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690 terms


a naturally occurring, inorganic solid that has a crystal structure and a definite chemical composition
metallic mineral
Mineral that yields a metal when processed. Example: iron, gold uranium and silver.
nonmetallic mineral
a mineral that is dull or glassy; used in its natural form. Example: sand, gravel
mineral deposit
an area in which a particular mineral is concentrated
solid, cohesive, aggregate of one or more minerals
rock cycle
sequence of events in which rocks are formed, destroyed, altered, and reformed by geological processes
most common rock-type in the earth's crust; solidified from magma, welling up from the earth's interior; basalt is most common
a type of igneous rock that generally contains large crystals and forms when magma cools slowly beneath Earth's surface.
fine-grained igneous rock that forms when magma cools quickly at or near Earth's surface
Rock formed when exposed to extreme heat and pressure; igneous or sedimentary rock that has changed form
chemical weathering
occurs when chemical reactions dissolve the minerals in rocks or change them into different minerals (oxidation or hydrolysis)
mechanical weathering
The type of weathering in which rock is physically broken into smaller pieces.
layer of a rock building up over billions of years
sedimentary rock
A type of rock that forms when particles from other rocks or the remains of plants and animals are pressed and cemented together (shale, sandstone, conglomerates)
open pit
type of mining is used primarily to obtain iron and copper, sand, gravel, and stone
the process of obtaining something from a mixture or compound by chemical or physical or mechanical means
compounds made of a metal and nonmetal that are formed when acids and bases react
Mineral deposits formed by evaporating seawater.
The process by which ore is melted to separate the useful metal from other elements; releases toxic air pollutants
mountain-top removal
Type of surface mining that uses explosives, massive shovels, and even larger machinery called draglines to remove the top of a mountain to expose seams of coal underneath a mountain. Compare area strip mining, contour strip mining.
Piles of loose rock produced when a mineral such as uranium is mined and processed (extracted and purified from the ore)
Mining Act
1872 Governed prospecting and mining of minerals on publicly owned land
1976; Controls hazardous waste with a cradle to grave system from storage, treatment, transportation to disposal.
requires that any surface mining be reclaimed (the soil surface must be restored to its original condition)
geological time scale
A time scale established by geologists that reflects a consistent sequence of historical periods, grouped into four eras: Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic.
supercontinent; large, ancient landmass that was composed of all the continents joined together
Accounts for ninety percent of earth's time, but only cellular organisms lived
Occurred between 545 mya and 245 mya. Life: trilobites, ammonites, fish, reptiles
Occurred between 245 mya and 65 mya. Life: dinosaurs
65 mya to present. Age of mammals
the layer of hot, solid material between Earth's crust and core
the thin and solid outermost layer of the Earth above the mantle; cool, lightweight, and brittle, composed mostly of oxygen
interior of the earth; composed of a dense, intensely hot mass of metal, mostly iron
tectonic plates
pieces of the lithosphere that move around on top of the asthenosphere due to convection currents
molten rock beneath the earth's surface
mid-ocean ridge
an underwater mountain chain where new ocean floor is formed; divergent
the process by which oceanic crust sinks beneath a deep-ocean trench and back into the mantle at a convergent plate boundary
a deep, narrow valley in the ocean floor
The solid, plastic layer of the mantle beneath the lithosphere; made of mantle rock that flows very slowly, which allows tectonic plates to move on top of it
the solid, outer layer of the earth that consists of the crust and the rigid upper part of the mantle
a boundary where earth's tectonic plates move toward each other. This causes a collision or subduction. This will result in the formation of volcanoes and mountain ranges.
Boundary created when two plates pull apart from each other, resulting in an opening between the plates where magma rises and cools (creates new crust)
the boundary between tectonic plates that are sliding past each other horizontally in opposite directions; San Andreas, earthquakes
when rock layers bend and buckle caused by tectonic movement
a break in Earth's crust resulting from the displacement of one side with respect to the other where masses of rock slip past each other
active volcano
One that is erupting or shows signs that it may erupt in the near future.
dormant volcano
a volcano expected to awaken in the future and become active
extinct volcano
A volcano that has not erupted for thousands of years and probably will not erupt again.
rift volcano
a volcano that forms along the edges spreading plates; when it erupts, new ocean floor is formed as magma fills in where the plates have separated
subduction volcano
occur where plates collide and slide over each other
hot spot volcano
In the middle of a tectonic plate, magma comes from deep in the Earth's mantle. It is called a magma plume. The plate moves over the hot spot over millions of years (Hawaii, Yellowstone)
ring of fire
the chain of volcanoes that lines the Pacific Rim
result of vibrations (often due to plate movements) deep in the Earth that release energy
the initial surface location of an earthquake
a measuring instrument for detecting and measuring the intensity and direction and duration of movements of the ground (such as an earthquake)
seismic sea wave that begins over an earthquake focus and can be highly destructive when it crashes on shore
low pressure
A large swirling mass of rising warm air that condenses and usually brings wet, stormy weather
high pressure
A large swirling mass of sinking warm air that causes fair/hot weather
to change from a liquid to a gas
latent heat
Heat energy that is absorbed when water changes to water vapor and stored in the water vapor
cause a gas or vapor to change into a liquid
Hadley cell
A system of vertical and horizontal air circulation predominating in tropical and subtropical regions and creating major weather patterns. Air in these cells rises near the equator because of strong solar heating there and falls because of cooling at about 30 degrees latitude
ocean conveyor system
Warm and cold ocean currents that redistribute heat around the globe. Surface ocean currents result from wind pushing on the ocean surface/Coriolis effect. As water moves, deep water wells up to replace it, creating deeper ocean currents. Differences in water density also drive ocean circulation.
huge circular moving current systems that dominate the surfaces of the oceans, formed because continents interrupt the currents' flow; rotates clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere
cold front
forms when cold air moves under warm air which is less dense and pushes air up (produces thunderstorms heavy rain or snow
warm front
a front where warm air moves over cold air and brings drizzly rain and then are followed by warm and clear weather
describing a change in temperature resulting from the cooling of rising air and the warming of sinking air
rapid inward circulation of air masses about a low-pressure center
storm surge
a "dome" of water that sweeps across the coast where a hurricane lands
a localized and violently destructive windstorm occurring over land characterized by a funnel-shaped cloud extending toward the ground
A sudden rush of cool air toward ground that can impact with speeds over 70 mph and produce damage similar to that of a tornado. It usually occurs near the leading edge of the storm or may occur in heavy rain.
willy willy
Australia's term for a cyclone; rotates clockwise
ice core
time measurement to check pollution as well as global warming and CO2 levels througha from the accumulation of snow and ice over many years that have re-crystallized and have trapped air bubbles from previous time periods
Milankovitch cycle
Variations in eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth's orbit determines climactic patterns on Earth
relative humidity
the ratio of the amount of water in the air at a give temperature to the maximum amount it could hold at that temperature
temperature inversion
atmospheric condition in which warm air traps cooler air near the earth's surface
frontal lifting
if warm and cool air collide, the warm air will be forced up
stationary front
a front between warm and cold air masses that is moving very slowly or not at all.
