## Glossary

Special | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

**ALL**

## A |
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## Abiotic factors (abiotic components)Nonliving factors that influences the life and activities of an organism (ex: light, temperature, water, pH…). |

## Alternative hypothesis (H1)The opposite to the null hypothesis; it considers that the observations are the result of a real effect and not due only to change (null hypothesis). |

## ANOVA (analysis of variance)A statistical method developed by R. A. Fischer used to test whether two or more sample means have been obtained from populations with the same sample mean. When only two samples are involved, the Student’s t-test can also be used. The analysis of variance is however more general in the sense that it can be used to test simultaneously three of more samples. |

## B |
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## BiodiversityShort for Biological Diversity, the term is used to refer the variety of life on Earth and all of the natural processes; variety of different species (species diversity), genetic variability among individuals (genetic diversity), variety of ecosystems (ecological diversity) and variety of functions such as energy flow and matter cycling (functional diversity). |

## BiogeographyIt concerns the patterns of distribution of species over the face of the globe and understanding the origins and mechanisms which determine the distribution. |

## Biotic Factors (biotic components)Any living factor that affects another organism; plants, animals, fungi, protist and bacteria are all biotic or living factors. |

## BiotopesSee habitat |

## C |
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## CommunityPopulations of all species living and interacting in an area at a particular time. |

## CompetitionNegative interaction between organisms caused by their need for a common resource. Competition may occur between individuals of the same species (intraspecific competition) or of different species (interspecific competition). |

## Computer GameAs for game but played on some for of computing device, such as a PC, a games-console like Playstation 3, Microsoft Xbox, or Nintendo GameCube. |

## ConstructivismA philosophical, epistemological, and pedagogical approach to learning, where learning is viewed as an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge. The learner selects and transforms information, constructs hypotheses, and makes decisions, relying on a cognitive structure to do so. |

## Constructivist Learning EnvironmentA place where learners may work together and support each other as they use a variety of tools and information resources in their guided pursuit of learning goals and problem-solving activities. |

## D |
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## Descriptive statisticsA set of brief descriptive coefficients that summarizes a given data set that represents either the entire population or a sample. The measures that describe the data set are measures of central tendency and measures of variability or dispersion. Measures of central tendency include the mean, median and mode, while measures of variability include namely the standard deviation and the variance. |

## DisturbanceIt is any process or condition external to the natural physiology of living organisms that results in the sudden mortality of biomass in a community on a time scale significantly shorter than that of the accumulation of the biomass. |

## DominanceIn Behavioural Ecology it is the social status of an animal within a group; an individual that maintains high social status by aggressive behaviour towards others is exhibiting dominance. In Vegetation studies dominance refers to the capacity for one species to exert overriding influence upon others within the community. |

## E |
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## EcosystemFunctional ecological unit in which the biological, physical and chemical components of the environment interact. |

## Error risksIn statistics a type I Error (or error of the first type) is the incorrect rejection of a true null hypothesis and a type II Error (or error of the second type) is the failure to reject a false null hypothesis. |

## F |
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## First-Person Shooter (FPS) GameA game that emphasizes shooting and combat from the perspective of the character controlled by the player. |

## G |
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## GameAn activity that is voluntary and enjoyable, separate from the real world, uncertain, unproductive (in that the activity does not produce any goods of external value) and governed by rules. |

## Game designThe process of designing the content and rules of a game and design of gameplay, environment, storyline and characters in a game. |

## GameplayThe way players interact with a particular computer game. It is further characterized as the way the game is played, including the rules, the plot, the objectives and how to conquer them, as well as a player's overall experience. |

## Games engineA suite of visual development tools and reusable software components designed to support the creation and development of computer games. The core functionality provided by a game engine typically includes a rendering engine for 2D/3D graphics, a physics engine (collision detection), sound, animation, artificial intelligence and networking. |

## Games-based LearningThe use of computer and non-computer games, such as card and board games, to deliver, support, and enhance teaching, learning, assessment, and evaluation. |

