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ecosystem

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adaptability

adaptability  

A measure of the extent to which a species or ecosystem is able to adjust to environmental change (such as global warming). Such adaptation can be planned or unplanned, and it can be carried out in ...
agro-ecosystem

agro-ecosystem  

An agricultural system viewed as an ecosystem or open system, where the objective is sustainable management of the interrelationships between system components (including crops, pastures, livestock, ...
algal bloom

algal bloom  

The rapid increase in populations of algae and other phytoplankton, in particular cyanobacteria, that occurs in inland water systems, such as lakes. The density of the organisms may be such that it ...
alpha diversity

alpha diversity  

The diversity of species within a particular area or ecosystem, expressed by the number of species (species richness) present there. A measure of biodiversity. Also known as local diversity. See also ...
Antarctic realm

Antarctic realm  

A biogeographical realm in the southern hemisphere, which contains a variety of ecosystems from temperate forest and grassland in New Zealand to tundra and ice sheets in Antarctica.
aphotic zone

aphotic zone  

A deep-water area of marine ecosystems below the depth of effective light penetration (the compensation level), analogous to the profundal zone in freshwater ecosystems. See ocean divisions.
Audubon Society

Audubon Society  

A non‐profit, US‐based environmental conservation organization whose mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of ...
autochthonous

autochthonous  

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Referring to features and processes occurring within, rather than outside, an environment. An autochthonous rock has been formed in situ; coal is an example.
benthos

benthos  

Flora and fauna occurring on the bottom of a sea or lake. Benthic organisms may crawl, burrow, or remain attached to a substrate. Compare nekton; neuston; plankton.
beta diversity

beta diversity  

The difference in diversity of species between two or more ecosystems in an area, expressed as the total number of species that are unique to each of the ecosystems being compared. A measure of ...
biochore

biochore  

A biotic district (i.e. a distinctive community and environment) and one of many precursors of the ecosystem concept. The term is also used by Raunkiaer to describe precise biological boundaries ...
biocoenosis

biocoenosis  

All the organisms living in a particular place at a particular time. It is the equivalent of a biome, and is used especially in the ecological literature of eastern Europe.
biodiversity

biodiversity  

A term that came into widespread use in the 1980s, which describes all aspects of biological diversity, especially species richness, ecosystem complexity, and genetic variation.
biogeochemical cycle

biogeochemical cycle  

The cyclical movement of elements between living organisms (the biotic phase) and their nonliving (abiotic) surroundings (e.g. rocks, water, air). Examples of biogeochemical cycles are the carbon ...
biogeocoenosis

biogeocoenosis  

Term equivalent to ‘ecosystem’ that is often used in Central European literature. Comprises a biocoenosis together with its habitat (the ecotope).
Biological Feedback

Biological Feedback  

A feedback is the return of output to the input part of a system. The system may be the body of a living organism, a population, or the interacting biotic ...
biological integrity

biological integrity  

The ability of an ecosystem to support and maintain a balanced, adaptive community of organisms that has a species composition, diversity, and functional organization comparable to that of natural ...
biological invasion

biological invasion  

Processes by which species become established in ecosystems to which they are not native. The invading species are often weeds, pests, or disease‐causing organisms.
biological productivity

biological productivity  

The amount of organic matter, carbon, or energy content that is accumulated in a given area over a given period of time. Usually expressed in terms of weight per unit area per unit time (grams per ...
Biological Realms

Biological Realms  

It has long been recognized that terrestrial biomes in different parts of the world support distinctive assemblages of plants and animals. These general patterns were originally attributed to ...

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