(United Nations) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, created in response to global warming, input from hundreds of scientists, provides the definitive scientific statement about global warming
group of halogens from air conditioners and refrigerators that destroy the ozone layer
Kyoto Protocol
establishes legally binding commitments for the reduction of four greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride), and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons) Took place in Rio De Janeiro in 1992
carbon neutral
Having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset.The carbon neutral concept may be extended to include other greenhouse gases (GHG) measured in terms of their carbon dioxide equivalence -- the impact a GHG has on the atmosphere expressed in the equivalent amount of CO2
carbon management
Methods countries are using to reduce their carbon emissions;ways to separate and capture the carbon dioxide produced during the combustion of fossil fuels and then sequester it away from the atmosphere; Carbon trading, carbon offsetting
the act or process of burning
conservation of matter
in any chemical reaction, matter changes form; it is neither created nor destroyed
a particle that is electrically charged (positive or negative)
substance that readily gives up hydrogen ions in water; cause environmental damage because H+ ions react readily with living tissues and nonliving substances
substance that readily bonds with H+ ions; also called alkaline substances; can be highly reactive and cause environmental damage
a value that indicated the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a scale of 0-14, based on the proportion of H+ ions.
relating or belonging to the class of chemical compounds having a carbon basis
relating or belonging to the class of compounds not having a carbon basis
first law of thermodynamics
states that energy is conserved. It is neither created nor destroyed underneath normal conditions.
second law of thermodynamics
States that with each successive energy transfer or transformation in a system, less energy is available to do work.
(thermodynamics) disorder
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
a single organism
group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring
a group of organisms of the same species populating a given area
(ecology) a group of interdependent organisms inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other
a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment
the regions of the surface and atmosphere of the Earth (or other planet) where living organisms exist
a major biotic community characterized by the dominant forms of plant life and the prevailing climate
autotroph; an organism that makes its own food
the total mass of living matter in a given unit area
the synthesis of new organic material. That done by green plants using solar energy is called primary productivity.
trophic level
step in the movement of energy through an ecosystem; step in a food chain or food web
heterotroph; an organism that obtains energy by feeding on other organisms
plant-eating animal
Meat eater
any animal that feeds on refuse and other decaying organic matter
Consumer organism that feeds on detritus, parts of dead organisms, and cast-off fragments and wastes of living organisms. The two principal types are detritus feeders and decomposers.
organism that breaks down and obtains energy from dead organic matter and returns chemicals to the earth
primary consumer
consumer that feeds directly on producers
secondary consumer
consumer that eats primary consumers
tertiary consumer
a member of the trophic level of an ecosystem consisting of carnivores that eat mainly other carnivores.
ecological pyramid
diagram that shows the relative amounts of energy or matter within each trophic level in a food chain or food web
positive feedback loop
Causes a system to change further in the same direction. Example: melting of Arctic sea ice
negative feedback loop
A feedback loop that causes a system to change in the opposite direction from which it is moving. Example: reproduction --> overgrazing --> less reproduction
independent variable
the experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied. Plotted on the x-axis
dependent variable
the outcome factor; the variable that may change in response to manipulations of the independent variable. Plotted on the y-axis
control group
provides a normal standard against which the biologist can compare results of the experimental group
the middle score in a distribution; half the scores are above it and half are below it
the most frequent value of a random variable
relating to the essential nature of something
pertaining to beauty; sensitive or responsive to beauty
plan of action designed to achieve a certain goal
regulatory agency
executive agency responsible for enforcing laws pertaining to a certain industry, the agency writes guidelines for the industry, such as safety codes, and enforces them through methods such as inspection
environmental impact statement
Statement required by Federal law from all agencies for any project using Federal funds to assess the potential affect of the new construction or development on the environment.
something that forces obedience with a law or rule
The trend toward increased cultural and economic connectedness between people, businesses, and organizations throughout the world.
a process in which each side is given the opportunity to explain its side of the dispute and must listen to the other side
the ability to recover
precautionary principle
When a threat is of serious environmental damage, we should not wait for scientific proof before taking action.
settlement of a dispute by a person or panel chosen to listen to both sides and come to a decision
encourages international peace and universal respect by promoting collaboration among nations.
any form of wealth available for use in the production of more wealth
natural capital
goods and services provided by nature
human capital
the skills and knowledge gained by a worker through education and experience
cultural capital
The knowledge, experience or connections one has had through the course of their life that enables them to succeed more so than someone with a less experience background; being able to play the violin, speak multiple languages or talk knowledgeably about art
anything with potential use in creating wealth or giving satisfaction
nonrenewable resource
resource that cannot be replenished by natural processes
renewable resource
any natural resource (as wood or solar energy) that can be replenished naturally with the passage of time
intangible resource
abstract resources, such as open space, beauty, serenity, wisdom, diversity, and satisfaction
the amount of a product or service that consumers are willing and able to buy at various possible prices
the amount of a product that would be offered for sale at all possible prices that could prevail in the market.
market equilibrium
condition of price stability where the quantity demanded equals the quantity supplied
price elasticity
The measure of how responsive both consumers and producers are to price changes
external costs
Cost of transaction that affect people other than the buyer or seller
internal costs
cost borne by the utlity itself (fuel, labor, capital)
ecological economics
account impacts on the environment and attempts to include natural services into the price of a resource
tragedy of the commons
Title of an Article written Garrett Harden, 1968, said there will always be a struggle because individuals will use up resources that are common even though that's not what they intend.
limited quantities of resources to meet unlimited wants
carrying capacity
largest number of individuals of a population that a environment can support
GNP (gross national product)
The total value of goods and services, including income received from abroad, produced by the residents of a country within a specific time period, usually one year.
GDP (gross domestic product)
the total value of goods and services produced within the borders of a country during a specific time period, usually one year.
GPI (genuine progress index)
A system that measures the sustainability, well-being and quality of life of a country and its people
EPI (environmental performance index)
evaluates national sustainability and progress in environmental health, air quality, water resources, productive natural resources, biodiversity and habitat, and sustainable energy
cost-benefit analysis
tries to find the maximum economic efficiency point at which the marginal cost of pollution control equals the marginal benefits
market forces
the interaction of supply and demand that shapes a market economy
emissions trading
market-based system that allows polluters to sell or trade emission credits iff they release below the level of pollution they are allowed to emit by law
cap and trade
The "cap" sets a nationwide limit on emissions, which is lowered over time to reduce the amount of pollutants released into the atmosphere. The "trade" creates a market for carbon allowances, helping companies innovate in order meet, or come in under, their allocated limit. The less they emit, the less they pay, so it is in their economic incentive to pollute less.
an accounting entry acknowledging income or capital items
services that compensate for emissions
no net carbon output
GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade)
one of the banking and trading systems that regulates credit, currency, exchange shipping rates, and commodity prices
WTO (World Trade Organization)
the only international body dealing with the rules of trade between nations
IMF (International Monetary Fund)
an organization of 186 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world
the ratio of the output to the input of any system
Excessive concern with buying material goods
relating to or concerned with a city or densely populated area
urban agglomeration
an urbanized core region that consists of several adjacent cities or megacities and their surrounding developed suburbs
a city with 10 million or more residents
relating to farm areas and life in the country
a small community or group of houses in a rural area, smaller than a town
core region
regions that dominate trade, control the most advanced technologies, and have high levels of productivity within diversified economics
push factor
factor, such as unemployment or the lack of freedom of speech, that makes people want to leave their country and move to another one
pull factor
opportunities for a better life that encourage people to move into an area
overcrowding; clogging
a district of a city marked by poverty and inferior living conditions
shanty town
a neighborhood in which people live in makeshift shacks
Unrestricted growth in many American urban areas of housing, commercial development, and roads over large expanses of land, with little concern for urban planning.
