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Level 3

Chapter 3


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atmosphere
the gases surrounding the earth
troposhere
lowest region of the atmosphere: earth's surface to height of 3.7-6.2 miles
greenhouse gas
a gas that absorbs infrared radiation
stratosphere
second major layer of Earth's atmosphere - about 20% of the atmosphere's mass
hydrosphere
all the water on the earth's surface
biosphere
consists of the part of the atmosphere, hydroshphere, and geosphere where life is found
natural greenhouse effect
trapping of the sun's warmth in the lower atmosphere
oraganisms
an individual living being
populations
a group of individuals of the same species living in a particular place
communities
populations of different species living in a particular place, and potentially interacting with each other
ecosystems
the surroundings that an organism lives in
biosphere
regions of the surface, atmosphere, and hydrosphere occupied by living organisms
producers/ autrotrophs
self feeders, make the nutrients they need from compounds and energy obtained from their environment
photosynthesis
the process in which plants use sunlight to make their own food
chemosynthesis
when a few producers, mostly specialized bacteria, can convert simple inorganic compunds from their environment into more complex nutrient compounds without using sunlight (hydrothermal vents)
consumers/ heterotrophs
can't produce the nutrients they need through photosynthesis or other processes so they muct obtain their energy from feeding on other organisms
aerobic respiration
uses oxygen to convert glucose back into carbon dioxide and water
herbivore/ primary consumers
organisms that consume only plant material
carnivores
organisms that eat only meat
secondary consumers
comsume primary consumers
consumers
consume other living organisms (can't make own food)
omnivores
consume both plant and meat
anaerobic respiration/fermentation
happens in the abscense of oxygen, the end products are methane, ethyl acohol, acetic acid, and hydrogen sulfide
food chain
hierarchy of organisms dependent on the next source as food
biomass
organic matter used as fuel
pyramid of energy flow
10% energy is lossed as each trophic level increases, 90% of energy lost from heat
gross primary productivity (GPP)
rate that an ecosystems producers convert solar energy to chemical energy
net primary productivity (NPP)
amount of carbon left after subtracting plant respiration from the GPP
biogeochemical cycles
chemical substance moves through biosphere and lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere compartments of Earth
nutrient cycles
exchange of organic and inorganic matter back into the production of matter
carbon cycles
incorporation of CO2 into living tissue by photosynthesis and its return to the atmosphere through respiration, decay of dead organisms, and burning of fossil fuels
nitrogen cycle
process in which nitrogen is interconverted in the environment: includes nitrogen fixation and denitrification
phosphorus cycle
movement of phosphorous through the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere
sulfur cycle
sulfur moves to and from minerals and living systems