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Roots of Common Terms in Ecology: Organisms and Their Environments

(L – Latin, G – Greek, F – French, U – Unknown origin)

Abiotic

a = not (L); bios = life, living (G)

Biotic

bios = life, living (G)

Carnivore

carnem = flesh (L); vorare = to devour, to eat (L)

Commensalism

com = together (L); mensa = table (L); literally, "to eat at the same table"; -ism (from Latin isma) is a suffix that turns nouns into actions, states, conditions, or doctrines 

Community

com = together (L); unitas = oneness, sameness (L)

Consumer

com = together (L); sumere = to take (L)

Detritivore

detri = to wear away (L); vorare = to devour, to eat (L)

Ecology

oikos = house, dwelling place (G); logia = study of (G)

Ecosystem

oikos = house, dwelling place (G); systema = organized whole (G)

Exponential

exponere = to put forth (L)

Eutrophication

eu = true (G); trophe = nourishment (G)

Herbivore

herb = grass (L); vorare = to devour, to eat (L)

Iteroparous

itero = to repeat (L); pario = to beget (L)

Logistic

logistikos = pertaining to logic (G)

Mutualism

mutuus = reciprocal, done in exchange (L); -ism (from Latin isma) is a suffix that turns nouns into actions, states, conditions, or doctrines

Niche

nichier = to nestle or nest (F)

Omnivore:

omnis = all, every (L); vorare = to devour, to eat (L)

Parasite

para = beside (G); sitos = food (U)

Parasitism

para = beside (G); sitos = food (U); literally "to eat at the table of another"; -ism (from Latin isma) is a suffix that turns nouns into actions, states, conditions, or doctrines

Semelparous

semel = once (L); pario = to beget (L)

Trophic

trophe = nourishment (G)

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