Glossary

Here is the running list of vocabulary words used throughout the lessons. Some of the words were highlighted in a video and some are just words I thought would be helpful for you to be reminded of. If you'd like more added, please message me by going through the form under the Contact tab!

Abiotic: nonliving things that are part of an ecosystem, such as rocks, water and sunlight.

Angiosperm: a plant that produces seeds encased in fruit. They generally have showy flowers.

Atmosphere: layer of gases surrounding the Earth that create conditions in which life can flourish.

Biodiversity: the variety of life that exists in an ecosystem; describing an area as biodiverse means many different species that live there.

Biotic: living things that are  part of an ecosystem, such as plants (trees, grass, moss), animals (birds, fish, insects, mice, deer), fungi (mushrooms, slime molds), and microbes (bacteria, protists).

Canopy: the top layer of a forest ecosystem; generally made up of tree species; also called the overstory.

Compost: food waste (mostly fruit and vegetable scraps) that is able to decompose naturally instead of being sent to a landfill as garbage

Disturbance: an event that changes some aspect of the ecosystem, examples being floods, hurricanes, windstorms, landslides, and fires.

Dormant: a time of rest through seasons of harsh environmental conditions (ex. winter) that many plants and animals use to retain energy; hardwood tree leaf loss, seeds waiting in the soil seed bank, and animals hibernating are all examples of this.

Gymnosperm: a plant that produces "naked" seeds, meaning they aren't encased in fruit. Trees that are gymnosperms generally have needles and are evergreen.

Ecosystem: all of the living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) components of an area

Hardwood: tree species that use vessels for water transport and who typically have broad leaves that they lose in the winter

Herbaceous: a plant that lacks woody tissue, generally makes up the mid- and understories of a forest community

Hypothesis: a prediction on an experiment's outcome that is based on prior knowledge and experience

Longleaf pine: a Southern US pine species that is the main component of the longleaf pine savanna overstory, has high timber value, and shows a unique life history compared to other trees in that it spends the first years of it's life in a "grass stage".

Legume: a nitrogen-fixing plant that provides essential nutrients into the soil that other plants can use; generally a member of the Pea Family (Fabaceae)

Midstory: the layer of plants in between the understory (closet to the ground) and overstory (tallest trees); generally made up of shrubs, vines, tall herbaceous plants, and shorter trees.

Overstory: the top layer of a forest ecosystem; generally made up of tree species; also called the canopy.

Phloem: the cell layer of a tree trunk responsible for moving sugars created in photosynthesis from the leaves to the rest of the tree; these sugars are stored in sap and they provide necessary energy for the tree to grow and maintained itself.

Photosynthesis: the process in which plants produce their own food, by taking sunlight energy, carbon dioxide, and water and creating usable energy in the form of sugars and oxygen (with a little bit of water released as a by-product, see transpiration).

Reusable: an item that can be used over and over again for a long time

Recycle: the process of collecting materials (glass, cardboard, paper, etc.), breaking them down, and then rebuilding them into other useful items

Savanna: an ecosystem noted for having few to no trees but being dominated by grass species.

Seed bank: natural storage of dormant seeds in the soil; some seeds can wait underground for years until conditions are best for the plant to grow.

Softwood: tree species that use tracheids for water transport and who typically have needle-leaves that are evergreen

Tracheid: xylem cells for softwood trees; noted for being long, narrow, and having thick cell walls

Transpiration: the small amount of water loss that occurs when plants utilize photosynthesis to make food; this adds water vapor to the atmosphere and is a step in the water cycle

Understory: the layer of plants closest to the ground of a forest ecosystem; usually herbaceous and grass species

Vegetation: refers to the plants in an ecosystem

Vessel: xylem cells for hardwood trees; noted for being short, wide, and full of perforations (holes)

Xylem: the cell layer of a tree trunk responsible for moving water absorbed from the roots to the leaves of the tree; water is needed to perform photosynthesis, the process in which plants produce their own food.