Principles of Environmental Science Inquiry and Appications

Biomes
Broad, regional types of ecosystems characterized by distinctive climate and soil conditions and distinctive kinds of biological community adapted to those conditions. 
Biodiversity 
The number and variety of species.
Vertical Zonation
A term applied to vegetation zones defined by altitude. 
Cloud Forests
High mountain forests where temperatures are uniformly cool and fog or mist keeps vegetation wet all the time. 
Tropical Rainforests 
Forests near the equator in which rainfall is abundant–more than 200 cm (80 in.) per year–and temperatures are warm to hot year-round.
Tropical Seasonal Forests
Semi-evergreen or partly deciduous forests tending toward open woodlands and grassy savannas dotted with scattered, drought-resistant trees. 
Grasslands
Biomes dominated by grasses and associated herbaceous plants. 
Savannas
An open prairie or grassland with scattered groves of trees.
Deserts 
Biomes characterized by low moisture levels and infrequent and unpredictable precipitation.  Daily and seasonal temperatures fluctuate widely. 
Chaparral
A biological community characterized by thick growth of thorny, evergreen shrubs typical of a Mediterranean climate. 
Deciduous
Trees and shrubs that shed their leaves at the end of the growing season. 
Coniferous 
Evergreen 
Boreal Forests
A broad band of mixed coniferous and deciduous trees that stretches across northern North America (and Europe and Asia); its northernmost edge, the taiga, intergrades with the arctic tundra.
Tundra
Treeless arctic or alpine biome characterized by cold, dark winters; a short growing season; and potential for frost any month of the year; vegetation includes low-growing perennial plants, mosses, and lichens.
Phytoplankton
Microscopic, free-floating, autotrophic organisms that function as producers in aquatic ecosystems.
Benthic
The bottom of a sea or lake.
Pelagic
Zones in the vertical water column of a water body. 
Coral Reefs
Prominent oceanic features composed of hard, limy skeletons produced by coral animals; usually formed along edges of shallow, submerged ocean banks or along shelves in warm, shallow, tropical seas.
Coral Bleaching
Whitening of corals when stressors, such as high temperatures, induce corals to expel their colorful single-celled protozoa, known as zooxanthellae, or when zooxanthellae die. Death of the coral reef may result.
Sea-Grass Beds 
Large expanses of rooted, submerged, or emergant aquatic vegetation, such as eel grass or salt grass.
Mangrove Forests
Diverse groups of salt-tolerant trees and other plants that grow in intertidal zones of tropical coastlines. 
Estuaries
Bays or drowned valleys where a river empties into the sea.
Salt Marsh
A wetland with salt water and salt tolerant plants, usually coastal. 
Tide Pools
Small pools of water left behind by falling tides. 
Thermocline
In water, a distinctive temperature transition zone that separates an upper layer that is mixed by the wind (the epilimnion) and colder deep layer that is not mixed (the hypolimnion).
Swamps
Wetlands with trees, such as the extensive swamp forests of the southern United States. 
Marshes
Wetlands without trees; in North America, this type of land is characterized by cattails and rushes. 
Bogs
Areas of waterlogged soil that tend to be peaty; fed mainly by precipitation; low productivity; some bogs are acidic.
Fens
Wetlands fed mainly by ground water. 
Biodiversity
The genetic, species, and ecological diversity of the organisms in a given area. 
Phylogenetic Species Concept
A definition of species that depends on genetic similarities (or differences). 
Evolutionary Species Concept
A definition of species that depends on evolutionary relationships. 
Extinction
The irrevocable elimination of species; can be a normal process of the natural world as species out compete or kill off others or as environmental conditions change. 
HIPPO

Habitat destruction
Invasive species
Pollution
Population of humans

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Over-harvesting 

Fragmentation
Disruption of habitat into small, isolated fragments. 
Minimum Viable Population
The number of individuals needed for long-term survival of rare and endangered species. 
Island Biogeography
The study of rates colonization and extinction of species on islands or other isolated areas based on size, shape, and distance from other inhabited regions. 
Invasive Species
Organisms that thrive in new territory where they are free of predators, diseases, or resource limitations that may have controlled their population in their native habitat.
Telemetry
Locating or studying organisms at a distance using radio signals or other electronic media. 
Overharvesting
Harvesting so much of a resource that it threatens its existence. 
Endangered Species
A species considered to be in imminent danger of extinction. 
Threatened Species
While still abundant in parts of its territorial range, this species has declined significantly in total numbers and may be on the verge of extinction in certain regions or localities. 
Vulnerable Species
Naturally rare organisms or species whose numbers have been so reduced by human activities that they are susceptible to actions that could push them into threatened or endangered status.