A subsidiary urban area surrounding and connected to the central city. Many are exclusively residential; others have their own commercial centers or shopping malls.
squatter town
area where people occupy land without the owner's permission
smart growth
environmentally friendly development practices particularly those that emphasize more efficient infrastructure and less dependence on automobiles
greenfield developments
projects built on previously undeveloped farmlands or forests on the outskirts of large cities
brownfield development
building on abandoned, reclaimed industrial sites
conservation development
aka "cluster housing", "open space zoning," preserves at least half of a subdivision as natural areas, farmland, or other forms of open space
permanent waste disposal facility
waste such as cell phones, computer monitors, etc. that contain heavy metals and other toxic materials. Problem with US exporting it to China.
sanitary landfill
A place to deposit solid waste, where a layer of earth is bulldozed over garbage each day to reduce emissions of gases and odors from the decaying trash, to minimize fires, and to discourage vermin.
energy recovery
heat derived from incinerators can be used to heat buildings and/or generate electricity
the act of processing used or abandoned materials for use in creating new products
A thermal device in which solid waste is burned for the purpose of volume reduction. An incinerator used to obtain energy is classified as an energy recovery facility.
refuse-derived fuel
fuel derived from trash
mass burn
incineration of unsorted solid waste
A mixture of decaying organic matter, as from leaves and manure, used to improve soil structure and provide nutrients.
disassembly of products so components can be reused or recycled
materials that can be broken down by UV radiation
capable of being readily decomposed into harmless substances by living microorganisms
biodegradable plastic
incorporate such materials as cornstarch that can be decomposed by microorganisms
hazardous waste
A solid that, because of its quantity or concentration or its physical, chemical or infectious characteristics, may cause or pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported or disposed of, or otherwise managed.
aka SUPERFUND. Addresses abandoned or historical waste sites and was enacted in 1980 to create a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries. Provided federal authority to respond to releases of hazardous waster.
Increase Superfund to $8.5 billion. Shares responsibility for cleanup among potentially responsible parties. Emphasizes remediation and public "right to know."
toxic release inventory
a program created by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1984 that requires manufacturing facilities and waste handling and disposal sites to report annually on releases of more than 300 toxic materials
a revolving pool of money designed to provide immediate response to emergency situations that pose imminent hazards, and to clean up or remediate abandoned or inactive sites
places that have been abandoned and contain dangerous chemicals
permanent retrievable storage
placing waste storage containers in a secure building, salt mine, or bedrock cavern where they can be inspected periodically and retrieved, if necessary
secure landfills
a solid waste disposal site lined and capped with an impermeable barrier to prevent leakage or leaching. drain tiles, sampling wells, and vent systems provide monitoring and pollution control
a liquid that has passed through compacted solid waste in a landfill
the idea that people do not want hazardous/toxic waste and/or industry in their neighborhood. Results in burden being placed on undereducated, poor minority groups.
LED (light-emitting diode)
consumes 90% less energy & lasts 100x's longer than ordinary lightbulbs
energy efficiency
The percentage of energy put into a system that does useful work
simultaneous production of electricity and steam in the same facility
hybrid gasoline-electric engine
battery-powered electric motor with a small gasoline engine to help accelerate and/or recharge battery
plug-in hybrid
electric motor that can be recharged, can travel up to 40 miles on 1 overnight charge
passive collection
The use of building materials by design to keep a building warm or cool
active collection
the use of devices, such as solar panels, to collect, focus, transport, or store solar energy.
photovoltaic cells
Cells, usually made of specially-treated silicon, that transfer solar energy from the sun to electrical energy
solar cooker
insulated box that can be used for heating and cooking in developing countries, costs a few dollars
green pricing
Allowing customers of utilities to voluntarily pay more for electricity that comes from renewable sources
amorphous silicon collectors
noncrytalline silicon semiconductors that can be made into lightweight, paper-think sheets that require much less material than conventional photovoltaic cells
fuel cell
produces electricity chemically by combining hydrogen fuel with oxygen from air
an apparatus that reforms the molecular structure of hydrocarbons to produce richer fuel
total amount of living tissue within a given trophic level
fecal matter of animals
A diesel-equivalent, processed fuel derived from biological sources (such as vegetable oils), that can be used in unmodified diesel-engine vehicles.
a plastic made from cellulose (or a derivative of cellulose)
flex-fuel vehicle
can burn variable mixtures of ethanol and gasoline
energy crop
can be grown specifically as an energy source of marginal land, such as switch grass, cattails, and hybrid poplar
low-input high-diversity biofuels
mixed polycultures of perennial native species with a lot of biomass
low-head hydro power
small-scale headwater dam that causes less damage than larger projects
micro-hydro generators
small generator to provide economical power for a single home that is near a perennial stream or river
geothermal energy
energy derived from the heat in the interior of the earth
ocean thermal electric conversion
heat from sun-warmed upper ocean layers is used to evaporate a working fluid (ammonia or Freon, low boiling points), use the gas to spin turbines
rotary engine in which the kinetic energy of a moving fluid is converted into mechanical energy by causing a bladed rotor to rotate
wind farm
Cluster of wind turbines grouped together to produce a large amount of electricity
force x distance
rate at which work is done
the capacity to do work
the SI unit of energy
fossil fuel
fuel consisting of the remains of organisms preserved in rocks in the earth's crust with high carbon and hydrogen content
proven reserves
An accurate estimate of how much of the resource can be extracted on an economic basis
black lung disease
a disease that is caused from years of inhaling coal dust
carbon sequestration
storing carbon in a natural sink or a geologic reservoir underground
a technology that converts dry coal into a liquid fuel to replace diesel and jet fuels. There are multiple methods, but the process proposed for use in the US would first use heat and pressure to gasify the coal, then cool the gas to form a liquid—an energy-intensive process.
controversial drilling grounds housing 3-8 billion oil barrels. 6-11 months supply for U.S. only; home to sensitive caribou calving grounds
a stratum of ore or coal thick enough to be mined with profit
tar sands
Canada & Venezuela have the largest deposits; an underground sand deposit permeated with a thick, asphalt-like oil known as bitumen. The bitumen can be separated from the sand by heating.
oil shale
a soft, fine-grained sedimentary rock from which oil and natural gas are obtained by heating; found in CO, UT, WY, and eastern US
an oily, dark-colored, flammable liquid found in the earth, consisting mainly of a mixture of various hydrocarbons. Gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, paraffin, and lubricants are made from petroleum
crude oil
Unrefined Petroleum
natural gas
A mixture of hydrocarbon gases that occur with petroleum deposits
time it takes for half the sample to decay
methane hydrate
This solid consisting of molecules of methane within a crystal lattice of water ice molecules occurs underground in some Artic locations and more widely under the seafloor on the contenental shelves.
coal-bed methane
methane held in place by pressure from overlying aquifers; pumping water out of the aquifers releases the gas, but creates huge amounts of contaminated effluent
nuclear power
Energy that is harnessed from reactions among radioactive isotopes, most commonly used is uranium 235
nuclear fusion
a nuclear reaction in which nuclei combine to form more massive nuclei with the simultaneous release of energy
nuclear fission
a nuclear reaction in which a massive nucleus splits into smaller nuclei with the simultaneous release of energy
fuel assembly
a bundle of hollow metal rods containing uranium oxide pellets; used to fuel nuclear reactor.
critical mass
the minimum mass of a fissionable isotope that provides the number of neutrons needed to sustain a chain reaction
chain reaction
a reaction in which the material that starts the reaction is also one of the products and can start another reaction
breeder reactor
a fission reactor that is designed to breed more fissionable fuel then is put into it by converting nosfissionable isotopes to fissionable isotops
high-level waste repository
an area to store intensely radioactive wastes buried deep in the ground, hopefully unexposed to groundwater and earthquakes for the thousands of years required for radioactive materials to decay to a safe level
monitored, retrievable storage
holding nuclear wastes in underground mines or secure surface facilities where they can be watched, and removed for repacking if canisters leak
dismantling and disposal of old nuclear reactors
Not in my backyard!!!
