Environments Vocabulary/Biome Info

Quiz on the below vocabulary will be in middle of September and quiz on vocabulary and the 6 biomes will be in early October.

Test format will include both definitions and short answers.

For the first quiz, Students should be familiar with the words and definitions below:

Scroll down for information/notes on each of the six biomes.

Animals are classified as either Vertebrates or Invertebrates.

Vertebrates are classified into 5 groups:

Mammals       Birds        Fish        Reptiles       Amphibians

Students should be able to describe what makes a bird a bird, how a mammal is different than a fish, etc.

adaptation - a trait or characteristic that helps an organism survive.

carnivore - an animal that eats other animals; also called a second level consumer.

classification - the process of grouping similar things together.

climate - the pattern of weather an area experiences over a long period of time.

community - a group of populations that live together.

competition - a kind of contest amoung populations that need to get a cetain amound of food, water, and shelter to survive.

consumer - an animal that eats plants, other animals, or both.

decomposer - a consumer that obtains food energy by breaking down the remains of dead plants and animals.

ecosystem - a community of organisms and the environment in which they live.

energy pyramid - a diagram that shows how much food energy is passed from each level in a food chain to the next level.

environment - all the living and non living things that surround and affect an organism.

food chain - the transfer of food energy between organisms in an ecosystem.

food web - a diagram that shows the relationships between different food chains in an ecosystem.

germinate - to sprout, begin growing, for a plant.

habitat - an area where an organism can find everything it needs to survive.

herbivore - an animal that eats only producers.

instinct - a behavior that an organism inherits.

invertebrate - an animal without a backbone.

kingdom - a major, large group of similar organisms (plant kingdom, animal kingdom)

life cycle - the stages that a living thing goes through as it grows and changes.

organism - any living thing that maintains vital life processes (includes all plants and animals).

photosynthesis - the process in which plants make food by using water from the soil, carbon dioxide from the air, and energy from the sun.

population - a group of organisms of one kind that live in one location.

predator - an animal that kills and eats other animals.

prey - an animal that is eaten by a predator.

producer - a living thing, such as a plant, that makes its own food.

species - a unique kind of organism.

sun - the star at the center of our solar system, provides heat and light energy for plants and animals.

symbiosis - a relationship between different kinds of organisms.

vertebrate - an animal with a backbone.

water cycle - the process in which water continuously moves from Earth's surface into the atmosphere and back again.

omnivore - an animal that eats both plants and other animals.

6 Biomes

Tropical Rainforest

     -found near the Equator

     - many tall trees forming a canopy over forest floor

     - little sunlight reaches the forest floor

     - Soil is shallow and infertile (not good)

     - Climate is rainy and hot all year long

     - 12 hours of sunlight and 12 of darkness each day

     - Rainfall  80 - 180 inches of rain each year

     - many species of organisms (2 - 20 million)  some still undiscovered

Temperate Deciduous Forest

      - found North of the equator

     - deciduous trees have leaves that fall off in autumn and regrow in spring

     - Climate  4 seasons with hot summers and cold winters

     - long summer days and short winter days

     - Rainfall 30 - 60 inches of rain each year

     - soil is deep and fertile, good for growing, decaying leaves create layers

     - wide variety of plant and animal life

     - animals may migrate to find food, grow thicker coats, and may hibernate


     - found in the tropics North and South of the Equator

     - dominated by tall grasses with few trees

     - transition biome between rainforests and deserts

     - Climate  two seasons rainy and dry

     - Rainfall  30 - 40 inches each year

     - soil is shallow and infertile, heavy rains wash away nutrients

     - plant adaptations-  deep roots, go dormant (rest) during dry seasons,

               grasses regenerate quickly, thorns and sharp leaves protect plants from grazing animals

     - animal adaptations - large herds of herbivores migrate to find food and water sources,

               herds often followed by groups of carnivores and predators

Temperate Grassland

     - found North of the Equator

     - often found in the interior of continents

     - climate, generally dry with four seasons

     - summer temperatures very hot (100 F) with harsh winters that get very cold (below freezing)

     - rainfall is 8 - 40 inches per year

     - soil is deep and fertile, great for growing,  "America's Heartland"

     - plant adaptations - plants tolerate dryness, fires, and grazing animals, grasses go dormant and have long, deep root systems

               plants regenerate (regrow) quickly after fires and droughts

     - animal adaptations - for winter some animals may grow thick coats of fur, some build burrows and hibernate,

                some animals do not sweat (conserve water in dry times) 


     - found in the far North, just below the polar ice cap

     - Climate - cold and dry, short cool summers with long cold winters

     - Soil - shallow and infertile

     - permafrost (permanently frozen soil)

     - Rainfall - minimal but cold and dry

     - plant adaptations - fragile ecosystems, short growing seasons

               plants often small and require few nutrients

     - animal adaptations - thicker coats of fur, smaller ears to conserve heat, may hibernate

               herds (such as caribou) may migrate south for food

               birds may migrate south in fall and return in spring


     - found in many locations throughout many continents

     - Climate - hot, dry

               very hot summers and cool winters

               hot day temperatures and cold night temperatures

     - Soil - sandy, rocky, flat, mountainous

               soil is infertile and shallow

     - rainfall - less than 10 inches of rain each year

    - plant adaptations - deep roots, plants grow far apart for less competition, may store water for dry times

               some seeds may go dormant for years awaiting good conditions

     - animal adaptations - many smaller animal species, larger animals may visit for food

               many animals are nocturnal (come out at night to avoid daytime heat)