Field Biology Mid-Term Review



Abiotic components - nonliving, never alive, e.g. light, water, minerals, etc.

Adaptation - the process of making adjustments in response to environmental influence. For example, animals have developed webbed feet in order to be able to swim better.

Aquatic - found in water, or usually in water

Balance - relatively stable populations of plants and animals based on all of the species in the habitat meeting their survival needs and having populations controlled by limiting factors.

Basic Needs - what any individual needs to survive. Food, water, shelter, air, and space are the basic needs for animals and sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, nutrients, oxygen, and space for green plants.

Behavioral - referring to all actions of an animal as it relates to its environment, including meeting survival needs, mating, escaping predation, etc.

Biotic Components - the living or once-living organisms

Carnivore - a meat eater

Change - an alteration of the environmental conditions affecting wildlife and plants

Commensalism - relationship between species which benefits one, but neutral or of no benefit to the other

Community - an association of organisms - plant and animal - each occupying a certain ecological niche, inhabiting a common environment, and interacting with each other; all the plants and animals in a particular habitat bound together by food chains and other interrelations.

Competition - when two or more organisms of the same or different species have the potential for using the same resource, especially a limited resource.

Cycles - the tendency of various resources both living and nonliving to move in a systematic way throughout the ecosystem over time

Decomposers - the tiny organisms, such as bacteria and fungi, that break down plants and animals into simpler substances, releasing the nutrients for reuse by producers

Diversity - variety

Ecosystem - All living things and their environment in an area of any size, all linked together by energy and nutrient flow and for the most part, containing different species from other areas. Examples of ecosystems would be pond, river, forest, field, etc.

Endangered Species - a species whose population has dwindled to low numbers and is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. (A "threatened" species is one that is likely to become endangered.)

Energy Flow - the transfer of food energy through a food chain, ie. grasshopper eats grass, gets energy, mole eats grasshopper, gets energy from grasshopper, and hawk eats mole and gets energy from the mole

Energy Loss - the food energy consumed at each trophic or food chain level used for life functions such as reproduction, respiration, locomotion, etc. and which can not be passed to the next trophic level

Evolution - the theory that the characteristics of a plant or animal species change over time based upon the survival of individuals with favorable characteristics, who then reproduce to pass on these characteristics

Food Chain - a series of organisms beginning with a green plant followed by an animal that eats the plant, followed by an animal that eats the plant eater, etc. ending with a carnivore which is not hunted.

Food Web - the complex network of food interrelationships between plants and animals in the ecosystem

Food Pyramid - representation of trophic levels in the form of a pyramid with large numbers of producers at the bottom and few carnivores at the top

Genetic Variety - the minor differences which are inherited from parents which can occur between members of a species

Habitat - an area where an organism lives because it meets its survival needs

Herbivore - a plant eater

Interrelationships - the interactions occurring amongst animals, between plants and animals, and between these living components and nonliving components of the ecosystem

Introduced Species - a species not native to an area, usually brought in by humans

Limiting Factors - events or conditions affecting the size of an animal population, e.g. disease, predation.

Mutualism - relationship between two species in which both benefit

Natural Selection - the principle that plants and animals will be selected for survival or death by natural means such as predation or inability to meet basic needs based upon their anatomical, behavioral and physiological characteristics. Also Survival of the Fittest.

Niche - the special place in a community occupied by a given organism; where an organism lives, where it gathers food, where it seeks shelter, who are its "friends and enemies," what it gives to the community, what it takes from the community, how it is affected by its environment, and how the environment is affected by it.

Neutralism- neither species benefits or is harmed by their association

Nutrient Cycles - the flow of essential elements and compounds through an ecosystem

Omnivore - an animal which eats both plant and animal materials

Organic - pertaining to living material

Parasitism - relationship between species in which one is benefitted and one is harmed

Photosynthesis - the physiological plant process in which sugar is made from carbon dioxide, water, and energy from the sun

Population - the number of a particular species in a defined area

Population Cycles - the tendency for the number of individuals in a species to fluctuate depending on various limiting factors, such as predation, birth, and severe weather

Predator - an animal that kills and eats other animals

Prey - animals that are killed and eaten by other animals

Producer - organisms using energy from the sun to manufacture food from water and carbon dioxide. Green plants are producers.

Species- organisms that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring

Survival of the Fittest - the principle that plants and animals are selected for survival or death by natural means such as predation or inability to meet basic needs based upon their anatomical, behavioral and physiological characteristics. Also natural selection

Terrestrial - found on land (as opposed to aquatic)

Territory - the concept of "ownership" or dominance over a unit of habitat; an area defended by an animal against others of the same species; used for breeding, feeding, or both. Many species of wildlife are territorial. Best known are certain birds and wolves.

Trophic Levels - an organism's position in the food chain indicative of what it eats. Producers, first order consumers, and second order consumers are examples of tropic levels.


Essential Questions

1. Know the different types of symbiosis: Commensalism, Mutualism, Parasitism, and Neutralism. Be able to give examples of each.

2. Be able to diagram food chains and food webs.

3. What is a keystone species?

4. What are the components of the ecological pyramid?

  • How does the biomass change from level to level?
  • Know the terms Autotroph/ Producers, Primary Consumer/ Herbivore, Secondary Consumer/ Carnivore and Tertiary Consumer.
  • How do biomass levels change as you go up the pyramid? Why?
  • What is the major source of energy for most living things?
  • What role does a scavenger and decomposer play?

5. What are the differences between these following terms? Ecology, Community, Habitat and Niche.

6. How does bioacculumation differ from biomagnification?

7. Be able to identify the tracks of Coyote, Dog, Black Bear, Gray Squirrel, Cottontail Rabbit, White Tailed Deer, Bobcat, Northern Racoon, Great Blue Heron, Blue Jay, Woodpecker, Canada Goose, Striped Skunk, Snake, Beetle, Mouse and Beaver.

  • How do you tell a squirrel from a rabbit tract?
  • How do you tell a coyote from a dog track? Know the term direct register.
  • Which animals have four toes and which have five?

8. Know the terms resource partitioning and competitive exclusion.

9. Know the predator tricks and evasive techniques of prey.

  • Camouflage
  • Nasty Odors
  • Poisons
    • What insect eats milkweed for protection?
  • Mimicry
  • Spines
  • Eye spots

10. Be able to identify and know major features of the following plants:

White Pine
Eastern Hemlock
Eastern Red Cedar
Witch Hazel
American Beech
Virginia Creeper
Red Maple
Shagbark Hickory
Christmas Fern
Flowering Dogwood
American Larch
Jewel weed
Skunk Cabbage
Poison ivy
Stinging Nettles
Foxtail Grass

  • What are some uses of cedar and jewel weed

11. Know features about the following animals:

Beaver, Red Fox, White Tailed deer, Black bear, Bobcat, Coyotes, Opossum, Little Brown Bat, Peregrine Falcon, Crows.

12. What features of an invasive species allow it to spread quickly?


Extra Credit: Be able to match the following insects with their families:

Praying Mantis