## H |
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## HabitatThe natural environment where an organism or population of organisms live. However it may also refer to the natural environment and the organism populations (community) that live in it. In this sense it is almost the same as the term biotope. The marine coastal habitat, the forest, the mountain and the prairie, are examples of habitats. |

## Hypothesis testingthe use of statistics to assess whether sample data is consistent to a given hypothesis. The usual process of hypothesis testing consists of the following steps: Formulate the null hypotheses (H0) and the alternative hypothesis (H1) Identify a statistical test that can be used to assess the truth of the null hypothesis Compute the probability value that means the chance of the null hypothesis being true. The smaller the probability (p-value) is, the stronger the evidence against the null hypothesis. Compare the p-value to an acceptable significance value (a value). If p ≤ a, the null hypothesis is rejected and the alternative hypothesis is accepted. |

## M |
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## Mean (average or arithmetic mean)Is the central tendency of a sample of values, taken as the sum of the values divided by the size of the sample, i.e., the number of observations. |

## MedianThe numerical value separating the higher half of a data set from the lower half. |

## MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game)A genre of RPG games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual world. |

## Multi-stageA frequently used and usually more practical, random sampling method. It is particularly useful in situations for which no list of the elements within a population is available and therefore cannot be selected directly. As this form of sampling is conducted by randomly selecting subgroups of the population, possibly in several stages, it should produce results equivalent to a simple random sampling strategy. |

## N |
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## Niche overlapQuantification of the similarity of niches and, in particular, of the similarity in the use of resource type. The resources involved can be food, but also, for instance, may be aspects of the habitat. |

## Null-hypothesis (H0)The “no difference” or “no association” hypothesis, to be tested, usually by means of a significance test, against an alternative hypothesis. Examples: The species composition (or species body size or species phenology) is the same in different habitat types. The species composition is the same in natural areas and areas disturbed by anthropogenic activities. The species composition is the same in different geographical areas. The species composition is the same in different seasons; Grassland species composition is the same in farmed and not-farmed fields (or in inland and coastal dune habitats or….). Grassland plants have same type of leaves in cultured and not cultured fields (or inland and coastal dune habitats or….). The diversity of cat mantles is the same comparing blocks of buildings in the same town or different towns Colour of flowers is the same in grasslands, dunes, woodlands, coastal chaparral…. |

## P |
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## PollutionThe release of a by-product of human activity -chemical or physical- that causes harm to human health and/or the natural environment; contamination causing adverse effects. |

## PopulationGroup of the individual organisms of the same species living in a particular area (habitat). |

## R |
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## RichnessThe number of species present at a particular place and time. No assumptions are made about the relative abundance of these species. It is not possible to enumerate all species in a community then it become necessary to distinguish between numerical species richness, which is defined as the number of species per specified number of individuals or biomass, and species density, which is the number of species per specified collection area. |

## RPG (Role-Playing Game)A game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting or through a process of structured decision-making or character development. |

## S |
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## Sampling errorThe degree to which a sample might differ from the population. |

## Sampling methodThe process of selecting some part of a population to observe and to estimate something of interest about the whole population (ex: the abundance of a rare or endangered species in the population might be estimated by the pattern of detections from a sample of sites taken in the study region). These methods assume that each member of the population has a known non-zero probability of being selected (probability sampling methods). They include simple random sampling, systematic sampling, and stratified sampling. Sampling error, which is the degree to which a sample might differ from the population, could be calculated and results are reported plus or minus the sampling error. |

## ScaleThe levels or sizes at which particular ecological entities or processes are considered. One distinction that is often made is between local, regional and biogeographic scales. |

## Scientific dataFacts obtained by making observations and measurements. |

## Scientific hypothesisEducated guesses that attempt to explain scientific observations or scientific laws. It is the first step in the scientific method. |

## Scientific methodThe way scientists gather and evaluate information; it involves observations, hypothesis formulation and testing. |

