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Environmental Bio


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Stages of Primary Succession
Stage I: Lichen Pioneer Community
Stage II: Moss
Stage III: Herbaceous Plants
Stage IV: Shrubs
Stage V: Trees
Stage VI: Climax Forest
Stages of Secondary Succession
Stage I: Annual Weeds
Stage II: Perennial Weeds
Stage III: Shrubs
Stage IV: Young Forest
Stage V: Climax Forest
Dynamic Equilibrium
Property of constant adjustments to change, maintaining overall balance of ecosystem
Subpart of Symbiosis: 2 species, 1 benefits, the other is neutral
Subpart of Symbiosis: Both organisms benefit
Biotic Potential
Max growth rate a population can achieve given unlimited resources and ideal environmental conditions
Environmental Resistance
Limiting factors controlling population growth
Carrying Capacity
Population best supported over "k" = carrying capacity
Herbivores (Primary Consumers)
Carnivores (Secondary Consumers)
Tertiary Consumers (carnivores that eat 2ndary consumers)
Detritovores: feed on tissues of dead, waste, or living. Digest materials outside bodies. Reduce and recycle organic material
Keystone Species
Thomas Paine's idea. A species whose presence in the ecosystem increases biodiversity. Ex: starfish
Gross Primary Productivity
Total amount of Energy fixed by autotrophs over a given period of time
Net Primary Productivity
Amount of Energy available to organisms other than autotrophs
Pyramid of Energy
Depicts production, use, and transfer of energy from one trophic level to another.
10% Rule
Only 10% of energy is transferred through food. The other 90% is usually lost as heat
Movement of water through porus materia like land or soil
Ecological Succession
Process by which an ecosystem matures. Gradual, sequential, and somewhat predictable change
Anything that can support life
Non-living things
Living organisms
Separation of populations into independently evolving species which no longer interbreed because of accumulated genetic differences
Primary Succession
Development of a new ecosystem in an area previously devoid of organisms. Like on bare rock
Natural Selection
Enables individuals with traits that better adapt them to survive and outnumber others (can lead to speciation)
anything that serves a need
Perpetual Resource
Inexhaustable resource (solar energy)
Renewable Resource
Can be replaced (water)
Nonrenewable Resource
Exists in finite supply or is replaced by environment VERY slowly
Deductive Logic
Scientific Method: "if...then" statement
All organisms of the same group that can interbreed
Same group species that live, interbreed, and interact in the same geographic area
All populations that live and interact with one another in a given area at a given time
Self-sustaining, self-regulating community of organisms interacting with the physical environment within a defined geographical area
Major regional groupings of plants and animals, classified according to dominant vegetation type
First Law of Thermodynamics
During physical/chemical change, energy is neither created nor destroyed
Secondary Succession
Regrowth of an ecosystem after a disturbance, faster than primary.
Second Law of Thermodynamics
With each change in form, energy is degraded to a less useful form and given off to the surroundings, usually as low quality heat
Energy always flows from high quality, concentrated, and organized forms to low quality, randomly-dispersed and disorganized form. Entropy up = disorder up
Anything that has mass and takes up space
Substances that cannot be changed into simpler substances by chemical means
Smallest unit of an element that retains the unique characteristics of element
Smallest particle of a substance that has the composition and chemical properties of that substance and is capable of individual existence
Anything with carbon
Mass of living things in a certain area (weight)
Properties of an Organism
Lives at expense of environment
Has cellular structure
Exhibits movement
Grows and Reproduces
Responds to stimuli
Grows and evolves
Aspects of "good science"
Be objective
Sufficiently replicated
Organization and quality of design
Independent Variable
The Condition under study (my example = beach location)
Dependent Variable
One that changed due to Independent Variable (my example = bacteria levels)
Sources of Energy in an Ecosystem
Solar radiation, less that 1% of energy is absorbed by plants

