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Chapter 3 How Ecosystems Work

Produceran organism that makes its own food
Consumerorganisms that get their energy from eating other organisms
Herbivoresconsumers that only eat producers (plant-eaters)
Carnivoresconsumers that only eat other consumers (meat-eaters)
Omnivoreseaters of all, both producers and consumers
Decomposersconsumers that get their food by breaking down dead organisms (fungi, bacteria)
Cellular Respirationthe process of breaking down food to yield energy
Food Chaina sequence in which energy is transferred from one organism to the next as each organism eats another
Food Webshows all of the feeding relationships in an ecosystem
Trophic Leveleach step in the transfer of energy through an ecosystem
Water Cyclewater is never destroyed, it moves between the atmosphere and the earth
Precipitationrain, sleet, or snow
Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteriaonly organisms that can use nitrogen gas directly from the earth's atmosphere
Successiona regular pattern of changes over time in types of species in a community
Climax Communityfinal, stable community that forms if the land is left undisturbed
Secondary Successionwhen succession occurs where an ecosystem has previously existed
Pioneersfirst organisms to colonize any newly available area
Primary Successionwhen succession occurs where no ecosystem has existed before

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