Environmental Science Vocabulary
Living Things in the Environment & Populations
organism - a living thing
habitat - an environment that provides the things an organism needs to live.
biotic factor - a living part of an organism’s habitat. i.e. grass, plants, seeds, fruit,
worms, bacteria, other animals
abiotic factor - a non-living part of an organisms habitat. i.e. water, sunlight, oxygen,
photosynthesis - the process in which plants use water along with sunlight and carbon
dioxide to make their own food.
species - a group of organisms that are physically similar and can produce offspring.
population - all the members of one species in a particular area. The “count” of one
species in an area.
ecosystem - the community of organisms that live in an area along with their non-
ecology - the study of how living things interact with each other and their
population density- the number of species in a specific area
limiting factor - a factor in the environment that causes the population to decrease or
go down. i.e. food and water, living space, weather
Interactions of Living Things & Changes in Community
natural selection - a process in which organisms best suited to the environment tend to
survive; survival of the “fittest.”
adaptation - a change in the body or behavior of a species making it easier to survive.
i.e. poisonous jellyfish, camouflage bugs, protective shell, etc.)
niche - the “job” an organism in its environment. i.e. plants produce oxygen, bacteria
decompose waste, hawks control mice population, etc.
competition - the struggle for survival between living things for the limited resources.
predator - an animal that hunts and eats other animals; i.e. lions are the predators of
prey - an animal that is hunted or eaten by other animals; i.e. mice are the prey of cats
symbiosis - two organi