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27 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Define Ecology
The scientific study of the interaction between living organisms and their environment.
What are communities?
Associations of organisms
Plants are the essential biotic component; what are the three parts of their job?
Leaf activity
Photosynthesis/Respiration
Biomass
What is biomass?
Net primary productivity
(How much standing organic matter are plants producing? Measured in units/yr)
What are the abiotic (environmental) ecosystem components?
Light, temperature, water, climate, & life zones (vertical/horizontal distribution of organisms)
What is transpiration?
Plants act as pumps, processing and secreting water.
Give a few examples of elemental (biogeochemical) cycles
Oxygen cycle, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle
What is the name for the forces that control distribution of plants & animals on Earth's surface? eg. Saguaro cactus in desert
Limiting factors
What are the three types of biotic ecosystem operators?
Producers (autotrophs)
Consumers (heterotrophs)
Decomposers
Which model is more accurate than the traditional "food chain?"
The food web - in the web of life, all components are interrelated.
What is the name for a predator at the top of the food web/chain?
Apical Predator
Arrange the participants on the trophic/food pyramid in order from top to bottom (smallest number to highest)
Apical predators/Tertiary consumers
Secondary consumers
Primary consumers (herbivores)
Producers (autotrophs)
What forces control biomes?
Combinations of temperature and precipitation
What gas is produced by clear-cutting?
Carbon Dioxide
Is it more energy-efficient to eat higher or lower on the food chain?
Lower
What is the term for species richness of life on Earth?
Biodiversity
How does biological evolution deliver biodiversity?
Adaptation, mutations, geographical changes all contribute to variations in species.
How does environmental disturbance (fire, volcanic eruption, farming) affect ecosystem stability & diversity?
It resets ecological succession - more complex communities replace older, simpler communities of plants & animals
What is a climax ecosystem?
One as big & full as it can get.
What is the term for the first (pioneer) species emerging after a disturbance?
Primary succession
What is the term for the gradual infilling of a lake or pond?
Eutrophication
Explain Malthus' Dismal Theorem.
As resources double, population increases exponentially, outstripping the resources.
Name the major terrestrial biomes discussed in class
Equatorial & Tropical Rain Forest
Tropical Seasonal Forest & Scrub
Tropical Savanna
Midlatitude Broadleaf & Mixed Forest (aka boreal/taiga)
Needleleaf Forest & Montane Forest
Temperate Rain Forest
Mediterranean Shrubland
Midlatitude Grasslands
Warm desert & semidesert
Cold desert & semidesert
Arctic & Alpine Tundra
Where on Earth does maximum biodiversity generally occur?
Near the equator
What is the purpose of fire ecology?
Imitating nature by setting deliberate, controlled ground fires to spur succession.
How does global warming affect the greening front (areas of moisture input)?
Moisture comes in brief, intense spurts, so water runs off and doesn't saturate earth/plans.
Why are larger animals more prone to extinction?
Populations are smaller, and they have fewer offspring which take longer to gestate and to mature.