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Flashcards in MIDTERM Deck (73):

age structure diagram 

  • used to study the number and ages of people in a country 
  • distribution betweeen males and females in each age group 


carbon cycle

  • Photosynthesis: fastest process
  • Respiration: returns CO2 to atmosphere
  • Exchange of carbon between the atmosphere and the ocean ( algae in the ocean dissolves co2)
  • Largest carbon pool= fossil fuels and the burning of trees causes ash and climate change



a graphical representation of basic climate parameters, that is monthly average temperature and precipitation, at a certain location 


nuclear power plants 

(how they work) 

nuclear fission: uranium 235 is split into two parts when it is striked by a nuetron. KEY REACTION IN NUCLEAR ENERGY. 


two types of nuclear reactors: (light water reactors) 

  1. boiling water reactors: uses heat from th core to boil water into steam that then spins turbines. 
  2. pressurized water reactors: uses heat from the core to heat a second water supply via a heat exchanger 



conventional farming 

  • agriculture involving large amts of fossil fuels, water, fertilizers and pesticides 
  • monocultures, feedlots and factories 


convergent plates

  • lithospheric plate boundary where the plates are pushed together by internal forces

Convergent -> Collide


countries with the greatest human growth rate 


  1. china 
  2. india 
  3. u.s 


crude oil refineries 

  • place where crude oil is heated and distilled then seperated based on boiling points. 

** refining oil decreases its net energy yield **


demographic transtition 

  • as countries become more indutrialized, first their deatn rates drop then their birth rates drop. 
  1. pre-industrial: children = free labor and care for there parents. birth and death rate high but low population. high infant mortality and low life expectancy. (egypt and pakistan) 
  2. transitional: infant mortatlity and death rates decrease. exponetial pop. growth and improves life expectancy. (ethopia, bangladesh)  
  3. industrial: decline in birth rates and starts to appraoch death rates and slower growth rates. (india)   
  4. post industrial: birth rate drops to equal death rate, populaiton decline but still overall high population. people become more affulent. (UK, Japan, U.S and Italy) 


desert biome

Temperate Deserts ( Neveda ) 

Human interferences:

  • 1.) large cities, 
  • 2.) live stock overgraze
  • 3.) off road vehicles destroy soil


  • 1.) cacti and other succulents 
  • 2.) creosote bush and other plants with short growth cycles

Animals and their adaptations:

  • Burrow
  • Sandcolored fur
  • Bison, Antelopes, Hares 

Abiotic factors:

  1. low precipitation 
  2. variable temperatures 
  3. soils rich in minerals but poor in organic material 

Polar Desert ( Northwest China ) 

Human Interference

1.) drilling for oil

2.) transport of oil leaves air pollution

3.) building of towns to provide for oil company workers

Dominant Plants

  • Douglas fir
  • Sitka
  • Spruce
  • Western hemlock
  • redwood
  • ground layer of mosses and ferns

Animals and their adaptations 

  • burrow
  •  huge ears to release heat

Abiotic Factors

  • cold winters
  • warm summers
  • low precip


divergent plates

  • lithospheric plate boundary where the plates move apart in opposite directions

example: Mid-Atlantic Ridge 


doubling time 

  • Rule of 70

70 / rate of population growth = the time it takes for the quanitiy of something to exponetionally double 


Easter Island

  • a small, isolated island in the freat expanse of the south pacific. 
  • polynesians used double-hulled sea-going canoes to colonize this island about 2,500 years ago 
  • brought along their food (chickens)  and culture
  • tragedy of the commons: they used up all the trees and resources until the island had nothing
  • since there were no resources, the pop. and civilization drastically crashed which resulted in fighting and canniabalsim. 


ecological footprint

  • amount of biologically productuve land and water needed to supply each person or pop. with the renewabe resources they use and to absorb or dispose of the wastes from such resource used. 


  • measures the average enviornmental impact of individuals or population in different countries and areas
  • humanity's footprint exceeds the earth's biological capacity to replenish renewable resources and absorb water by about 15%
  • larger in developed countries than in developing 
  • the per capita ecological footprint of the US is nearly double the country's biological capita per person


ecological niche

a species specific job in the habitat


equation to determine population growth 

(births + immigration) - (deaths + emigration)


first law of thermodynamics

  •  in all physical and chemical changes, energy is neither created nor destroyed, but it may be converted from one form to another. 


