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Learning Resources: Glossary

Glossary : Look up words that you may need the definition

Arthropod: animals without backbones, having jointed appendages, usually 2-3 distinct body parts and they are bilaterally symmetric. Examples include a spider.

City zoning ordinances: A rule, usually agreed upon by a city council, for specifying how land will be used. For example, an area might be zoned for low density residential use, so a builder could not put more houses per acre than the zoning allows.

Community: In ecology, this term refers to the populations of animals and plants that live within a defined area. (For example, all the plants and animals that live in South Mountain Park would be a community.)

Decomposer: Organisms which get their food by eating dead plant or animal material or waste products.

Desert Remnant: In the CAP LTER, a desert remnant is defined as an undisturbed piece of native Sonoran Desert that is surrounded or almost completely surrounded by a city.

Diverse, Diversity: In ecology, this term usually refers to how many different kinds of plants and animals are found in an area.

Ecology: Branch of biology that studies interactions among living things as well as interactions of living things and their physical environment.

Herbivore: Animal that eats plants.

Hypothesis: A statement that can be tested. Often written as an “if-then” statement. (If I do such-and-such, then such-and-such will happen.)

Land Use: Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Urban, Agricultural : As people move into an area they convert the natural surroundings to other uses and each of these uses is given a name.

Agricultural: refers to natural surroundings that have been converted to the production of crops or domestic animals.

Urban : refers to land that is not used for agricultural purposes

Residential: where people live, low density use is 1-2 homes per acre, while high density is > 15 homes/acre.

Commercial & Industrial: where people work. examples include shopping centers, hotels, motels, resorts, business parks, factories.

Recreation: parks and golf courses.

Larvae: Immature stage for some insects (frequently looks worm-like).

Life Cycle: The sequence of events in the lifetime of an organisms that starts with the first embryo through its growth until it can reproduce and the cycle begins again.

Natural phenomena: Occurrences that happen without the input of humans.

Parasites: Animal which lives on or inside another organism (can be a plant or an animal) and it gets its food from that organism (usually called a host).

Predators: Animal which captures and eats another animal.

Topography : The shape of the land. (Is it flat? Does it have hills? Is there a slope? etc.)

Urbanization : the process of transforming natural areas or agricultural areas into cities.

Xeriscape : Utilizing low-water use plants in landscape design.