

The water is then released into the atmosphere and is evaporated.(APES Textbook);[image]

Carbon Cycle and Terms
Respiration: Any process that includes exchanges in gas types. Example: anaerobic respiration.

http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Respiration;Photosynthesis: A process where plants combine sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. The result is oxygen and sugar.https://www.uwsp.edu/natres/nres743/Definitions/Photosynthesis.

htm;Decomposition: The process in which a compound object (complex) is broken down into its simplest and smallest elements.http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Decomposition;Combustion: A chemical reaction that produces energy from a fuel and oxidizing agent. It forms energy in the formation of heat and light.


htm;Sea-surface Gas Exchange: Gas is transferred from across the air and water.;[image]Source:;http://www.visionlearning.com/library/module_viewer.php?mid=95

Nitrogen Cycle and Terms
Nitrogen Fixation: The process by which Nitrogen is transformed into a compound by various legumes.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_nitrogen_fixation;Nitrification: A process by which ammonia is transformed, first into nitrites, and then into nitrates.http://www.rpi.edu/dept/chem-eng/Biotech-Environ/Environmental/nitrification.html;Assimilation: A conversion of a nutrient into a form that can be used.http://www.

biology-online.org/dictionary/Assimilation;Ammonification: Converting organic nitrogen into a form of ammonia. The process is started by the actions of decomposers.http://www.biology-online.

org/dictionary/Ammonification;Denitrification: The process by which nitrates become nitrites and other forms. The process is started by the actions of microorganisms.http://www.chemicool.com/definition/denitrification.



Phosphorus Cycle
Exists in the atmosphere as dust particles. Also, Phosphorus is found mainly in its oxidized state and is almost never found freely in nature. The cycle is very slow because almost all of the phosphorus is trapped in rocks and other substrates.;;Source: APES Textbook ,http://pangea.tec.


Sulfur Cycle and Terms
-Includes volcanic eruptions-Sulfur is required by life forms for protein and vitaminsCombustion:;A chemical reaction that produces energy from a fuel and oxidizing agent. It forms energy in the formation of heat and light.http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistryglossary/g/combustiondefinition.htm;[image]Source:;http://www2.nau.edu/~doetqp-p/courses/env440/env440_2/lectures/lec37/lec37.htm