AP Environmental Exam Flashcards

Environmental Studies
Terms Definitions
Phosphate formula
geographic isolation
influences evolution.
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, a chlorinated hydrocarbon that has been widely used as an insecticide but is now banned in some countries.
big like an elephant.
Disability-Adjusted Life Years. Measure of the overall "burden of disease". To quantify the impact of premature death and disabilty by combining them.
rarely kill their hosts
the dispersal of a thing.
polyvarietal cultivation
cultivation of many varieties.
Endangered Species Act. Protect critically imperiled species from extinction.
Severely degraded sites-- open-pit mines or large-scale construction
Pesticide cons
genetic resistance, ecosystem imbalance, pesticide treadmill, persistence, bioaccumulation, biological magnification
break down organic detritus (bacteria/fungi) into simpler inorganic compounds
• Ecosystem
·         Community of different species interacting with one another and with the chemical and physical factors making up its nonliving environment.
lands that are transitional between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and are covered with water for at least part of the year.
the general condition of the atmosphere at a particular time and place.
phosphorus cycle
the worldwide circulation of phosphorus from the abiotic environment.
Porous, water-bearing layers of sand gravel and rock below earth's surface. reserviors for groundwater.
Carbon Monoxide
Sources include incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Effects:binds to hemoglobin reducing bloods ability to carry O2. Reduction accomplished by catalytic converters, oxygenated fuel, mass transit
environmental revolution
Cultural change involving halting population growth and altering lifestyles, political and economic systems, and the way we treat the environment so that we can help sustain the earth for ourselves and other species. This involves working with the rest of nature by learning more about how nature sustains itself.
Organisms that feed on another organism over a period of time, without killing it immediately, but usually does do it harm
a community of different species interacting with each other and with their nonliving environment of matter and energy.  All of the earth’s diverse ecosystems comprise the biosphere
the one-way movement of individuals out of a population to another area
Unwanted organism that directly or indirectly interferes with human activities.
developing country
a country not highly industrialized and characterized by a high fertility rate, high infant mortality rate, and low per-capita income.
hydrologic cycle
the water cycle, which includes evaporation, precipitation, and flow to the seas. supplies terrestrial organisms with a continual supply of fresh water.
free-access resource
resource that can be accessed freely.
environmental science
the interdisciplinary study of how humanity interacts with other organisms and the nonliving physical environment.
a heterotroph that breaks down organic material and uses the decomposition products to supply it with energy.
non-ionizing radiation
any type of electromagnetic radiation that does not carry enough energy per quantum to ionize atoms or molecules — that is, to completely remove an electron from an atom or molecule.
contour farming
plowing that matches the natural contour of the land, that is, the furrows run around rather than up and down a hill; lessens erosion, as on a hillside.
ecological footprint
concept for measuring the demand placed on earth's resources by individuals from different parts of the world, involving calculations of the natural area required to satisfy human needs
The world is characterized by scarcity and competition in which too many people fight for too little resources.
second layer of atmosphere 10-30 miles about Earth's surface. contains protective ozone layer
Sanitary Landfill
problems include leachate, which is solved using a liner with a collection system; methane gas which may be collected and burned; volume of garbage which may be compacted or reduced
Pros of petroleum
cheap, easily transported, high quality energy
the process by which one techtonic plate is pushed down below another as plates crash into each other
renewable resource
Resource that can be replenished rapidly (hours to several decades) through natural processes. Examples are trees in forests, grasses in grasslands, wild animals, fresh surface water in lakes and streams, most groundwater, fresh air, and fertile soil. If such a resource is used faster than it is replenished, it can be depleted and converted into a nonrenewable resource.
All things such as air, water, minerals, and metals, that are neither living organisms nor products uniquely produced by living things
The diversity of living things found in the natural world
consists of earth’s water, found in liquid water, ice, and water vapor.
Foundation species
Species that shape communities by creating and enhancing habitat that benefits other species.
agricultural revolution
Gradual shift from small, mobile hunting and gathering bands to settled agricultural communities in which people survived by learning how to breed and raise wild animals and to cultivate wild plants near where they lived. It began 10,000[[endash]]12,000 years ago. Compare environmental revolution, hunter[[endash]]gatherers, industrial[[endash]]medical revolution, information and globalization revolution.