  • energy input always equals energy output


food web

  • complex networks of many interconnnected food chains and feeding relationships. 


forest fragmentation 

  • when forests are cut down in a manner that leaves relatively small, isolated patches of forest known as forest fragments or forest remnants.


green revolution 

  • introduction of scientifcally bred or selected varities of grain using higher imputs of fertilizers, pesticides and water resulting in a greater crop yield (industrilization of agriculture) 


gross primary annual productivity 

  • the rate at which an ecosystem's capture and store (photosynthesis) a given energy as biomass in a given length of time 


the amount of sugar that plants produce in phtotsynthesis

Gross -> Glucose


hot spots 

  • stationary zones of rising magma 
  • not a plate boundary 
  • plates move across hot spots 

examples: Hawaiian Islands (SEE PICTURE)  Yellowstone National Park 


how to create an experiment

using the scientific method..

  1. ask a question 
  2. do background research on your topic
  3. construct a hypothesis 
  4. test your hypothesis by doing the experiment
  5. analyze your data and draw a conclusion 
  6. communicate your results
  7. must have a independent and dependent variable
  8. must be a fair experiment, no personal opinions
  9. have mutliple trials 


how to lessen electrcity use 

  • unplugging things when not in use 
  • energy saving settings on appliances 
  • turning off lights when not in use 


hypoxic zone

  • zone infested w algae, enough algae to lower oxygen concentrations and kills animal life
  • bacteria metabloize the avaible dissovled oxyegen from the algae and the lack of oxygen creates a hypoxic zone 


K selected Species 



  • type one on survivorship curve 
  • fewer, larger offspring 
  • later reproductive age 
  • larger adults 
  • lower population growth 
  • high ability to compete 

examples: humans, elephants, lions, cows 


keystone species

species that play roles affecting many other organisms in an ecosystem 


layers of the atomosphere 

troposphere: innnermost layer, weather takes place here. decrease in temperature as altittude increases. 

stratosphere: temperature increases the farther from earth you get. gases do not mix well.  OZONE LOCATED IN THIS LAYER which protects eartn from UV rays. 

mesosphere: meteors burn up in this layer 

thermosphere: thinnest gas layer, auroras take place here and spxe shuttles orbit in this layer. also known as the ionossphere bc of the ionization and the aborbsition of the energetic charged particles. RADIO WAVES 


layers of the lake


1. littoral: shallow sunlight waters near the shore to the depth at which rooted plants stop growing. High biolofical diversity, adequate nutrients from bottom sediments 

2. limnetic: open, sunlit water surface layer away from the shore that extends to the depth penetrated by sunlight

3. profundal: deep ocean water where it is too dark for photosynthesis and has low oxygen levels 

4. benthic: Mostly decomposers and detritus feeders and fish that swim from one zone to the other inhabit it


layers of the ocean


1. coastal: warm, nutrient rich, shallow part of the ocean that extends form the high-tide mark on land to the edge of a shelflike extension of continental land masses known as the continental shelf

2. euphotic: upper layer of a body of water through which sunlight can penetrate and support photosynthesis

3. bathyal: dimly lit middle zone tha does not contain photosynthezing producers because of a lack of sunlight

4. abyssal: lowest zone, dark, and very cold whcih has little dissolved oxygen 


limiting factors

  • single factor that limits the growth, abundance, or distribution of the pop. of a species in a ecosystem 


  • Limiting Factor Principle: Too much or too little of any abiotic factor can limit or prevent growth of a pop., even if all factors are at or near the optimum range of tolerance 

examples: soil nutrients, precipatation


Logarithmic Growth

  • very slow growth rate, opppostie of exponential growth rate. 
  • rate at which some bacteria grow 


Logistic Growth

-Involves rapid exponential population growth followed by  a steady decrease in population growth with time until the population size levels off

-occurs as the pop. encounters environmental resistance and its rate of growth decreases as it approaches the carrying capacity. 

