Glossary of Terms Used in the Film

BIODIVERSITY: The number of species in an environment and their individual abundances.

CLIMATE CHANGE: A change in the world’s climate generally divided into two sources: a change due to natural causes or a change due to the direct and indirect effects of humans.

COMMUNITY: An association of interacting species that live in a particular area.

COMMUNITY AND ECOSYSTEM GENETICS: The study of the genetic interactions that occur among species and their abiotic environment in complex communities.

COMMUNITY AND ECOSYSTEM HERITABILITY: The tendency for related individuals to support similar communities of organisms and ecosystem processes.

COMMUNITY AND ECOYSTEM PHENOTYPES: The effects of genes at levels higher than the population.

COMMUNITY EVOLUTION: A genetic-based change in the ecological interactions that occur among species over time.

CONSERVATION BIOLOGY: The branch of biology that deals with the effects of humans on the environment and with the conservation of biological diversity.

DNA: Short for deoxyribonucleic acid. The nucleic acid that is the genetic material determining the makeup of all living cells and many viruses. It consists of two long strands of nucleotides linked together in a structure resembling a ladder twisted into a spiral.

ECOLOGY: The study of the relationships between living organisms and their environment.

ECOSYSTEM: A biotic community and its abiotic environment.

ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: The important benefits for human beings that arise from healthily functioning ecosystems, such as the production of oxygen and filtering of water.

ENERGY FLOW: The movement of energy from one species to another throughout an ecosystem (see also ‘trophic interactions’).

EXOTIC: A non-native species or even a gene that has been introduced into areas that is outside of its native geographical distribution.

FACILITATION: When one species benefits one or more other species, but these species may have positive, negative or neutral feedbacks on the facilitator.

FOUNDATION SPECIES: A species that structures a community by creating locally stable conditions for other species and by modulating and stabilizing fundamental ecosystem processes.

GENETICS: The branch of biology that deals with heredity, especially the mechanisms of hereditary transmission and the variation of inherited characteristics among similar or related organisms.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM: An organism whose genetic characteristics have been altered using the techniques of genetic engineering. For example, corn that has been genetically transformed with genes encoding toxins derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis to make the plant resistant to insect herbivores.

INTERACTION NETWORKS: A graphical representation of species interactions within a community of organisms.

MYCORRHIZA: The symbiotic association of the mycelium of a fungus with the roots of plants, such as conifers, cottonwoods, grasses, and orchids.

PHENOLOGY: The relation of periodic biological phenomena such as flowering, breeding, and migration to climatic conditions.

PHENOTYPE: The expression of a trait such as leaf shape in the individual or population.

SPECIES EXTINCTION: The fact of being extinct or the process of becoming extinct over a portion or the entire range of a species.

TROPHIC INTERACTIONS: A community of interacting species each of which occupies a particular level in a food chain. Interaction among trophic levels represents the transfer of energy from primary producers to predators of herbivores.

  • Northern Arizona University
  • National Science Foundation
  • University of Tasmania
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Merriam Powell Cemter for Environmental Research