Environmental Science Exam 1

all of the surrounding things, conditions, and influences affecting the growth or development of living things.
Environmental Science
the study of how the natural world works, how our environment affects us, and how we affect our environment. It is an interdisciplinary field.
Natural Resources
various substances and energy sources we need to survive.
Renewable Natural Resources
sunlight, wind, and wave energy are essentially inexhaustible while others, such as timber, water, and soil can be replenished by the environment over periods of time varying from months to decades.
Nonrenewable Natural Resources
resources such as mineral ores and crude oil are formed more slowly than we use them
Ecosystem Services
Important environmental benefits, such as clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and fertile soil in which to grow crops, that ecosystems provide
Agricultural Revolution
the time when human beings first domesticated plants and animals and no longer relied entirely on hunting and gathering
Industrial Revolution
the change from an agricultural to an industrial society and from home manufacturing to factory production, especially the one that took place in England from about 1750 to about 1850.
Fossil Fuels
a nonrenewable energy resource that forms in the Earth’s crust for millions of years
Tragedy of the Commons
situation in which people acting individually and in their own interest use up commonly available but limited resources, creating disaster for the entire community
Ecological Footprint
A way of measuring how much of an impact a person or community has on the earth. Someone who uses more natural resources will have a bigger footprint than someone who uses less.
A social movement dedicated to protecting the earth’s life support systems for us and other species.
Observational/Descriptive Science
Scientific work based on information gathering.
Hypothesis-Driven Science
Scientists know about a subject and ask specific questions using the scientific method.
Scientific Method
1. Observations 2. Questions 3. Hypothesis 4. Prediction 5. Experiment
Independent-manipulative variable
Dependent- depends on the Independent
a tentative theory about the natural world
a dominant view regarding a topic
Those who believe moral principles are always dependent on the particular situation.
those who believe that some fundamental ethical principles are universal and unchanging. In this vision, these principles are valid regardless of the context or situation
Environmental Ethics
a search for moral values and ethical principles in human relations with the natural world.
the belief that humans hold a special place in nature; being centered primarily on humans and human affairs.
The belief that all creatures have rights and values; being centered on nature rather than humans.
Moral principle that regards the ecosphere as the most important being in existence in an attempt to redress the imbalance created by anthropocentrism
20th Century Environment Ethics
Preservation (Muir) and Conservation (Pinchot)
Leopold Ethics
“We are the land.” Thought we should treat land in an ethical manner.
Environmental Justice
A recognition that access to a clean, healthy environment is a fundamental right of all human beings.
Environmental Sustainability
Developing strategies and practices that create a world economy that the planet can support indefinitely
Earth’s Natural Capital
Accumulated wealth of resources.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Comprehension assessment of the condition of the world’s ecological systems and their capacity to continue supporting us.
Sustainable Development
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Triple bottom line
Demand that our current human population limit its environmental impact while also promoting economic well-being and social equity
Negative Feedback Loop
an opposite action to what is occurring in the body to regain homeostasis, ex. if body temperature rises too high, body tries to lower it
Positive Feedback Loop
Causes a system to change further in the same direction.
a rigid layer made up of the uppermost part of the mantle and the crust (rock and sediment)
the mass of air surrounding the Earth
the watery layer of the earth’s surface
the regions of the surface and atmosphere of the Earth (or other planet) where living organisms exist
The buildup over time of nutrients in freshwater lakes and ponds that leads to an increase in the growth of algae
that which has mass and occupies space
Law of Conservation of Matter
a fundamental principle of classical physics that matter cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system
a molecule composed of one kind of atom; cannot be broken into simpler units by chemical reactions.
Compounds in food that the body requires for proper growth, maintenance, and functioning
the building blocks of matter
Proton- + charge
Neutron- lack electrical charge
Electron- – charge
electrically charged atoms that have gained or lost electrons.
groups of two or more atoms held together by chemical bonds
A molecule composed of atoms from two or more different elements.
Ionic Bonds
formed when one or more electrons are transferred from one atom to another
Covalent Bond
A chemical bond that involves sharing a pair of electrons between atoms in a molecule
pH Scale
a range of values that are used to express the acidity or alkalinity (basicity) of a system; each whole number on the scale indicates a tenfold change in acidity; a pH of 7 is neutral, a pH of less than 7 is acidic, and a pH of greater than 7 is basic
Organic Compounds
Consist of carbon atoms joined by bonds
Inorganic Compounds
Lack carbon-carbon bonds
organic molecules that are composed of only carbon and hydrogen
Long chains of repeated molecules: proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates. Considered as macromolecules because of their large size.
contains carbon, hydrogen, oxyge, and nitrogen. source of energy. needed by tissue for repair and growth. made up of 20 amino acids.
Nucleic Acids
very long organic compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and phosphorous, contain instructions that cells need to carry out all the functions of life.
compound made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms; major source of energy for the human body
energy-rich organic compounds, such as fats, oils, and waxes, that are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen
Phenomenon that can change the position, physical composition, and temperature of matter.
Potential Energy
energy stored due to an object’s position or arrangement
Kinetic Energy
the energy of motion
Chemical Energy
potential energy stored in chemical bonds of molecules.