-after leveling off, the pop. fluctuates slightly above and below the carrying capacity 


Mediterranean Biome

-Subtropical dry and warm air in summer, cold currents

-In winter, they experience maritime airmasses and cyclonic storms from polar front 

-Sandwiched between deserts and temperate rainforests 

-heavy bark, shoots from base roots or lignotubers

-vegetation dominated by evergreen trees and sclerophyllous trees adapted to fire and to summer drought and cool moist winters

-annuals and perrenials

-regions: most original woodland now gone

-shrubs/trees & heath vegetation 


most productive ecosystems

-rainforests, ocean, salt marsh ,swamps


mountaintop removal 

  • type of surface mining that uses explosives, massive shovels, and draglines (machine) to remove the top of a mountain to expose the seams of coal underneath the mountain 


negative feedback loop

- also known as a corrective feedback loop 

- situation in which a change in a certain direction provides information that causes a system to change less in that direction 

-ex: recycling aluminum cans. Involves melting aluminim and feeding it back into an economic system to make new aluminum products. This reduces the need to find, extract, and process virgin aluminum ore. Also reduced the flow of waste matter into the environment 


net annual primary productivity 

  • the amount of energy that plants pass on to the commmunity of herbivores in an ecosystem 

npp= gpp - energy used by plants 


nitrogen cycle

  • nitrogen is needed in high amounts
  • found in DNA, RNA, Amino acids
  • only few organisms can directly convert nitrogen
  • production is caused more by humans than nature
  • Ammonification: bacteria converts ammonia to nitrate ions
  • Nitrogen fixation: gaseous nitrogen causes ammonia
  • -Used in fertilizers 
  • - Dishcarge from sewage plants which destroys marine habitats 
  • -Inputs of nitogen is affecting biodiversity 



nonnative species /alien species/ invasive species

-species that evolved somewhere else and then migrated into or are deliberately or accidentally introduced into a community


nuclear energy 






organic farming 

  • a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control (natural processes and resources) 
  • little to no fossil fuels involved 



layers of soil and rock overlying a mineral deposit


passive solar energy 

  • the use of building material, building placement and design to collect solar energy to keep building warm or cool. 
  • aborbs and stores heat from the sun directly within a structure using things such as double oanned windows, south-facing windows, insulation and tree placement. 
  • NO NEED for systems with pumps or mechanical devices. 


pH scale

- pH: Numeric value that indicates the relative aciditiy or alkalinity of a substance on a scale of 0 to 14, with the neutral point at 7. 

- acid solutions have pH values lower than 7, and basic or alkaline solutions have pH values greater than 7

-acids have a pH less than 7

-bases have a pH greater than 7


mass extinction 

wide- spread, often global event in which major grouops of species are wiped out over a short time. 


causes of mass extinction 

  • asteriod impacts (dinosuars) 
  • major climate change 
  • habitat loss 
  • natural disasters 
  • diseases 


positive feedback loop 

-situations in which a change in a certain direction provides information that causes a system to change further in the same direction 

-ex: depositing money in a bank at a compound interest and leaving it in there. The interest increases the balance, which through a positive feedback loop leads to more interest and an even higher balance


Primary consumers

  • eat the autotrophs 
  • herbivores
  • second on the pyramid 
  • ex. rabbit that eats grass


primary succession 

  • ecological succession in a bare area that has never been occupied by a community of organisms 
  • pioneer species move in, such as mosses and lichens 


R selected species 


  • type 3 on the survivorship curve
  • species with capacity for high rate of pop. increase
  • many small offspring (most die before reproductive stage) 
  • little parental care
  • early reproducitve age 
  • putting most of their energy into reproduction 
  • generalist niches 

examples: cockroaches, rodents, bacteria, dandelions (annual plants) 




the amount of various salts dissolved in a given volume of water


Savanna Biome

-Tropical grasslands 


-Human Interference 

1.) raising cattle converts savanna to desrt

2.) cattle drink a lot of water

3.) cattle move back & forth to watering holes and crample on grasses 

-Dominant Plants

1.) tall, perennial grasses

2.) sometimes drought-tolerant and fire resistant trees or shrubs 

-Animals and their adaptations

1.) elephants

2.) giraffes

3.) elephants eat lower to ground 

4.) eating high up 

5.) migrate

6.) groups 

-Abiotic Factors

1.) warm temperatures

2.) seasonal rainfall

3.) compact soil

4.) frequent fires set by lightning


second law of thermodynamics 

-when energy is changed from one form to another, some of the useful energy is always degraded to lower quality, more dispersed, less useful energy 

-this degraded energy usually takes the form of heat given off at a low temperature to the environment

-we cannot even break even in tems of energy quality bc energy always goes from a more usuful to a less useful form when energy is changed from one form to another


secondary succession 

  • ecological succession in an area in which natural vegetation has been removed or destroyed but the soil an leftover nutrients stay 


soil particle size 

largest to smallest 

  • sand 
  • silt 
  • clay 


soil profile

(layers of the soil) 

O horizon: uppermost horizon, made up of organic material (animal wastes, decomposing organisms) and live organsims. FORMS HUMUS 

A horizon: made up of weathered rock and leftover organic material from the O horizon. Often referred to as topsoil. 