Solid, waxy mixture of hydrocarbons found in oil shale rock. Heating the rock to high temperatures causes the kerogen to vaporize. The vapor is condensed, purified, and then sent to a refinery to produce gasoline, heating oil, and other products. See also oil shale, shale oil.
Light water reactor
A common type of commercial nuclear reactor that uses ordinary (light) water as the moderator; Cold water from a local source is used to condense the steam, and that warm water is returned to the environment (thermal pollution)
low-level wastes
Wastes that give off small amounts of radiation; Must be stored safely for 100-500 yrs; Most in the U.S. are put in steel drums and dumped into the ocean, others are put in landfills
high-level wastes
Waste that gives off high amounts of radiation for a short time, or low amounts for a long time; Spent fuel rods and wastes from making bombs
point source
A specific source of pollution that can be identified, such as a pipe.
nonpoint source
Large or dispersed land areas such as crop fields, streets, and lawns that discharge pollutants into the environment over a large area.
atmospheric deposition
contaminants carried by air currents and precipitated into watersheds or directly onto surface waters
coliform bacteria
used as a common measure of biological pollution and as a standard measure of microbial pollution. It is usually harmless, part of the normal constituents of human intestines and found in all human waste.
BOD (biochemical oxygen demand)
amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic decomposers to break down organic materials
measure of dissolved oxygen in the water
oxygen sag
oxygen levels decline downstream from a pollution source as decomposers metabolize waste materials
Describes the water which is nutrient poor, deep & cold, little organic matter (little phytoplanktin)
lakes that are rich with organic matter and vegetation that are typically murky
red tide
a population explosion of certain marine dinoflagellates that causes the water to turn a red or red-brown color and to contain poisonous alkaloids produced by the dinoflagellates
cultural eutrophication
Overnourishment of aquatic ecosystems with plant nutrients (mostly nitrates and phosphates) because of human activities such as agriculture, urbanization, and discharges from industrial plants and sewage treatment plants.
thermal pollution
harm to lakes and rivers resulting from the release of excessive waste heat into them
total maximum daily load (TMDL)
EPA administered program to address non-point-source water pollution that sets pollution limits according to the abilityof a body of water to assimilate different pollutants.
groundwater contaminant, mainly from leaking underground storage tanks at gas stations
primary treatment
After passing through grates and screens, the water is allowed to settle in clarifiers (tanks), which separates the solids from the liquids. Still has a substantial BOD.
secondary treatment
Treating wastewater biologically, by using microorganisms to decompose the suspended organic material; occurs after primary treatment
tertiary treatment
Highest form of wastewater treatment that includes removal of nutrients, organic and solid material, along with biological & chemical polishing.
effluent sewerage
a low-cost alternative sewage treatment for cities in poor countries that combines some features of septic systems and centralized municipal teatment systems
the emission of water vapor from the leaves of plants
the process by which water changes from liquid form to an atmospheric gas
a change directly from the solid to the gaseous state without becoming liquid
saturation point
when a volume of air contains as much water vapor as it can hold at a given temperature
relative humidity
the ratio of the amount of water in the air at a give temperature to the maximum amount it could hold at that temperature
the process by which molecules of water vapor in the air become liquid water
dew point
the temperature at which the water vapor in the air becomes saturated and condensation begins
condensation nuclei
solid particles in the atmosphere, such as ice and dust, that provide the surfaces on which water vapor condenses
rain shadow
dry area found on the leeward side of a mountain range
residence time
The average time a given molecule of water or other substance will stay in a given water source
water that fills the cracks and spaces in underground soil and rock layers
This step of the water cycle occurs when the water is pulled into the ground due to the pull of gravity.
zone of aeration
Area above the water table where openings in soil, sediment, and rock are not saturated but are filled mainly with air. Above water table
zone of saturation
lower region of groundwater where all the pore spaces in a rock or sediment are filled with water
water table
the upper surface of underground water; the upper boundary of the zone of saturation
a body of rock or sediment that stores groundwater and allows the flow of groundwater
artesian well
a well in which water rises because of pressure within the aquifer
recharge zone
Area of the Earth's surface where water percolates down into the aquifer
The volume of water that flows within a given time
renewable water supplies
annual freshwater surface runoff plus annual infiltration into underground freshwater aquifers that are accessible for human use
the total amount of water taken from a lake, river, or aquifer for any purpose; much is returned to circulation in a form that can be used again
the fraction of withdrawn water that is lost in transmission, evaporation, absorption, chemical transformation, or otherwise made unavailable for other purposes as a result of human use
deteriorated in water quality due to contamination or pollution; makes water unsuitable for other desirable purposes
a structure built across a river or stream that restricts the flow of water traveling downstream
the addition of soils to water bodies by natural and human related activities. It decreases water quality and accelerates the aging process of lakes, rivers, and streams.
an artificial lake where the water that is prevented from gong downstream (by a dam) collects
collapse of ground due to groundwater removal
when the roof of an underground channel or cavern collapses, creating a large surface crater
saltwater intrusion
Movement of salt water into freshwater aquifers in coastal and inland areas as groundwater is withdrawn faster than it is recharged by precipitation.
the removal of salt from seawater to make it usable for drinking and farming, very expensive on a large scale
primary pollutant
a pollutant that is put directly into the air by human activity
secondary pollutant
pollutant formed by the chemical reactions of other primary or secondary pollutants
fugitive emissions
Substances that enter the air without going through a smokestack, such as dust from soil erosion, strip mining, rock crushing, construction or building demolition
ambient air
the air immediately around us
conventional pollutants
aka "criteria pollutants"; sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulates, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, photochemical oxidants, lead, carbon dioxide
sulfur dioxide
produced by chemical interacting between sulfur and oxygen. Contributes to acid rain. Harms plant life, irritates respiratory system when it's a secondary pollutant
nitrogen oxides
(source: auto exhaust) (effects: acidification of lakes, respiratory irritation, leads to smog & ozone) (Equation for acid formation: NO + O2 = NO2 + H2O = HNO3) (Reduction: catalytic converter)
carbon monoxide
Colorless, odorless poisonous gas produced as a by-product of incomplete combustion; can be dangerous if not properly ventilated
VOC's (volatile organic compounds)
carbon-containing chemicals used in and emitted by vehicle engines and a wide variety of solvents and industrial processes; creates smog, carcinogen
a suspension in the atmosphere of a solid such as dust, salt, and pollen. and liquid droplets such as acids
bits of dust, dirt and small matter in the air
(fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine); combine with most metals to form salts.
photochemical oxidants
Products of secondary atmospheric reactions driven by solar energy; causes smog.
hazardous air pollutants
special category of pollutants monitored by the EPA such as carcinogens, neurotoxins, mutagens, teratogens, endocrine disrupters; aka HAP's
TRI (Toxic Release Inventory)
community right-to-know toxin release reports from factories, refineries, hard rock mines, power plants, and chemical manufacturers
aesthetic degradation
undesirable changes in the physical characteristics or chemistry of the atmosphere; ex: noise, odors, light pollution
the average weather conditions in an area over a long period of time
temperature inversion
the atmospheric condition that causes pollution to be trapped at ground level by a layer of warm air above it
dust dome
Dome of heated air that surrounds an urban area and contains a lot of air pollution (particulate matter) in high winds pollution plumes downwind in rural areas
heat island
Phenomenon describing urban and suburban tempuratures that are 2 to 10 degrees F(1 to 6 degrees C)hotter than nearby rural areas.
