Biodiversity under threat - Definitions

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Geography, Unit 3 - KEO

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Ecosystems The interaction between plants, animals, their living and non-living environments. All are open systems because of the flow of energy (Sunlight) and matter across their boundary.
Abiotic Element Such as air, water, heat, nutrients, rock and sediments.
Biotic Elements (Living) such as plants and animals.
Autrophs Also called producers. These are organisms capable of converting sunlight energy into food/photosynthesizing. This can include plankton.
Heterotrophs Organisms that feed on other organisms (Herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, detritivores)
Food Chains Simple linear feeding sequences. Organisms which feed at the same level on a food chain are said to be at the same trophic level.
Food Webs Some animals eat both animal and plants (Omnivores) so can't be categorized by a food chain.
Genetic Diversity Range of genes found within a species. Higher the range is, the more likely they are to survive (diseases). Genes determine things such as disease resistance. Genetic erosion and pollution can happen.
Genetic Erosion Wearing-away of genes through cross-breeding (Dogs).
Genetic Pollution Undesirable genes into the gene pool (Invasive species)
Species Diversity The variety of plant and animal species within an ecosystem.
Ecological Niches Areas of high biodiversity.
Endemic Species Species that only exist in one place. E.g. The Giant Tortoise.
Ecosystem Diversity The number of ecosystems in an area. Determined by mainly physical conditions (Sun...) Humans can control, limit and change ecosystems which is a threat to them.
Successtion When a pioneer species grows in an area (e.g. sand dunes). It collects the sand and offers slight protection from wind and sea. Another slightly taller plant can then grow in the changed environment. The last plant (tree) is the climax species.
Hot Spots Are areas of high biodiversity
Continental Hot Spots These are the richest in terms of biodiversity
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