First Law of Thermodynamics
the fundamental principle of physics that the total energy of an isolated system is constant despite internal changes
Second Law of Thermodynamics
when energy is changed from one form to another, some useful energy is always degraded into lower quality energy, usually heat
organisms that make their own food from sunlight (producers)
process by which plants and some other organisms use light energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and high-energy carbohydrates such as sugars and starches
Cellular Respiration
process that releases energy by breaking down glucose and other food molecules in the presence of oxygen
consumers, they rely on other organisms for their energy and food supply (consumers)
collection of all the organisms that live in a particular place, together with their nonliving environment
Primary Production
The amount of light energy converted to chemical energy (organic compounds) by autotrophs in an ecosystem during a given time period
Gross Primary Production
The total primary production of an ecosystem.
Net Primary Production
the gross primary production of an ecosystem minus the energy used by the producers for respiration.
Rate at which autotrophs convert energy to biomass.
Net Primary Productivity
the rate at which biomass accumulates in an ecosystem
A boundary between two types of ecological communities in which elements of each ecosystem mix.
Landscape Ecology
the study of past, present, and future patterns of landscape use, as well as ecosystem management and the biodiversity of interacting ecosystems
Conservation Biologists
Scientists that study the loss, protection, and restoration of biodiversity.
Ecological Models
the practice of construing and testing models that aim to explain and predict how ecological systems function.
Nutrient Cycles
circulates elements/molecules through all the spheres. Nutrients move from one pool to another. When a pool releases more materials than is accepts it is called source. Accepts more than it releases it is called a sink. The rate at which materials move between pools is termed flux.
Hydrologic Cycle
the natural process by which water is purified and made fresh through evaporation and precipitation. The cycle provides all the fresh water available for biological life.
the process by which water changes from liquid form to an atmospheric gas
loss of water from a plant through its leaves
water that falls to Earth’s surface as rain, snow, sleet, or hail
water that flows over the ground surface rather than soaking into the ground
Water that soaks down through soil and rock to recharge underground reservoirs called aquifers.
Water Table
Uppermost level of ground water held in an aquifer.
Carbon Cycle
the circulation and reutilization of carbon atoms especially via the process of photosynthesis and respiration.
Phosphorus Cycle
The movement of phosphorus atoms from rocks through the biosphere and hydrosphere and back to rocks.
Nitrogen Cycle
The recycling of nitrogen in the environment in which nitrogen goes from a gas, to organic compounds in the soil, to proteins in a plant or nitrates, and then is again released into the atmosphere as a gas.
Nitrogen Fixation
the assimilation of atmospheric nitrogen by soil bacteria and its release for plant use on the death of the bacteria
Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria
bacteria that can use nitrogen in soil to make nitrogen compounds
the oxidation of ammonium compounds in dead organic material into nitrates and nitrites by soil bacteria (making nitrogen available to plants)
Denitrifying bacteria
bacteria which often live in damp soil, and which convert nitrates into nitrogen gas
a group of organisms so similar to one another that they can breed and produce fertile offspring
a group of individuals of a particular species that live in a particular area.
Natural Selection
process by which individuals that are better suited to their environment survive and reproduce most successfully; also called survival of the fittest
Adaptive Trait
a heritable trait that enhances an individuals fitness; an evolutionary adaption
Random errors in gene replication that lead to a change in the sequence of nucleotides; the source of all genetic diversity
Artificial Selection
selection by humans for breeding of useful traits from the natural variation among different organisms
the variety of organisms in a given area, the genetic variation within a population, the variety of species in a community, or the variety of communities in an ecosystem
the formation of new species as a result of evolution
Allopatric Speciation
The formation of a new species as a result of an ancestral population’s becoming isolated by a geographic barrier.
Phylogenic Trees
Branching diagrams used to illustrate evolutionary relationships.
native to or confined to a certain region
the branch of biology concerned with the relations between organisms and their environment
Population Ecology
The study of populations in relation to the environment, including environmental influences on population density and distribution, age structure, and variations in population size.
Community Ecology
The study of how interactions between species affect community structure and organization
the type of environment in which an organism or group normally lives or occurs
the status of an organism within its environment and community (affecting its survival as a species)
*opposite of generalist* a species with a narrow niche that can tolerate a narrow range of conditions and can use only a few specific resources
Population Distribution
the way the population is spread out over an area. Random, uniformed, or clumped.
Density-dependent factors
Limiting factors (such as competition, predation, parasitism, and disease) that are affected by the number of individuals in a given area
Density-independent factors
Limiting factor that affects all populations in similar ways, regardless of population size.
organisms that reproduce later in life, produce fewer offspring and devote significant time and energy to the nurturing of their offspring
organisms that reproduce early in life and often and have a high capacity for reproductive growth.
Occurs when resources are limited and when multiple organisms seek the same resource. Can be among same species (intraspecific) or different species (interspecific)
Resource Partitioning
in a biological community various populations sharing environmental resources through specialization thereby reducing direct competition
Exploitative Interaction
Predation, parasitism, herbivory
Physically close association between interacting species (mutualism)
an assemblage of organisms living in the same area at the same time
Trophic Level
each step in a food chain or food web. Energy decreases as you move up the scale.
the total mass of living matter in a given unit area
Keystone Species
a species whose impact on its community or ecosystem are much larger and more influential than would be expected from mere abundance
Trophic Cascade
A series of changes in the population sizes of organisms at different trophic levels in a food chain, occurring when predators at high trophic levels indirectly promote populations of organisms at low trophic levels by keeping species at intermediate trophic levels in check. Trophic cascades may become apparent when a top predator is eliminated from a system.
Primary Succession
an ecological succession that begins in a an area where no biotic community previously existed
Secondary Succession
the series of changes that occur after a disturbance of an existing ecosystem
Pioneer Species
First species to populate an area during primary succession
Phase Shift
where the overall character of the community fundamentally changes.