Earths core, gives off heat trapped from formation of the earth
Plants: with water, nutrients, and an Energy source, they produce compounds necessary for survival
Means food
PLants: use solar energy to convery water and carbon dioxide into glucose
Some bacteria: use energy from inorganic compounds to make and store carbons, this takes place without sunlight
Consumers: eat others or digest wastes of others, cannot make their own food
Human induced
Acute Pollution
Immediate effects, readily detected. ex-oil spill
Chronic Pollution
Long term, effects not noticed for years (delay=lag time)
Storage of chemicals in an organism in higher concentrations than are normally found in the environment ex-DDT in phytoplankton
Accumulation of chemicals in organisms in increasingly higher concentrations at successive trophic levels ex-fish eats phytoplankton with DDT
Applied Ecology
Scientific discipline that measures and attempts to predict the ecological consequences of human activities and to recommend ways to limit damahge to and restore ecosystems
Disturbance Ecology
Study of the impact of particular stresses on particular organisms, populations, and ecosystems. Ex-try to determine effects of climate change on fish population
Restoration Ecology
Concerned with repairing damage to ecosystems caused by us. Restore as close to natural state as possible
Landscape Ecology
Holistic study of a geographic area: distribution of ecosystems, movement of plants, animals, nutrients, and energy. How ecosystems function, interact, and change.
Study of purely ecological phenomena with in crop fields or agroecosystems
Study of toxins on population dynamics, community structure, and ecosystems
Conservation biology
dedicated to protecting, maintaining, and restoring the Earth biological diversity
The foods we NEED to live: carbs, protein, fats
land degredation in arid, dry, and sub-humid regions resulting mainly from adverse human impacts
Extinction Vortext
Small population, inbreeding, loss of genetic variability, smaller population
Genetic Diversity
Diversity within a population
Species Diversity
Diversity within an ecosystem
Community/Ecosystem Diversity
Diversity across an entire region
Endemic Species
Plant/animal confined to/exclusive to a specific area
Hereditary information in cellular form
Unique to each, their genetic makeup
All genes present in a population
Community Level Disturbance
Disturbance in a community, examples: resource competition, vegetation structure
Ecosystem Level Disturbance
Major changes to the ecosystem. examples: hydrology, soil chemistry, suceptability to fire
Kinetic Energy
energy due to motion or movement
Potential Energy
Energy in storage
Energy Efficiency
measure of the percentage of the total energy input that does useful work and is not converted to degrasde energy
Fossil Fuels
Fossilized remains of organic matter, when burned the chemical bonds break and energy is released. Examples: Coal, petroleum, natural gas
Hard coal, has the highest carbon content, most efficient, releases most heat when burned
Soft coal, most common. High levels of sulfer
Most abundant natural gas
Associated Gas
Natural gas that is found in sites with petroleum
Nonassociated Gas
Found alone, it seeps through rock until it is trapped against impervious rock
The splitting of the bonds in an atom. This happens when an atom is bombarded with a free neuron. Spurrs a chain reaction with the release of all the new free neurons
Different form of an element. Same number of protons, different number of neutrons. Example: U-235 (uranium used in nuclear energy)
Passive Solar System
Relies only on natural forces of conduction and radiation to disribute heat. Absorbs during the day and redistributes at night. Like a greenhouse
Active Solar System
Uses fans or pumps driven by electricity to enhance collection and distribution of suns heat
Postconsumer Waste
Waste that has already been consumed and used...recyling that has been bought
Preconsumer Waste
Waste from production that goes through the process again, has not been bought and used by a consumer
Critical Mass
Amount of fissionable material needed top sustain the reaction
An activity that depletes the resource in the process (logging, mining)
An activity that does not deplete the resource. Example: tourism, photography
Even-aged harvesting
timber harvesting that replaces the forest with a stand in which all the trees are about the same age
Uneven-aged harvesting
timber harvesting technique. involves three or more cuts spaced over the average ligetime of trees in a particular area
Causes genetic defects
Causes cancer
Effects the unborn fetus = birth defects
Endocrine Disrupters
Messes with hormones, problems with growth development and reproduction
Minamata Disease
In Japan, happened with mercury. Effected the fish, people, and cats
Break down toxic matter through electric currents
If acidic, add a base
Transforms chemicals in liquid form to solids
Natural process to keep organic wastes aerated and moist so they break down faster. Need to set up ideal conditions
Olgiatrophic Lake
Young Lake, usually much colder which slows progression. Typically very deep with rocky bottoms. Not very productive with fish or nutrients
Eutrophic Lake
"Old" Lake. Much warmer that olgiatrophic lakes, and much more productive
Limnetic Zone
In freshwater, the zone where light penetrates, and plants live
Profundal Zone
Freshwater: zone where no light penetrates, no plants
The area that separates the warmer top temperature water from the cold bottom water
Traditional Economy
People grow and make their own goods, families and communities self sufficient. Decisions on individual and community
Pure Command Economy
Government makes all decisions
Pure Market Economy
Economic decisions made by the buyers/sellers. based on supply/demand

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