Environmental Science for AP - Friedland and Relyea Chapter 3


Terms in this set (...)

Particular location on Earth distinguished by its particular mix of interacting biotic and abiotic components.
Uses solar energy to produce usable forms of energy with photosynthesis.
producers use solar energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose, a form of potential energy
Cellular Respiration
Process that unlocks the chemical energy stored in cells of organisms.
Incapable of photosynthesis. Must get energy from consuming other organisms.
Primary Consumers
Consume producers. Herbivore
Secondary Consumers
Eat primary consumers. Carnivores.
Trophic Levels
Successive levels of organisms consuming each other.
Food Chain
Sequence of consumption from producers to top level of consumers.
Food Web
Food chains that take into account the complexity of nature and show all connections between organisms.
Carnivores that consume dead animals
Organisms that specialize in breaking down dead tissues and waste products
Fungi and bacteria that complete the breakdown process by recycling the nutrients from dead tissues and wastes back into the ecosystem.
Gross Primary Productivity
GPP. Total amount of solar energy that the producers in an ecosystem capture via photosynthesis over a given amount of time.
Net Primary Productivity
NPP. Energy captured minus the energy respired by producers.
Total mass of all living matter in a specific area
Standing Crop
Total biomass present in an ecosystem at a particular time
Ecological Efficiency
Proportion of consumed energy that can be passed from one trophic level
Trophic Pyramid
Represent the distribution of biomass among trophic levels. Decrease by about 10 percent each time
Biogeochemical Cycles
Movement of matter within an between ecosystems.
Hydrologic Cycle
Solar energy heats earth and causes evaporation. Evaporated water condenses into clouds. Water returns to Earth as precipitation. Precipitation falling on land is taken up by plants, runs off along the land surface, or percolates into the soil and enters groundwater.
Plants release water from their leaves into the atmosphere
Combined amount of evaporation and transpiration.
Water moving across land surface and into water bodies, eventually reaching ocean.
Carbon Cycle
Producers convert CO2 into sugars. Sugars are converted back into CO2. Some carbon can be buried. Human extraction of fossil fuels brings carbon to Earth's surface where it can be combusted. CO2 in the atmosphere and CO2 dissolved in water are constantly exchanged. Combustion converts fossil fuels and plant material into CO2.
Needed by organisms in large amounts. Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.
Limiting Nutrient
A nutrient whose amount available limits growth of organisms.
Nitrogen Fixation
Bacterial organisms convert N2 into ammonia NH3.
Nitrogen Cycle
Nitrogen Fixation - Converts N2 from the atmosphere. Biotic processes convert N2 to ammonia and abiotic processes convert N2 to nitrate NO3.

Assimilation - Producers take up either ammonium NH4 or nitrate NO3. Consumers assimilate nitrogen by eating producers.

Ammonification - Decomposers in soil and water break down biological nitrogen compounds into ammonium.

Nitrification - Nitrifying bacteria convert ammonium NH4 into nitrite NO2 and then into nitrate NO3.

Denitrification - Denitrifying bacteria in oxygen poor soil and stagnant water convert nitrate NO3 into nitrous oxide N2O and eventrually nitrogen gas N2.
Nitrate transported through the soil with water.
Phosphorus Cycle
Weathering of uplifted rocks contribute phosphates to the land and some phosphate make their way back to the ocean. Phosphate fertilizer applied to fields can run off directly into streams, become part of a soil pool, or be absorbed by plants. Excretion by animals and decomposition of both animals and plants release phosphates on land or in water. Dissolved phosphates precipitate out of solution and contribute to the ocean sediments into phosphate rocks is a very slow process. Geologic forces can slowly lift up phosphate rocks from the ocean floor to form mountains.
All of the land in a given landscape that drains into a particular stream, river, lake, or wetland.
How much a disturbance can affect the flows of energy and matter.
Rate at which an ecosystem returns to its original state after a disturbance
Restoration Ecology
Focused on restoring damaged ecosystems.
Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis
Ecosystems experiencing intermediate levels of disturbance are more diverse than those with high or low disturbance levels.
Instrumental Value
Worth of a species as an instrument or tool that can be used to accomplish a goal. Provisions, regulating services, support systems, resilience, and cultural services.
Intrinsic Value
Worth of a species independent of any benefit they bring to humans.
Goods that humans can directly use.
the region of our planet where life resides
an event caused by physical, chemical or biological agents that result in changes in population, size, or community composition.
Tertiary consumers
carnivores that eat secondary consumers. Animals such as bald eagles

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