E horizon: leached of clay, iron or aluminum oxides. ONLy minerals in this area are sand and silt. 

B horizon: recieves all the minerals that are leached out form A. illuviation occurs in this zone, dissovled materials from higher soil layers get brought down by water.

C horizion: composed of larger peices of rock that have not been weathered. 




soil triangle 

ratio of slit, sand and clay in soil 


survivorship curves 

graph that shows the number of surviors in different age groups 

type one:  k-selected organisms 

type three: r-selected organisms 


sustainable society 

- a society that manages its economy and pop. size without doing irreperable environmental harm by overloading the planet's ability to absorb environmental insults, replenish its resources, and sustain human and other forms of life over a specified period, usually hundreds to thousands of years

-during this period, it satisfies the needs of its people wihtout depleting natural resources and thereby jeopardizing the prospects of current and future generations of humans and other species


Taiga Biome

-largest biome in the world

high latitudesband high altitudes 

-short, wet summers

-long,cold winters

-not a lot of plants because of harsh conditions

-lichens and mosses

-coniferous trees and pines

-white spruce


-douglas fir


-lynx and weasels 

-wolverines, bobcats, minks, ermines

-snowshoe rabbit, red squirrels, voles

-Red Deer, elk, moose


Temperate Deciduous Biome

-New York

-Animals and their adaptations 

1.) Bear

2.) coyotes

3.) Hibernation 

4.) migration 

-Human Interference 

1.) clearing for agriculture and urban development 

2.) cutting down trees

3.) air pollution from transporting lumber 

-Abiotic Factors

1.) cold to moderate winters

2.) warm summers

3.) year-round precipitation 

4.) fertile soils

-Dominant Plants

1.) broadleaf deciduous trees 

2.) some conifers

3.) flowering shrubs

4.) herbs


theory of island biogeography 

- # of speices found on an island determined by the immigration and extinction rates 


-theory states the two rates will reach an equilbrium that determines the island's number of species 



thermal pollution 

  • degradtion of water quality by any processes that changes water temperature 
  • common cause is the use of water as a coolant in a nuclear power plant of a factory 


three major sources of calories 

  1. wheat 
  2. rice 
  3. corn 


total fetility rate 

  • the average # of children who will be born to a women during her lifetime, typically during her reproductive years 


tragedy of the commons 

  • delpetion of a resource that is normally free to people. overused enough so there isnt enough for everyon else 


transform fault / tanforming plate 

  • lithospheric plate boundary occurs where plates slide and grind past one another along a fracture (fault) in the lithosphere 
  • most found on ocean floor, but some on land


trophic levels

All organsims that are the same number of energy transfers away from the original source of energy that enters an ecosytem 

For example, all producers belong to the first trophic level, herbivores belong to the second


tundra biome

-Arctic tundra= Fort Yukon, Alaska

-Human Interference

1.) damage from oil production & transport

2.) Air pollution from oil production & transport

3.) Off road vehicles destroy soil 

-Animals and their adaptations

1.) Birds, mosquitos 

2.) Turn white in winter

3.) Migrate


1.) ground-hugging plants such as mosses, lichens, sedges, and short grasses 

-Abiotic Factors

1.) Strong winds

2.) Low precipitation 

3.) short and soggy summers

4.) long,cold, and dark winters

5.) Poorly developed soils 





-the measure of relative clarity of a liquid 

-the measurement is a key test to water quality 

-tip: salt marsh 



u.s surface mining control and reclamtion act of 1977

reclamation: the return of massively scarred or devasted land to a condition that is environmentally useful and socially and politically acceptable 

  • established mandatory standards for mining activites on state and federal lands, includong a requirment that include impacts on fish, wildlife and related to the environmental values be minimized 


Where are most rainforests located?

latin america

also located in south america, west africa and southeat asia 



world population count 

about 7 billion