stratospheric ozone
good ozone that keeps out ultraviolet radiation
CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons)
from air conditioners and refrigerators that destroy the ozone layer
Montreal Protocol
meeting in 1987 where a group of nations met in Canada and agreed to take steps to fight against Ozone Depletion-CFC's banned
inflammation of the mucus membrane of the bronchial tubes
chronic obstructive lung disease
Irreversible damage to the lining of the lungs caused by irritants
synergistic effects
combined effects of two pollutants are greater than the sum of their seperate effects
acid rain
rain containing acids that form in the atmosphere when industrial gas emissions (especially sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) combine with water
to return a biological community to its pre-disturbance structure and function
to rebuild a community to a useful, functioning state but not necessarily its original condition
to apply techniques to discourage or reduce undesired organisms and favor or promote desired species
to use a site (and its resources) to create a new and different kind of biological community rather than the existing one
to clean chemical contaminants from a polluted area using relatively mild or nondestructive methods
to use powerful chemical or physical methods to clean and repair severely degraded or even barren sites
The policy of constructing or creating man-made habitats, such as wetlands, to replace those lost to development
able to recover quickly
The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
helps to protect Earth's most important natural places — for you and future generations
ecosystems of several types in which rooted vegetation is surrounded by standing water during part of the year
a large subtropical swamp in southern Florida that supports myriad fish, invertebrates, birds, alligators, and the rare Florida panther
Chesapeake Bay
the largest estuary in the United States.
deteriorated in quality due to contamination or pollution; Ex: makes water unsuitable for other desirable purposes
buffalo commons
suggestion for the use of much of the empty Great Plains - an area where bison and other native wildlife could roam freely
a low triangular area where a river divides before entering a larger body of water
the area where a freshwater stream or river merges with the ocean
An ecosystem where all water runoff drains into a single body of water
of or relating to or located on the banks of a river or stream
closed-canopy forests
area in which tree crowns cover most of the ground
old-growth forest
primeval forests home to much of the world's biodiversity, endangered species, and indigenous human cultures; forests that cover a large enough area and have been undisturbed by human activities long enough that tress can live out a natural cycle and ecological processes can occur in relatively normal fashion
monoculture forestry
Intensive planting of a single species; an efficient wood production approach, but one that encourages pests and disease infestations and conflicts with wildlife habitat or recreation uses
destruction of forests; topical forests are being cleared rapidly
debt-for-nature swaps
financial transactions in which a portion of a developing nation's foreign debt is forgiven in exchange for local investments in conservation measures.
every tree in a given area is cut, regardless of size
shelter-wood harvesting
partial harvesting that allows new stems to grow up under an overstory of maturing trees; the shelterwood may be removed at a later date (5 to 10 years)
harvesting of all the trees in a narrow corridor
selective cutting
Harvesting only mature trees of certain species and size (10-20 yr rotation); usually more expensive than clear cutting, but it is less disruptive for wildlife and often better for forest regeneration.
ecosystem management
an integration of ecological, economic, and social goals in a unified systems approach to resource management.
Destruction of vegetation caused by too many grazing animals consuming the plants in a particular area so they cannot recover
rotational grazing
Confining animals to a small area for a short time (often only a day or two) before shifting them to a new location
International Union for the Conservation of Nature; a coalition of the world's leading conservation groups
world conservation strategy
IUCN developed plan that includes the 3 objectives: to maintain essential ecological processes and life-support systems, to preserve genetic diversity essential for breeding programs to improve cultivated plants and domesticated animals, and to ensure that any utilization of wild species and ecosystems is sustainable
a form of tourism that supports the conservation and sustainable development of ecologically unique areas
United Nations agency that promotes international collaboration on culture, education, and science
A strip of natural habitat that connects two adjacent nature preserves to allow migration of organisms from one place to another
core habitat
Areas deep in the interior of a habitat area and that core habitat has better conditions for specialized species than do edges
edge effect
different environmental conditions that occur along the boundaries of an ecosystem
landscape ecology
The study of past, present, and future patterns of landscape use, as well as ecosystem management and the biodiversity of interacting ecosystems
crown fire
Extremely hot fire that leaps from treetop to treetop - occurs in forests with no surface fires for several decades (an excessive amount of deadwood has built up) - this kills most vegetation, wildlife, buildings and creates soil erosion
surface fire
Forest fire that burns only undergrowth and leaf litter on the forest floor.
ground fire
Fire that burns decayed leaves or peat deep below the ground surface, may smolder for days or weeks, difficult to detect and extinguish (peat bogs)
areas (freshwater or saltwater) in which fish or sea animals are caught commercially
nets that are dragged through the water and indiscriminately catch everything in their path.
unwanted marine creatures that are caught in the nets while fishing for another species
long lining
a long line with baited hooks. it targets a variety of pelagic species , best known for tuna swordfish and marlins. disadvantages: by-catch, catches endangered species
bottom trawling
a fishing technique in which the ocean floor is literally scraped by heavy nets that smash everything in their path. This is very detremental to the ecosystem.
wilderness area
federal land that is designated off-limits to development of any kind but is open to public recreation, such as hiking, nature study, and other activities that have minimal impact on the land
national parks
One form of reserve that is intended to protect natural and scenic areas of national or international significance for scientific, educational and recreational use
a seine (drawstring net) designed to be set by two boats around a school of fish and then closed at the bottom by means of a line
International whaling commission
1946 - regulates the proper areas, techniques, and limits on the hunting of techniques; banned all whaling in 1986; no enforcement
wilderness act
1964; established 9.1 million aces of federally-protected wilderness in national forests for use of American people; made minimum size of each space 5,000 acres; no vehicles, permanent camps or structures allowed; aim is to keep wildlife and habitat as primitive as possible
wild and scenic rivers act
Selected rivers in the United States are preserved for possessing outstandingly, remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural, or other similar values
Magnuson Act
(1976) Management of marine fisheries
the variety of species living within an ecosystem
genetic diversity
the amount of variation in the genetic material within all members of a popualtion
species diversity
the number and relative abundance of species in a biological community
ecological diversity
the richness and complexity of of a biological community, including the number of niches, trophic levels, and ecological processes that capture energy, sustain food webs, and recycle materials within this system
species richness
the number of different species in a community
species evenness
the relative abundance of a species
evolutionary species concept
Defines species according to evolutionary history and common ancestors
biodiversity hot spot
areas with 1500 or more endemics, and 70% habitat loss; a relatively small area with an exceptional concentration of endemic species and a large number of endangered and threatened species
no longer in existence
Habitat destruction, Invasive species, Pollution, Population (human), and Overharvesting, the leading causes of extinction
habitat destruction
Damage done to a habitat that results in the loss of resources that organisms need to survive, like food, water, and shelter
invasive species
exotic (non-native) species that enter a new ecosystem and multiply harming native speeicies and their habitat
catching or removing from a population more organisms than the population can replace
island ecosystem
areas particularly susceptible to damage by invasive species
Endangered Species Act
endangered species
a species whose numbers are so small that the species is at risk of extinction
threatened species
A species that is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range
vulnerable species
naturally rare organisms or species whose numbers have been so reduced by human activities that they are susceptible to actions that could push them into threatened or endangered status
recovery plans
once species is listed, USFWS is required to propose a recovery plan detailing the rebuilding of the species to sustainable levels,total cost of all current plans is $5 billion
habitat conservation plans
(HCP), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) negotiates agreements with private landowners where landowners are allowed to harvest resources or build on part of their land as long as the species benefits overall
gap analysis
a biogeographical technique of mapping biological diversity and endemic species to find gaps between protected areas that leave endangered habitats vulnerable to disruption
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of 1975 it is a step toward worldwide protection of endangered flora and fauna.
