Environmental Science Ch. 8-15
What are ecosystem services?

Processes that make life on Earth possible.

i.e. oxygen production, air and water purification, nutrient recycling

What is the connection between biodiversity and pharmacy?
Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth including species, genetic, and ecological diversity.  Many prescriptions and meds in general come from plants.  The greater the biodiversity, the more medicine can be made from different combinations and adaptations of plants.
What is an endemic species?
A species that is ntive to a particular area and is not naturally found anywhere else.
What is an extant species?
A species that still exists in our world today.
What is an extinct species?
A species that no longer exists; complete loss of species from anywhere (local or global).
Why is it important to maintain biodiversity?
It brings so many benefits like ecological services that maintain life; cultural benefits like recreation and societal traditions; economic value like with pharmaceuticals, and also reduces the threat of extinct species.
How does the environment interact with a population of plants or animals?
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What are the main sources of genetic diversity?
Adaptation to tolerance limits, natural selection in certain areas changing from other areas, evolution from one generation to the next.  Genetic mutation which is rare altering of genes and genetic recombination (the shuffling of alleles to produce new traits).
What ecological services are provided by forests?
Soil maintenance and protection, water purification and provision, disturbance regulation, oxygen production, and biodiversity and genetic resources and climate regulation.
What ecological services are provided by grasslands?
Nutrient cycling, breaking up of soil to do grazing, diverse plants, provides plant growth, soil formation and protection, carbon sequestration, protection of surface H2O.
What are the main types of forests of the world?

Boreal forests (lower temperature, lower precipitation).

Evergreens.

Temperate decidious trees wet and mid-latitude.

Tropical forests- diverse trees and undergrowth.

Tropics- with non-varying temperatures.

What is a keystone species?
A species that impacts its community more than its mere abundance would predict.  It causes a ripple affect like alligators in the Everglades.
What is ecological succession? Describe two types.
The progressive replacement of plant and animal species in a community over time due to change conditions caused by plants.  Primary succession is succesion that occurs in areas where no ecosystem existed before.  Secondary succession is succession that occurs in an ecosystem that has been disturbed; occurs more quickly than primary.
What is species diversity?
Variety of species; including how many are present and their abundance relative to one another.
What is genetic diversity?
The heritable variation among individuals of a single population or within a species.
What is ecological diversity?
The variety within an ecosystem’s structure, including many communities, habitats, niches, and trophic levels.
What can be done to enhance biodiversity?
Preserves, parks, biodiversity monitoring, ecosystem restoration and remediation, species survival plans, laws and treaties to protect those at risk.
What factors can affect the gene frequencies of a population?
Natural selection, differential reproductive success, survival adaptations, populations, evolving because of tolerance limits.
What factors contribute to endangerment of a species?
State of natural habitat, threat from disease and predators, overutilized habitat or habitat destruction, climate change, or pollution.
What laws are in force to protect endangered species?

U.S. Endangered Species Act- provides official list of endangered animals and mandates protection of them and habitats.

Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species- which forbids trade of endangered species or products made from them.

Convention on Biological Diversity- which promotes sustainable use of ecosystems and diversity.

Canada Species at Risk Act.

What is the bottleneck effect?
When population size is drastically reduced, leading to loss of some genetic variants and a less diverse population.
What is the founder effect?
When small groups with only a subset of the larger population’s genetic diversity becomes isolated and it evolves into a different population missing some of the original traits.
What is the three-dimensional structure of a forest?

Canopy is formed by overlapping crowns of the tallest trees.

Emergent layer which reach above the canopy.

Understory is shade-tolerant shrubs, saplings, and other small trees.

Forest floor is made up of seedling, herbs, wild flowers, and ferns.

Describe the water cycle.
Water evaporates from release plant water vapor and solar energy heating water; water vapor rises, cools, and condenses, then falls as precipitation; water is soaked up by plants, ground, runs off into the ocean; the cycle begins again.
Why are forest soils generally of poor quality while grassland soils are of excellent quality?

Forest soil: the roots do not penetrate the ground in much depth, but are generally spread out in the top layers of the soil.

Grassland soil: The roots of these plants reach deeper, holding down the topsoil and allowing the plants to reach deeper water sources.

What has been the fate of most of our native grasslands in North America?

Fallen prey to human and natural threats.

i.e. herbivores, soil erosion, overgrazing, and desertification.

What has been the fate of most of our native forests in North America?
Fallen prey to timber harvesting, vegetation removal, and fires.
How does matter and energy move through ecosystems?
Decomposition, which breaks down the animal cells through cellular respiration and the mitochondria.  An organism is eaten; as you go up each trophic level, 10% of the energy is transferred up.
How do human activities affect ecological communities?
Overhunting, deforestation, pollution, land conversion.
How do species interactions contribute to the overall viability of the community?
Species interact with each other and compete for resources.  By doing this, they keep other species in check and the ecosystem balanced.
What is the function of soil?  How is soil best protected?
Soil provides nutrients to the organisms in and around it, often also providing a “habitat” for some animals and many plants.  We can preserve areas in order to prevent desertification, deforestation, and overgrazing.
How do water treatment plants mimic natural water purification processes?
Water treatment plants add chemicals to the water in order to purify it, similar to the natural process that occurs.
What are the barriers to access of clean, drinkable water around the world?
Lack of fresh water, droughts, unavailability of water, the cost of making drinking water out of salt water.
Why should world travelers drink only bottled water?
Because of the bacteria in some water sources worldwide, specifically polluted water that is not purified or treated.
How does vegetation affect the climate?
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How are grasslands and forests managed in a sustainable fashion?
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How does citizen science such as feeder watch or the great backyard bird count contribute to the preservation of biodiversity?
These groups help to make the general population more aware of their surrounding environment and the species within that environment.
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