Introduction to Environmental Science Essay
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Be able to define an environmental factor. There are two types (condition and resource). What is the difference between a condition and a resource? Be able to categorize particular environmental factors as conditions OR resources (for example, temperature is a condition and not a resource). Be able to rank from smallest to largest: ecosystem, landscape, biome, biosphere Be able to rank from smallest to largest (in terms of numbers and diversity of life): species, population, biota and biosphere. Also, what is the difference between a population of a species and a species overall? Make sure you can explain the Law of Limiting Factors.
What is the difference between the optimum conditions, the zones of tolerance and the zones of stress? Can life exist outside of the zones of tolerance? Outside of the zones of stress? Be able to list the primary atoms in organic compounds.
What is the difference between a producer and a consumer? Be able to classify life as one or the other. Make sure you know the products and reactants for photosynthesis and cellular respiration. In each of the following cycles, be able to identify the primary source for each atom (atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere): Carbon cycle, Nitrogen cycle, Phosphorous cycle.
Be able to categorize an environmental resistance factor as population density-dependent or density-independent. Some examples may include food availability, water availability, disease, temperature, wind and available space/shelter. What are biotic potential and environmental resistance, and how are they related? Be able to define critical number (what this means for a species survival), threatened and endangered. Make sure you can list characteristics of a K-strategist versus an r-strategist. Is an elephant a K- or r-strategist? What about a fly? Be able to describe, and identify, the following community interactions: predation, competition, mutualism, commensalism, amensalism. What is an adaptation? Be able to identify common types of adaptations of organisms (camouflage, prickles on cactus, ability to store water in the desert, hibernation in cold climates, long necks to reach food, etc. see table in your Power Point and textbook).
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How does the process of selective pressure influence the processes of evolution and speciation? What IS the process of speciation? What is time frame for evolution and/or speciation of complex species (i.e., not single-celled organisms like bacteria)? Can species that evolve from other species still mate with the species from which they evolved? How are the Theories of Evolution and Continental Drift complimentary? Be able to identify the exponential growth rate equation and the logistic growth rate equation. What are the differences between the two? (For example, carrying capacity is only in logistic growth, the shapes of the curves are different.) Be able to describe how (in what way) each of the four human population revolutions impacted the carrying capacity for humans on Earth. Make sure you can tell me what each of the letters stands for in this equation, I = (P x A x T)/S, and how increasing and decreasing each will change environmental impact (I).
Make sure you know what each of these trophic categories or food web terms are: Autotrophs, Heterotrophs (includes decomposers, consumers), Producers, Consumers (first-order, second-order, third-order). Where do herbivores, carnivores and omnivores fit into the consumer classes? Be able to list the 6 major biomes, and compare them in terms of precipitation and temperature (precipitation is the primary factor that determines biomes, and temperature is the second most important factor). What are common values that humans place on biodiversity?
What was the goal of the Endangered Species Act? Does it protect the organism only, or also its habitat?