captive breeding
the mating of animals in zoos or wildlife preserves
keystone species
a species that is critical to the functioning of the ecosystem in which it lives because it affects the survival and abundance of many other species in its community. EX: prairie dogs, bison
indicator species
Species that serve as early warnings that a community or ecosystem is being degraded. EX: brook trout
umbrella species
require large areas of undisturbed habitat to maintain viable populations. Saving this habitat also benefits other species. EX: northern spotted owl, elephant
flagship species
Especially interesting or attractive organisms that people respond to emotionally. Motivate public to preserve biodiversity and contribute to conservation. EX: giant panda ( panda sneezing)
biological pests
organisms that reduce the availability, quality, or value of resources useful to humans
a chemical used to kill pests (as rodents or insects)
a broad-spectrum poison that kills a wide range of organisms.
a chemical agent that destroys plants or inhibits their growth
a chemical used to kill insects
any agent that destroys or prevents the growth of fungi
one of the first widely used pesticides, good example of biological magnification
inorganic pesticide
include compounds of arsenic, sulfur, copper, lead and mercury. Broad-spectrum poisons that are generally highly toxic and essentially indestructible.
natural organic pesticide
botanicals, generally extracted from plants. Ex: nicotine, turpentine
Pesticide in the form of either a poisonous gas or a liquid which becomes a gas when applied
chlorinated hydrocarbon
Organic compound made up of atoms of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine. Examples include DDT and PCBs.
modern synthetic pesticides that break down faster than chlorinated hydrocarbons but are far more toxic for short-term contact such as Malathion, parathion; Most commonly used insecticide in U.S., WWI chemical warfare
toxic to bees, may be the new DDT
microbial agents
beneficial microbes (bacteria, fungi) that can be used to suppress or control pests
biological agents
any living organism that can be used to suppress or control pests
pest resurgence
rebound of pest populations due to acquired resistance to chemicals and nonspecific destruction of natural predators and competitors by broadscale pesticides
A group of persistent, toxic chemicals that bioaccumulation in organisms and can travel thousands of kilometers through air and water to contaminate sites far removed from their source
a United Nations agency to coordinate international health activities and to help governments improve health services
Increasing concentrations of potentially toxic substances in living organisms; easily ingested, but not biodegradable
Increase in concentration of certain stable chemicals (for example, heavy metals or fat-soluble pesticides) in successively higher trophic levels of a food chain or web
an ecologically based pest-control strategy that relies on natural mortality factos,sucha s natural enemies, weather, cultural control methods, and carefully applied doses of pesticides as a last resort.
an independent federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment
FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
The agency that is responsible for determining if a food or drug is safe and effective enough to be sold to the public.
USDA (US Dept of Ag)
The federal department that administers programs that provide services to farmers (including research and soil conservation and efforts to stabilize the farming economy)
FDCA (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic act)
drugs must comply with standards of safety and efficacy
concentrated animal feeding operation
the raising of aquatic organisms for human consumption
material formed from decaying leaves and other organic matter
micorrhizal symbiosis
an association betwen the roots of most plant species and certain fungi. the plant provides organic compounds to the fungus, while the fungus provides water and nutrients to the plant
Mixture of humus, clay, and other minerals that forms the crumbly, topmost layer of soil.
soil horizons
distinctive horizontal layers that differ in physical composition, chemical composition or organic content or structure
soil profile
a cross-section in which layers of the soil and bedrock can be seen
a layer of soil beneath the topsoil that has lower organic content and higher concentrations of fine mineral particles; often contains soluble compounds and clay particles carried down by percolating water
land degradation
reduction in the productive potential of the land
soil erosion
the wearing away of surface soil by water and wind
sheet erosion
peeling off thin layers of soil from the land surface; accomplished primarily by wind and water
rill erosion
the removing of thin layers of soil as little rivulets of running water gather and cut small channels in the soil
gully erosion
removal of layers of soil, creating channels or ravines too large to be removed by normal tillage operations
the gradual transformation of habitable land into desert
water saturation of sol that fills all air spaces and causes plant roots to die from lack of oxygen; a result of overirrigation
A process in which mineral salts accumulate in the soil, killing plants; occurs when soils in dry climates are irrigated profusely
any substance such as manure or a mixture of nitrates used to make soil more fertile
green revolution
the introduction of pesticides and high-yield grains and better management during the 1960s and 1970s which greatly increased agricultural productivity
Norman Borlaug
Founder of Green Revolution
selected for things such as salt tolerance in tomato plants,synthesis of beta-carotene in rice,herbicide resistance in crop plants ,factor IX (human blood clotting) in sheep,
genetic engineering
the technology of preparing recombinant DNA in vitro by cutting up DNA molecules and splicing together fragments from more than one organism
sustainable agriculture
Long-term productive farming methods that are environmentally safe.
the surface features of a place or region. Includes hills, valleys, streams, lakes, bridges, tunnels, and roads.
contour plowing
plowing fields along the curves of a slope to prevent soil loss
strip farming
Planting different kinds of crops in alternating strips along land contours; when one crop is harvested, the other crop remains to protect the soil and prevent water from running straight down a hill
shaping the land to create level shelves of earth to hold water and soil; requires extensive hand labor or expensive machinery, but it enables farmers to farm very steep hillsides
Plants that grow for more than two years
cover crops
plants, such as rye, alfalfa, or clover, that can be planted immediately after harvest to hold and protect the soil
reduced tillage systems
systems, such as minimum till, conserve-till, and no-till, that preserve soil, save energy and water, and increase crop yields
a person who consumes locally produced food
the study of the role of agriculture in the world in terms of sustainability
chronically undernourished
those people whose diet doesn't provide the 2,200 kcal per day, on average, considered necessary for a healthy productive life
food security
The ability of individuals to obtain sufficient food on a day-to-day basis
a severe shortage of food (as through crop failure) resulting in violent hunger and starvation and death
the long-term absence from the diet of one or more essential nutrients
a deficiency of red blood cells
severe malnutrition in children resulting from a diet excessively high in carbohydrates and low in protein; reddish orange hair, puffy, bloated belly
extreme malnutrition and emaciation (especially in children)
substance that activates the immune system
any substance (as a toxin or enzyme) that stimulates the production of antibodies
sick building syndrome
headaches, allergies, chronic fatigue and other symptoms caused by poorly vented indoor air contaminated by mold spores, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, and other toxins released from carpets, insulation, plastics, building materials, and other sources
endocrine disruptor
disrupt normal hormone functions. Ex: bisphenol A, dioxins, PCBs
attack nerve cells. Ex: lead, mercury, ether, chloroform, DDT, organophosphates
agents, such as chemicals and radiation, that damage or alter DNA
any agent that interferes with normal embryonic development: alcohol or thalidomide or X-rays or rubella are examples
an agent that causes cancer
the selective absorption and concentration of molecules by cells
Increase in concentration of certain stable chemicals (for example, heavy metals or fat-soluble pesticides) in successively higher trophic levels of a food chain or web
POP (persistent organic pollutants)
chemical compounds that persist in the environment and retain biological activity for long times.
PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers)
polybrominated diphenyl ethers; flame retardant chemicals used in textiles, foam in upholstery, and plastic in appliances and computers. Low exposures in the womb/shortly after birth can harm children's reproductive & nervous systems.
PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate)
chemicals used to make nonstick, waterproof, and stain-resistant products such as Teflon, Gortex, Scotchguard, and Stainmaster. Cause liver damage, cancer, and reproductive and developmental problems in rats. Especially dangerous to women and girls.
found in cosmetics, deodorants, and many plastics used for food packaging, children's toys, and medical devices. Cause kidney & liver damage, cancer, and low sperm counts.
waterborne contaminant left over from propellants & rocket fuels. Found in nearly every sample in the human food chain in the U.S. Interferes with iodine uptake, disrupting adult metabolism & childhood development.
bisphenol A (BPA)
water bottles are made of this; causes aneuploidy (abnormal chromosome numbers, which is the leading cause of miscarriages and several forms of mental retardation). It's also an environmental estrogen & may alter sexual development in both males & females
most widely used herbicide in US on corn and cereal grains, as well as golf courses, sugar cane, and Christmas trees. Endocrine disruptor. Found in rain and surface waters nearly everywhere in the US at levels that could cause abnormal development in frogs.
body burden
the accumulation of hundreds of persistent toxins in our bodies
when toxins work together to intensify the effect
A chemical dose lethal to 50 percent of a test population
having or experiencing a rapid onset and short but severe course
being long-lasting and recurrent or characterized by long suffering
World Heath Organization (WHO)
a United Nations agency to coordinate international health activities and to help governments improve health services
a healthy state of wellbeing free from disease
abnormal change in the body's condition that impairs physical or psychological functions
disease-causing organism
disability adjusted life years (DALYs)
measuring of disease burden/ combines premature deaths and loss of a healthy life resulting from illness or disability
infectious disease
A disease that is caused by a pathogen and that can be spread from one individual to another.
emergent disease
disease not known or absent for 20 years. Ex. HIV/AIDS, Ebola, West Nile
any agent (person or animal or microorganism) that carries and transmits a disease
ecological disease
affects domestic animals and wildlife. Ex. Chronic Wasting disease in deer, behavior changes, weight loss
extremely poisonous or injurious
pertaining to bursting forth of blood, Ebola
exponential population growth results in disease and famine, causes resource depletion, pollution, and poverty. People must have "moral restraint", late marriage, and insufficient resources to slow growth.
population growth results from poverty, resource depletion, pollution, etc. People must be treated justly to slow population growth.
scientific study of human populations
crude birth rate
the number of live births yearly per thousand people in a population
total fertility rate
Avergae number of children born to women of a population during their reproductive years.
zero population growth
when the birth rate equals the death rate
crude death rate
The number of deaths per year per 1,000 people.
natural population increase
the extent to which live births exceed deaths
total growth rate
The net rate of population growth resulting from births, deaths, immigration, and emigration
dependency ratio
The number of nonworking members compared to working members for a given population
pronatalist pressures
Influences that encourage people to have children
demographic transition
the process by which a country moves from relatively high birth and death rates to relatively low birth and death rates
birth dearth
fertility rates fall below the replacement level of 2.1 children per couple
social justice
all people are entitled to basic necessities such as adequate income and health protection and accepts collective burdens to make such possible
Rule of 70
Divide 70 by the annual percentage growth to find approximate doubling time of a population
the living organisms in an ecosystem
nonliving, physical features of the environment, including air, water, sunlight, soil, temperature, and climate
biotic potential
the maximum reproductive rate of an organism, given unlimited resources and ideal environmental conditions
graph that represents exponential growth
graph that represents logistic growth
carrying capacity
largest number of individuals of a population that a given environment can support
The extent to which a population exceeds the carrying capacity of its environment
population crash
a sudden population decline caused by predation, waste accumulation, or resource depletion.
r-selected species
reproduce early in life and often, high capacity for reproductive growth
k-selected species
reproduce later in life, produce fewer offspring, devote significant time and energy to nurturing their offspring
measurement of actual number of offspring produced
the percentage of a population reaching a given age or the proportion of the maximum life span of the species reached by an individual
life expectancy
The average number of years an individual can be expected to live, given current social, economic, and medical conditions. Life expectancy at birth is the average number of years a newborn infant can expect to live.
life span
the longest period of life reached by a given type of organism
boom-and-bust cycle
common among r-strategists; rapid change in population increase leads to an equally rapid drop-off
predator-prey cycle
rabbit population increases, coyote population increases, coyotes eat rabbits, rabbit population decreases, less food for coyotes, coyote population decreases. Rabbit population increases...
density-dependent factor
interactions between populations of a community which decrease natality or increase mortality
density-independent factor
abiotic components of the ecosystem, such as weather and climate, which can have devastating impacts on particular populations
the movement of individuals into a population
movement of individuals out of a population
genetic drift
changes in the gene pool of a small population due to chance. Tends to reduce genetic variation.
demographic bottleneck
(or founder effect) A population founded when just a few members of a species survive a catastrophic even or colonize new habitat geographically isolated from other members of the same species
minimum viable population size
number of individuals needed for long-term survival of rare and endangered species
Microscopic, free-floating, autotrophic organisms that function as producers in aquatic ecosystems
The bottom surfaces of aquatic environments
Of the open ocean; refers to the water above the deep ocean basins, sediments of oceanic origin, or organisms of the open ocean.
coral reefs
Warm water, tropical, ecosystems dominated by the hard skeletal structures secreted primarily by the resident cnidarians.
coral bleaching
when corals eject the zooxanthellae which causes loss of color; this happens because corals are stressed by temperature changes (warmer), diseases, chemiclas, etc.
tropical trees that grow with their roots in salt water and are important because marine life lives among their roots.
area where a freshwater stream or river merges with the ocean, salinity varies greatly
salt marshes
temperate zones estuaries that are dominated by salt tolerant grasses
barrier islands
low, narrow, sandy islands that form offshore from a coastline.
In water, a distinctive temperature transition zone that separates an upper layer that is mixed by wind (the epilimnion) and a colder, deep layer that is not mixed (the hypolimnion)
Lands where water saturation is the dominant factor determining the nature of the soil development and the plant and animal communities (e.g., sloughs, estuaries, marshes).
littoral zone
a shallow region of the shore in a lake or ocean where light reaches the bottom and nurtures plants
epipelagic zone
Ocean: The pelagic environment from the surface to 200 m. Plenty of sunlight to promote photosynthesis.
mesopelagic zone
Ocean: the pelagic environment between 200 and 1000 m; light intensity too low for photosynthesis, many organisms have eyes adapted to low light levels
bathypelagic zone
Ocean: The pelagic environment from a depth of 1000 m to 4000 m. No sunlight at all.
abyssal zone
Ocean: The portion of the ocean floor where light does not penetrate and where temperatures are cold and pressures intense.
hadal zone
Ocean: deepest zone, consists of the floor and the ocean trenches. Animals consist of: sponges, worms, clams
Freshwater: An upper layer of warm water with high levels of dissolved oxygen
Freshwater: deeper water; cold, dense; decomposition dominates; low dissolved oxygen
the communities of organisms living in the bottom zone of an aquatic biome (such as snails, burrowing worms, and fish). Low oxygen levels (little mixing of water)
a nutrient poor, oxygen rich, clear, deep lake with few phytoplankton
primary productivity
rate at which organic matter is created by producers in an ecosystem
The number of individuals of a species that occur in a particular area
the number of species present in a community as well as the relative abundance of each species
the number of species at each trophic level and the number of trophic levels in a community.
edge effects
a change in species composition, physical conditions, or other ecological factors at the boundary between two ecosystems
a boundary between two types of ecological communities.
