|Glossary of Terms|
Descendants of bees imported into Brazil from Africa in 1957. Through
dispersal and mixing with honeybees originally imported from Europe, the
offspring remain over 90% dominated by African genetic materials.
Range of organisms observed in a space.
Short for biological diversity. A broad term indicating the variety in organisms, characteristics of a population, species, genetic material, and habitats.
A subfield of geography that tries to explain why organisms occur the
way they do, where they do. For that purpose, biogeography produces inventories
of organisms, investigates spatial distribution patterns of organisms,
and studies the interactions among organisms and between organisms and
A large region that exhibits similar plant types, animals, soils, and climate.
The totality of all regions on the earth that support life and are affected by life, including parts of the atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water), and the lithosphere (solid portions of the earth, rocks).
In order to study an ecosystem, a researcher must delimit the
system spatially, temporarily, and often structurally and functionally.
These limits describe the boundary conditions of the system and the study.
The first product in the sequence of biochemical reactions involved
in the photosynthesis of such plants has three carbon atoms. Examples
include wheat, rice, and soybeans. C3-plants respond readily to an increase
in atmospheric CO2 with increased productivity (compare C4-plants).
The first product in the sequence of biochemical reactions involved
in the photosynthesis of such plants has four carbon atoms. Examples
include maize (corn), sorghum, millet, and sugarcane. C4-plants are
likely to be less efficient photosynthesizers in a carbon-enriched atmosphere
Animal, like the vulture, that consumes dead animals it did not kill.
causes of global change
See human driving forces.
Where rows and columns intersect in a spreadsheet, they create a cell.
Each cell is identified by a unique cell address; it contains data (a cell
entry) or a cell formula.
The unique way to identify a cell, consisting of a letter (indicating the column) and a number (indicating the row).
The data found in a cell.
A mathematical procedure or calculation entered into a cell.
A systematic method of placing objects (e.g., plants, animals) into
groups/classes based on a set of similarities (origin, genetic make-up,
population characteristic, etc.). The aim of a classification is simplification.
A change in the average, long-term climate conditions characteristic
of a region or the earth. (See also global warming.)
The vertical partition in a spreadsheet.
Plants that use the C3 photosynthetic processes, which optimize the
conversion of atmospheric carbon dioxide to plant carbon at about 20o
C. (See C3-plants.)
An area particularly conducive to the dispersal or spread of organisms.
Observations made of a phenomenon. The fundamental inputs into scientific analysis.
Bacteria and viruses that may kill or injure the host they depend upon
for life and dispersal.
The study of the interactions among species, and between species and
their environment. The term derives from the Greek word oikos which
means house or home.
All living organisms together with the physical environment in which
they live and which they affect through a complex set of mutual interactions.
The range in types of organisms that use a space.
The moving of energy from one storage unit to another. In the process
of feeding, an animal transfers energy (measurable in calories) from the
plant to its body.
The amount of water that soils can hold against the pull of gravity and that can be used by plants.
food chain (food web)
A metaphor for the hierarchical interrelationship among organisms in an ecosystem that describes the uptake and transfer of mass and energy (nutrients) from primary producers, to herbivores, to carnivores, omnivores, and scavengers/carrion eaters, to decomposers which close the nutrient cycle.
The differential occurrence of a phenomenon across space. (See also geographic pattern.)
The way in which something happens, moves, develops, or is arranged
in space. Many phenomena display typical patterns. For example, rivers
in lowlands typically become wide and often meander, creating typical landforms
that are associated with specific types of vegetation (e.g., wetland or
river bank habitats). (See also
A change in global average temperatures as a result of an accumulation
of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere (see also climate change.)
Seeds of domesticated grasses, used to feed livestock or humans.
Titles or labels for columns in a spreadsheet.
human driving forces
Large societal changes that are thought to be causally linked to changes
in the global environment. Human driving forces are commonly identified
as (1) population, (2) technology, (3) economy, and (4) human values, beliefs,
impacts of global change
The effects of global (climatic) changes on humans or the environment.
Lines of equal value. An example is in a contour line that represents equal elevation on a topographic map.
A characteristic of the environment (e.g., light, water availability,
soil type, or abundance of predators) that restrict the growth or abundance
of a plant or animal species.
The moving of mass from one storage unit to another. In the process of soil erosion, masses of soil are moved from a topographically higher point downslope.
The process of combining and thereby diversifying the genetic characteristics of members of species that are able to interbreed.
What we discern our senses tell us about our surroundings. The principle process from which we derive data for scientific research.
An animal, (e.g., a bear, crow, and some rodents), that eats both plants
The study of previous animal and plant populations and their spatial
patterns and dynamics in geologic time.
An organism that provides no benefit for the host animal or plant and gains no benefit from its death. Examples include fleas, lice, schistosomes, and parasitic plants (e.g., orchid, mistletoe).
The state of permanently frozen ground (i.e., for the greater part of the year).
The process by which plants fix carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide into plant organic matter and release oxygen and water vapor back into the atmosphere.
A group of organisms coexisting at the same time in the same place and capable of interbreeding.
The conversion of geophysical resources (water, nutrients, CO2,
light) into biomass (primary production) (see primary producers),
and of that biomass into biomass at higher trophic levels.
Plants that use sunlight to fix atmospheric carbon into organic matter through photosynthesis.
An obstacle to the dispersal of organisms.
The exchange of gasses between the atmosphere and an organism.
responses to global change
All forms of haphazard or intentional human adaptations to a changed environment.
The horizontal partition in a spreadsheet.
The technique of selecting a subset of members of a larger population
when it is (as is commonly the case) impossible to study the entire population.
Depending on the purpose of the study (e.g., to get a sample that represents
the entire population), a researcher chooses individual members in a particular
fashion (the sampling design).
A biome of wet tropical forests composed of a wide variety of
broad leaf, evergreen trees and animals adapted to the climatic and vegetation
A method that tests the responsiveness (sensitivity) of a system to changes in one variable (an element that varies) of the system.
A category of closely related and similar organisms. More narrowly defined,
a population of individuals capable of interbreeding but not of breeding
with members of another species.
A computerized table. The spreadsheet appears as a grid made up of columns and rows that contain data or formulas.
A biome dominated by grasses, grazers adapted to open landscapes, and a semi-arid climate.
The mutually beneficial interrelationship (symbiotic interaction) of two or more organisms that is essential to the organisms' survival and reproduction.
The practice of clearing small plots of forested land for growing a mixed planting of crops, followed by a long period of abandonment.
The vegetative reproduction and replication of a plant by increasing the number of emergent reproductive and vegetal shoots.
The row of symbols, each indicating a function of the computer software, near the top of the computer screen.
The position of an organisms in the food chain (or food web).
A biome underlain by permanently frozen ground which prevents nutrient leaching; the tundra vegetation consists of low perennial herbs, shrubs, lichens, and grasses adapted to a very short growing season and tolerant of wet soils.
The tendency to vary or fluctuate around an average or expected value, or around a specific average pattern.
warm season plants
Plants that use the C4 photosynthetic processes, which optimizes the conversion of atmospheric carbon dioxide to plant carbon at about 35o C (see C4-plants).
A generated or earned output (result, profit, or production outcome).