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Biology Chapter 3 - The Biosphere
Terms in this set (68)
The scientific study of the interactions of organisms and their environment.
What does the biosphere contain?
All life on earth.
Why do ecologists ask questions about events and organisms that range in complexity from an individual to the biosphere?
To understand relationships within the biosphere.
A group of similar organisms that breed and produce fertile offspring.
A group of individuals of the same species that live in the same area.
A collection of different populations that live together in an area.
All of the organisms living in a specific place, together with their physical environment.
A group of ecosystems with the same climate and similar dominant communities.
The part of the planet (land, water and air) where all life exists.
What are 3 basic approaches scientists use to conduct modern ecological research?
Observing, experimenting and modeling.
Why might a scientist set up an artificial environment in a laboratory?
To imitate and manipulate conditions that organisms encounter in the natural world..
Why are so many ecological phenomena difficult to study?
They occur over large periods of time and/or over long spacial scales.
Why do ecologists make models?
It helps them to understand complex processes.
True or False. An ecological model may consist of a mathematical formula.
What is at the core of every organism's interaction with the environment?
The need for energy to power life's processes.
What sources of energy do organisms use that don't use the sun's energy?
Chemicals or other organisms.
What are autotrophs?
Organisms that capture energy from sunlight or chemicals and use that energy to make food.
Why are autotrophs also called producers?
Because they use energy to make their own food.
What do autotrophs do during photosynthesis?
Use light energy to power chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and energy-rich carbohydrates such as sugars and starches.
What is chemosynthesis?
The process in which autotrophs use chemical energy to make carbohydrates (food).
Heterotrophs are also called what?
Where do bacteria who carry out chemosynthesis live?
Volcanic vents on the deep ocean floor, hot springs in Yellowstone Park and tidal marshes along the coast.
Plant and animal remains and other dead matter.
Heterotroph. Gets energy by only eating plants.
Heterotroph. Gets energy by eating only animals.
Heterotroph. Gets energy by eating plants and animals.
Heterotroph. Gets energy by eating the remains or wastes of other organisms.
Heterotroph. Break down organic matter.
How does energy flow through the ecosystem?
In one direction, from the sun or inorganic compounds to the autotrophs to the heterotrophs.
Shows how living things transfer energy by eating and being eaten.
Links together all of the food chains in an ecosystem.
Each step in a food chain or food web.
In a food web, what organisms make up the first trophic level?
What does a consumer in a food chain depend on for energy?
The trophic level below it.
Diagrams that show the relative amounts of energy or matter at each trophic level.
Why is it that only part if the energy stored in one trophic level is passed onto the next level?
Because organisms use the majority of energy for life processes, including respiration, movement and reproduction.
Total amount of living tissue.
What does a biomass pyramid represent?
The amount of potential food available for each level in an ecosystem.
Pyramid of Numbers
Shows the relative number of individual organisms at each trophic level.
Why can each trophic level support only about one tenth the amount of living tissue as the level below it?
Because organisms use the majority of the energy produced to support life processes.
What are the four elements that make up over 95% of the body in most organisms?
Oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen.
How is the movement of matter through the biosphere different from the flow of energy?
Energy only flows in one direction, matter is recycled so it goes both ways.
How matter moves through organisms and parts of the biosphere.
What do biogeochemical cycles connect?
The biological, geological and chemical aspects of the biosphere.
Water changes from liquid to gas.
Evaporation of water from the leaves of plants.
Processes involved in the water cycle?
Transpiration, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, runoff, seepage and root uptake.
Three most important nutrient cycles in the biosphere?
Carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle and phosphorous cycle.
Why is carbon especially important to living systems?
It's a key part of living tissue.
The movement of water between the ocean, the atmosphere, land and living things.
In what process do plants use carbon dioxide?
Why do organisms require nitrogen?
To make amino acids so that they can build proteins.
What is the main reservoir of nitrogen in the biosphere?
What is nitrogen fixation?
Converting nitrogen gas in ammonia by certain bacteria.
What is denitrification?
The change of nitrogen compounds back into nitrogen gas by certain bacteria.
What role does denitrification play in the nitrogen cycle?
Releases nitrogen gas back into the atmosphere.
True or False. Phosphate is released as rocks and sediments wear down. (Phosphorous cycle)
True or False. Plants absorb phosphate from the soil or from water. (Phosphorous cycle)
True or False. Phosphorous is abundant in the atmosphere. (Phosphorous cycle)
True or False. Organic phosphate cannot move through food webs. (Phosphorous cycle)
Why is phosphorous essential to living things?
It is a key part of life-sustaining molecules such as DNA and RNA.
What is the primary productivity of an ecosystem?
The rate at which producers form organic matter in an ecosystem.
If a nutrient is in short supply in an ecosystem, how will it affect the organism?
It will limit its growth.
When is a substance called a limiting nutrient?
When it's scarce or cycles very slowly in an ecosystem.
What is the limiting factor in the ocean and other saltwater environments?
What is the limiting factor in streams, lakes and other freshwater environments?
When an aquatic ecosystem receives a large input of a limiting nutrient, what is the result and what is it called?
An immediate increase in the amount of algae and other producers called an algal bloom.
Why do blooms occur?
Runoff from heavily fertilized fields.
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