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Chapter 42: Ecosystems and Energy

actual evapotranspirationamount of water annually transpired by plants and evaporated from a landscape
biogeochemical cyclenutrient circuits which involve both biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems
biological magnificationretained substances become more concentrated with each link in the food chain
critical loadamount of added nutrient usually nitrogen or phosphorus that can be absorbed by plants without damaging ecosystem integrity
decomposersaprotrophic fungi and bacteria that absorb nutrients from nonliving organic material
detritivoreconsumer that derives its energy from nonliving organic material
detritusDead organic matter
ecosystemorganisms in a given area as well as the abiotic factors with which they interact
greenhouse effectwarming of planet Earth due to the atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide
green-world hypothesisterrestrial herbivores consume relatively little plant biomass because they are held in check by a variety of factors including predators parasites and disease
gross primary production (GPP)total primary production of an ecosystem
limiting nutrientelement that must be added for production to increase in a particular area
net primary production (NPP)gross primary production of an ecosystem minus the energy used by the producers for respiration
primary consumerorganism in the trophic level of an ecosystem that eats plants or algae
primary producerautotroph usually a photosynthetic organism
primary productionamount of light energy converted to chemical energy (organic compounds) by autotrophs in an ecosystem during a given time period
production efficiencyfraction of food energy that is not used for respiration
secondary consumermember of the trophic level of an ecosystem consisting of carnivores that eat herbivores
secondary productionamount of chemical energy in consumers’ food that is converted to their own new biomass during a given time period
tertiary consumermember of the trophic level of an ecosystem consisting of carnivores that eat mainly other carnivores
trophic efficiencypercentage of production transferred from one trophic level to the next
turnover timetime required to replace the standing crop of a population or group of populations

Science Instructor
Bronxville High School
Bronxville, NY

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