## Scientific or natural lawsDescription of what scientists find happening in nature repeatedly in the same way without known exceptions. See scientific theories. |

## Scientific theoriesWell-tested and widely accepted explanations of data and laws. |

## Significance testA statistical procedure that when applied to a set of observations results in a probability value (p-value) relative to some hypothesis. Examples: Student’s t test, Wilcoxon’s test. |

## Simple random samplingIt considers that each member of the population has an equal and known chance of being selected by random sampling. This is mainly true for very large populations. |

## SimulationA representation of some real-world system that can also take on some aspects of reality for participants and users. Key features of simulations are that they represent real-world systems, contain rules and strategies that allow flexible and variable simulation activity to evolve, and the cost of error for participants is low, protecting them from the more severe consequences of mistakes. |

## Simulation GameA game in which participants are provided with a simulated environment in which to play. |

## SizeReferring to an organism, means its dimensions. There are often expressed as length, but can be expressed in mass, volume or energy. |

## SpeciesGroup of individual organisms that are capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring in nature. It is the largest gene pool that exists under natural conditions. |

## StabilityThe tendency of a community to return to its original state after a disturbance or to resist such disturbance. It includes the property of resilience (the speed with which a community returns to its former state after a perturbation) and resistance (the ability of a community to avoid displacement in the first place). |

## Standard deviation (SD)Is a measure of variability; it shows how much variation or dispersion a group of observation exhibit from the mean, or from an expected value. A low standard deviation indicates that the data points tend to be very close to the mean; high standard deviation indicates that the data points are spread out over a large range of values. It is the square root of the variance. |

## Standard error (SE)A measure of the precision of the sample mean of the different samples obtained to estimate the population. Its value decreases as the sample size increases, as the chance of variation from the population mean is reduced. It depends on both the standard deviation and the sample size (SE = SD/√(sample size). The SE can be calculated to other statistic measures (descriptors) than the mean. |

## Statistical hypothesisRefers to a statement on which hypothesis testing will be based. Particularly important statistical hypotheses include the null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis. |

## Statistical testingA general term for the procedure of assessing whether sample data is consistent with the scientific hypothesis formulated. |

## Statistical testsStatistical procedures to determine whether there is enough evidence to "reject" or “accept” a statement or hypothesis. |

## StatisticsIs the study of the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. The term is also used to represent the numerical characteristics of a sample (ex: the sample mean, variance…). |

## StorylineDevelops the plot of the game as well as the characters and objects in the game and the settings that connect them into an emotional narrative that is gradually released as the game progresses. |

## Strategy GameA game that focuses on gameplay requiring careful and skillful thinking and planning in order to achieve victory. |

## Stratified samplingA variant on simple random and systematic sampling methods and is used when there is a number of distinct subgroups, within each it is required that there is full representation. A stratified sample is constructed by classifying the population in sub-populations (or strata), based on some well-known characteristics of the population, such as age, gender or socio-economic status. The selection of elements is then made separately from within each strata, usually by random or systematic sampling methods. |

## Student’s t-testSignificance test for assessing hypothesis about population means; a single sample t-test is used in situations where it is required to test whether the mean of a population takes a particular value; an independent samples t-test is designed to test the equality of the means of two populations, when independent samples are available from each population. |

## Systematic samplingIs a frequently used variant of simple random sampling. When performing systematic sampling, every element from the list is selected from a randomly selected starting point. For example, if we have a listed population of 6000 members and wish to draw a sample of 2000, we would select every 30th (6000 divided by 200) person from the list. In practice, we would randomly select a number between 1 and 30 to act as our starting point. |

## T |
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## TaxonThe organisms or species that fills a systematic category. The Linnaean taxonomic units are species, genera, families, orders, classes and phyla. |

## V |
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## VarianceA measure of how far a set of numbers is spread out around their mean. It corresponds to the sums of squares of the deviations of the observations to the mean, divided by the number of observations minus 1. |

## Virtual WorldA web-based, simulated environment where users interact via motionable avatars; ie. graphical images that represent people. |