Life Science Terms

Term Definition
ecology the study of the interactions of organisms with one another and with their environment
biotic all the organisms that interact with one another in an environment
abiotic consists of the nonliving factors such as water, soil, light, and temperature
population a group of organisms of the same species that live in a specific geographical area
community all the populations of species that live in the same habitat and interact with each other
ecosystem a community of organisms and their abiotic environment
biosphere the part of Earth where life exists
herbivore and organism that eats only plants
carnivore an organism that eats animals
omnivore and organism that eats both plants and animals
food chain the pathway of energy transfer through various stages as a result of the feeding patterns of a series of organisms
food web a pathway of energy transfer through various stages as a result of the feeding patterns of a series of organisms
energy pyramid a triangular diagram that shows an ecosystems loss of energy, which results as energy passes through the ecosystems food chain
photosynthesis a process in which producers use to use sunlight to make food
decomposers organisms that get energy by breaking down dead organisms
scavengers omnivores that eat dead pants or animals
consumers organisms that eat other organisms
producers organisms that use direct sunlight to make food
carrying capacity the largest population that an environment can support at any given time
prey an organism that is killed and eaten by another organism
predator an organism that eats all or part of another organism
symbiosis a relationship in which two different organisms live in close association with each other
mutualism a relationship between two species in which both species benefit
commensalism a relationship between two organisms in which one organism benefits and the other is unharmed
parasitism a relationship between two species in which one species, the parasite, benefits from the other species, the host, which is harmed
coevolution the evolution of two species that is due to mutual influence, often in a way that makes the relationship more beneficial to both species
limiting factor a resource that is so scarce that it limits the size of a population
competition when two or more individuals or population try to use the same resource, such as food, water, shelter, shelter, space, or sunlight
camouflage the act of blending in with the background
pollinator an organism that carries pollen from one flower to another