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Glossary


Adaptation:
a biological characteristic that can improve the chances of survival for animals, plants and their descendants

Biodiversity:
used to describe the variety of life (called biota) on Earth

Carnivorous:
meat-eating

Competitor:
a species that may compete with another species for the same resources, such as food

Conservation:
used to describe the management and protection of life on Earth

Conservation Biology:
An area in science that is concerned with the study and protection of the Earth's biodiversity

Ecosystem:
the physical environment in which a community of organisms interacts

Endangered:
a species that is at risk of becoming extinct in the foreseeable future

Endangered Species Act (ESA):
legislation, passed by Congress in 1973, which protects listed species (those considered threatened or endangered)

Extinction:
the act of becoming extinct, a species is extinct when no living members exist

Exotic Species:
a species introduced intentionally or accidentally into a new environment (in habitats where it is normally not found) through human activities

Fauna:
refers to the animal life of a particular region, geological period or environment

Flora:
refers to the plant life of a particular region, geological period or environment

Habitat:
the environment in which a plant or animal lives

Herbivorous:
plant-eating

Native Species:
a species that belongs to an area, they have been part of a given biological landscape for a long period time

Overexploitation:
the killing of a species well beyond the point that the population levels can be sustained

Population:
a group of organisms, of one species, that occupy a defined area and are usually isolated from similar groups of the same species

Predator:
an animal that preys on others

Prey:
an animal that is preyed upon by a predator

Pollution:
the contamination of air, water, or soil because of the discharge of harmful substances, usually resulting from human activities

Species:
a group of individuals that has similar characteristics and breeds only with another member of the same group

Threatened:
a species that is at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseeable future

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
a federal agency whose job is to oversee the implementation of the Endangered Species Act