climax community
a stable, mature community that undergoes little or no change in species over time
primary succession
colonization 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
A force that changes a biological community and usually removes organisms from it. Fires & storms play pivotal roles in structuring many biological communities
vertical zonation
A term applied to vegetation zones defined by altitude
cloud forests
High-elevation, very wet tropical forests that contain a wide variety of plants and animals
tropical rainforest
Forests in which rainfall is abundant - more that 200 cm (80 in) per year - and temperatures are warm or hot year-round
A biome dominated by grasses and associated herbaceous plants
tropical savannas
characterized by a codominance of grasses and woody plants; characteristic vegetation of regions with alternating wet and dry seasons; productivity and decomposition in savanna ecosystems are closely tied to the seasonality of precipitation; support a large and varied assemblage of both invertebrate and vertebrate herbivores
a barren region with little or no rainfall, usually sandy and without trees
temperate grasslands
plains and prairies
Thick, dense, thorny evergreen shrub found in Mediterranean climates
temperate forests
biome composed of forest of broad-leaved hardwood trees that lose their foliage annually
a plant having foliage that persists and remains green throughout the year
Trees and shrubs that shed their leaves at the end of the growing season
term used to refer to trees that produce seed-bearing cones and have thin leaves shaped like needles
temperate rainforest
The cool, dense, rainy forests of the northern Pacific coast; enshrouded in fog much of the time; dominated by large conifers
boreal forest
A broad band of mixed coniferous and deciduous trees that stretches across northern North America (and also Europe and Asia); its northernmost edge, the taiga, intergrades with the artic tundra
The northernmost edge of the boreal forest, including species-poor woodland and peat deposits; intergrading with the arctic tundra
Treeless arctic or alpine biome characterized by cold, harsh winters, a short growing season, and permafrost; vegetation includes low-growing perennial plants, mosses and lichens
inherited characteristic that increases an organism's chance of survival
natural selection
process by which individuals that are better suited to their environment survive and reproduce most successfully; also called survival of the fittest
tolerance limits
chemical or physical factors that limit the existence, growth, abundance, or distribution of an organism.
species that have very specific environmental requirements and tolerance levels that make them good indicators of pollution or other environmental conditions
the area where an organism lives, grows, and develops
ecological niche
A specific role of a species within an ecosystem, including its use of resources, and relationships with other species.
native to or confined to a certain region
resource partitioning
in a biological community various populations sharing environmental resources through specialization thereby reducing direct competition
the formation of new species as a result of evolution
intraspecific competition
in a community, competition for resources among members of the same species.
interspecific competition
in a community, competition for resources between members of different species.
the process in which species exert selective pressure on each other and gradually evolve new features or behaviors as a result of those pressures
Batesian mimicry
A type of mimicry in which a harmless species looks like a species that is poisonous or otherwise harmful to predators.
Mullerian mimicry
when two or more poisonous species resemble each other and gain an advantage from their combined numbers
relationship in which two species live closely together
symbiotic relationship in which both species benefit from the relationship
symbiotic relationship in which one member of the association benefits and the other is neither helped nor harmed
a symbiotic relationship whereby one organism/species benefits from the relationship and the other organism is harmed
keystone species
a species that is critical to the functioning of the ecosystem in which it lives because it affects the survival and abundance of many other species in its community
hydrologic cycle
The cycle through which water in the hydrosphere moves; includes such processes as evaporation, precipitation, and surface and groundwater runoff
the falling to earth of any form of water (rain or snow or hail or sleet or mist)
evaporative loss of water from a plant through its leaves
Water that flows over the ground surface rather than soaking into the ground, and returns to rivers, lakes, oceans
the process by which water changes from liquid form to an atmospheric gas, drives hydrologic cycle
The downward movement of water through soil and rock due to gravity.
carbon cycle
a process by which carbon is cycled between the atmosphere, land, water, and organisms
carbon sink
places of carbon accumulation such as in large forests (organic compounds) or ocean sediments (calcium carbonate); carbon is thus removed from the carbon cycle for moderately long to very long periods of time.
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
a breathing process in which plants and animals consume oxygen and release carbon dioxide
nitrogen cycle
the transfer of nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil, to living organisms, and back to the atmosphere
nitrogen fixation
process in which bacteria convert nitrogen gas into nitrogen compounds (bacteria found in legumes, soybeans, alfalfa, clover
bacteria convert ammonia into nitrites, then other bacteria convert nitrites into nitrates
plant roots absorb nitrogen compound(s) to produce proteins and nucleic acids
dead plants/wastes converted back to ammonia by decomposition bacteria
denitrifying bacteria return nitrogen to the atmosphere
phosphorus cycle
The movement of phosphorus atoms from rocks through the biosphere and hydrosphere and back to rocks.
sulfur cycle
The chemical and physical reactions by which sulfur moves into or out of storage and through the environment.
group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring
group of individuals of the same species that live in the same area
biological community
the populations of plants, animals, and microorganisms living and interacting in a certain area at a given time
collection of all the organisms that live in a particular place, together with their nonliving environment
organisms that make their own food
the synthesis of new organic material. That done by green plants using solar energy is called primary productivity.
total amount of living tissue within a given trophic level
food chain
a series of steps in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten
food web
network of complex interactions formed by the feeding relationships among the various organisms in an ecosystem
trophic level
each step in a food chain or food web
an organism that obtains energy and nutrients by feeding on other organisms or their remains.
consumers that eat only plants
organisms that mainly prey upon animals.
an organism that eats both plants and animals.
an organism that feeds on the dead bodies of other organisms.
organisms that consume organic litter, debris, and dung.
fungi and bacteria that break down wastes and dead organisms and return raw materials to the environment
the short term changes in the air for a given place and time
the average annual temperature and precipitation of a certain geographic area
prevailing winds
winds that blow in the same direction over large areas of Earth
coriolis effect
the way earth's rotation makes winds curve
convection currents
upward movement of warm air and the downward movement of cool air
dew point
the temperature at which the water vapor in the air becomes saturated and condensation begins
the falling to earth of any form of water (rain or snow or hail or sleet or mist)
convection cell
A circular pattern of air rising, air sinking, and wind.
trade winds
Prevailing winds that blow northeast from 30 degrees north latitude to the equator and that blow southeast from 30 degrees south latitude to the equator
jet stream
a narrow belt of strong winds that blow in the upper troposphere
A seasonal wind that produces a wet or dry period in a region, especially in southern Asia
the leeward side of a mountain that receives little moisture
serve storm that develops over tropical oceans and whose strong winds of more than 120km/h spiral in toward the intensely low pressure storm center &is the most powerful storm on Earth
El Nino (ENSO)
trade winds weaken & warm surface water moves toward South America. Diminished fisheries off South America, drought in western Pacific, increased precipitation in southwestern North America, fewer Atlantic hurricanes. (see-sawing of air pressure over S. Pacific)
La Nina
surface waters of the ocean surrounding Central and South America are colder than normal
Minute particles or liquid droplets suspended in the air
the layer closest to Earth, where almost all weather occurs; the thinnest layer
the second-lowest layer of the atmosphere that contains the ozone layer; temperature increases as altitude increases
a form of oxygen that has three oxygen atoms in each molecule instead of two. In the stratosphere, protects us from dangerous ultraviolet radiation from the sun. In the troposphere BAD
the layer of the atmosphere between the stratosphere and the thermosphere and in which temperature decreases as altitude increases
The outermost layer of the atmosphere, in which temperature increases as altitude increases
percent of solar radiation reflected by a surface
positive feedback loop
and response go in the same direction, Situation in which a change in a certain direction provides information that causes a system to change further in the same direction. This can lead to a runaway or vicious cycle. Example: melting of arctic sea ice
greenhouse effect
warming that results when solar radiation is trapped by the atmosphere
orographic lifting
mountains acting as barriers to the flow of air force the air to ascend; the air cools adiabatically, and clouds and precipitation may result