Transfer of energy threw food chains or webs is very efficient, making a lot of energy avaliable to organisms
o Chemosynthesis
Process in which certain organisms (mostly specialized bacteria) extract inorganic compounds from their environment and convert them into organic nutrient compounds without the presence of sunlight
minimum-tillage farming
The use of cropping systems with minimal tillage is usually desirable, because intensive tillage tends to break down soil structure.
electromagnetic radiation
a ubiquitous phenomenon that takes the form of self-propagating waves in a vacuum or in matter.
euphotic zone
the upper reaches of the pelagic environment, from the surface to a maximum depth of 150m in the clearest open ocean water; sufficient light penetrates the euphotic zone to support photosynthesis.
carbon oxides
Carbon forms two important gases with oxygen: carbon monoxide, CO, and carbon dioxide, CO2.
an idea agricultural soil that has an optimum combination of different soil particle sizes: approx. 40% each of sand and silt, and about 20% of clay.
water is too rich in nutrients that support too much algae growth, leads to little dissolved oxygen
David Brower
Executive Director of the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth and earth Island Institute. Introduced many techniques of modern environmentalism.
Electricity Generation
steam, from water boiled by fossil fuels or nuclear energy, or falling water is used to turn a generator
Nuclear Fission
nuclei of isotopes split apart when struck by neutrons
Best solution to Energy shortage
conservation and increase efficiency
common-property resource
Resource that people normally are free to use; each user can deplete or degrade the available supply. Most are renewable and owned by no one. Examples are clean air, fish in parts of the ocean not under the control of a coastal country, migratory birds, gases of the lower atmosphere, and the ozone content of the upper atmosphere (stratosphere). See tragedy of the commons.
A group within a single species whose individuals can and do freely interbreed
National Wildlife Refuges
Most refuges protect habitats and breeding areas for waterfowl and big game to provide a harvestable supply for hunters; a few protect endangered species from extinction.
Biological Community
consists of all the populations of different species interacting and living in a specific area; this is a network of plants, animals, and microorganisms.
Mass extinction
a significant rise in extinction rates above the background extinction level
carrying capacity
The maximum population of a given species that a prticular habitat can sustain indefinetely without being degraded
Asexual reproduction
Reproduction in which a mother cell divides to produce two identical daughter cells that are clones of the mother cell. This type of reproduction is common in single-celled organisms.
second-growth forest
a forest or woodland area which has re-grown after a major disturbance such as fire, insect infestation, timber harvest or windthrow, until a long enough period has passed so that the effects of the disturbance are no longer evident.
John Muir
A geologist and first president of the Sierra Club. Argued that nature deserves the right to exist for it's own sake. Aesthetic and spiritual value was the core of nature protection.
Effects of ozone depletion
increased UV, skin cancer, cataracts, decreased plant growth
doubling time
The time it takes (usually in years) for the quantity of something growing exponentially to double. It can be calculated by dividing the annual percentage growth rate into 70.
Nation Forest System
Consists of 155 forests, and 22 grasslands. They are used for logging, mining, livestock grazing, farming, oil and gas extraction, recreation, hunting, fishing, and conservation of watershed, soil, and wildlife.
sustainable yield(sustained yield)
Highest rate at which a potentially renewable resource can be used without reducing its available supply throughout the world or in a particular area. See also environmental degradation.
A layer of soil and rock that overlies mineral deposits
o Omnivore
Animal that can use both plants and other animals as food sources. Examples are pigs, rats, cockroaches, and people
crude death rate
the number of deaths per 1000 people per year.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
new organisms created by altering the genetic material (DNA) of existing organisms; usually in an attempt to remove undesirable or create desirable characteristics in the new organism
Law of Conservation of Matter
Matter cannot be created nor destroyed, but it can be transformed
Nonpoint Source Pollution
large or dispersed land areas such as crop fields, streets, lawns that discharge pollutants into the environment over a large area
parts per million (ppm)
number of molecules out of one million molecules.
Non-Point Source (Area/Dispersed Source)
source spread over an area such as agricultural/feedlot runoff, urban runoff, traffic
Second Law of Thermodynamics
when energy is changed from one form to another, there is always less usable energy.  Energy quality is depleted.
Energy flow in food webs
only 10% of the usable energy is transferred
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