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Lydia Stepanoff's Mind Map Vocab Project by Mind Map: Lydia Stepanoff's Mind Map Vocab Project
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Lydia Stepanoff's Mind Map Vocab Project

Levels of Organization


Organism- any form of life


Population- a group of individuals of the same species found in a given area or location at a given time


Community- populations of living organisms that interact with each other in an ecosystem


Ecosystem- a group of living organisms that interact with each other and the nonliving physical environment


Biome- geographic region of Earth that is inhabited by a community of distinct types of plants and associated animals


Biosphere- layer of soil, water, and air that sustains life

Ecosystems and Their Interactions

Food Chain

Food chains show you the sequence in which energy is transferred from one organism to the next as one eats the other.

Food Web

Food webs show you what an ecosystem really looks like and that organisms eat a lot more than just one thing. Food webs are really a bunch of food chains.


Producers (Autotrophs)- organisms that produce their own energy from the sun through a process known as photosynthesis

Primary Consumer

Primary Consumer (1st degree consumer)- eats producers

Secondary Consumer

Secondary Consumer (2nd dgree consumer)- eats primary consumers

Tertiary Consumer

Tertiary Consumer (3rd degree consumer)- eats secondary consumers

Trophic Levels

Trophic Level- each step in the transfer of energy through an ecosystem The trophic level of an organism is the position it occupies on the food web. There are many levels and these include producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers, and tertiary consumers. Trophic means energy. There is a 90% energy loss between trophic levels, meaning only 10% of the energy is transferred.  

Biotic Factors

Biotic Factors- the living parts of an ecosystem

Abiotic Factors

Abiotic Factors- the nonliving parts of an ecosystem



Rainforest- a tropical forest, usually of tall, densely growing, broad-leaved evergreen trees in an area of high annual rainfall.

Temperate Deciduous Forest

A temperate deciduous forest consists of trees that lose their leaves every year.

Coniferous Forest

The vegetation in a coniferous forest is primarily made of cone-bearing, needle-leaved, or scale-leaved evergreen trees,  and are found in regions of the world that have long winters and good amounts of precipitation.  


Desert- a region that is very arid becasue of little rainfall and only supports a sparse amount of vegetation


Tundra- one of the vast, nearly level, treeless plains of the arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America.


Grassland- an area in which the natural vegetation consists largely of perennial grasses; it also has characteristics of subhumid and semiarid climates. Savannah- a plain characterized by coarse grasses and scattered tree growth, especially on the boundaries of the tropics where the rainfall is seasonal, like in eastern Africa.

Freshwater Biome

Freshwater- water that has low salt concentration, usually less than 1%. The organisms in freshwater regions are adjusted to the low salt content and could not survive in areas with high salt concentration.

Marine Biome

Marine regions cover about three-fourths of the Earth's surface and include oceans, coral reefs, estuaries, etc. Marine plants provide much of the world's oxygen and take in a lot of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Marine water also evaporates into rainfall for land.



Biodiversity- the variety of organisms in a geographic region; the sum of all the genomes of all the organisms on Earth

Hot Spots

Biodiversity “hot spots” are regions where more than half of the Earth’s species are found. These “hot spots” are found in 17 regions and cover about 2% of land area. They are mostly found in the tropics. These regions are very limited but are homes to many species and are very sensitive to habitat degradation. So destroying a small area can have terrible effects.

Examining the Stages in Ecological Succession

Ecological Succession

Ecological Succession- the process in which the communities of an ecosystem change overtime Ecological succession takes a long time and occurs in stages. At each of these stages, different organisms are present.

Primary Succession

Primary Succession- process that occurs in places where no ecosystem has existed before Events that could cause this type of succession include volcanic eruptions where the land is striped dowm to rock and major floods.

Secondary Succession

Secondary Succession- process that reconstructs an ecosystm after it has been disturbed or destroyed Events that could cause this type of succession include forest fires and deforestation.


Limiting Factors

Limiting Factors- conditions of the environment that limit the growth of a species or biotic and abiotic factors that prevent the continuous growth of a population

Carrying Capacity

Carrying Capacity- the number of individuals of a species that an ecosystem can support

Population Growth

Population Growth- how the number of individuals in a population increases/decreases with time

Black Plague

Black Plague- the largest decrease in human population

Industrial Revolution

Industrial Revolution- the main cause of the great increase in the world's human population around the 1800's

Exponential Growth

Exponential Growth- development at an increasingly rapid rate in proportion to the growing total number or size; a constant rate of growth applied to a continuously growing base over a period of time


Sustainability- the capacity to endure, support, or maintain

Logistic Growth

Logistic Growth- a population showing exponential growth and is not limited until food and disease become important as conditions get crowded The carrying capacity becomes evident as the population levels off.

Population Growth Rate

Population Growth Rate- how the number of individuals in a population increases with time The increase is due to an increases birth rate, which is the number of individuals added to a population, and a decrease in death rate, which is the number of individuals that leave a population. The continent with the highest population growth rates is Africa.

Water Pollution

Water Pollution

Water Pollution- the contamination of water bodies This can occur through non-point source or point source pollution.

Point Source

Point Source Pollution- pollution that comes from a single source examples: factory, storm sewers, waste treatment plants, etc.

Non-Point Source

Non-Point Source Pollution- pollution does not have one specific source, it comes from a combination of sources examples: fertilizers, pesticides, pet waste, motor oil, household hazardous waste, etc.


Aquifer- any geological formation containing or conducting ground water