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21 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
branch of science that focuses on natural living systems; study of matter and energy of whole natural systems
all dif. kinds of living things in an area ("the community") plus the physical surroundings of these living things; can be of many scales (sizes)
Community members
obtain atoms and energy from ecosystems and make organic molecules
sustained by consuming producers
bacteria, fungi, and others who renew the raw materials of life
community characteristics
1. biotic and abiotic parts
2. energy flows through ecosystems
3. matter is recylced by ecosystems
4. ecologic niches
5. stable ecosystems balance among population
6. ecosystems change over time
food chain (food web)
order of consumption of one organism by another
trophic levels
grouping of community members

plants - herbivores - carnivores - decomposers
carbon cycling
passage of carbon from surroundings to members of the community
mode of survival, a particular way of obtaining matter and energy with an ecosystem
a balance reflecting the fact that matter and energy are limited resouces that must be shared by all individuals
law of unintended consequences
it is virtually impossible to change one aspect or variability of a complex system, usually in unpredictable or unexpected ways
threats to global ecosystems and environments
1. solid waste disposal
2. ozone layer degradation
3. acid rain
4. greenhouse effect
problems w/ solid waste disposal
- burial inhibits natural C and N recycling
- trash is cut off from air and water
- bacteria do not decompose normally
ozone degredation
ozone hole: damaged area of the ozone layer due to reaction with Cl (Freon)
long chain molecules that are not burned completely in modern energy-consuming devices
air pollution
sunlight striking N-compounds and hydrocarbons produces 0(3)(the 3 is a subscript), a caustic gas when breathed
ex. smog
greenhouse effect
carbon dioxide is released by burning fossil feuls and collects in atmosphere where it collects heat and results in global heating
Mass Extinction Event
The Earth is presently experiencing a mass extinction of life equal to or greater than the greatest mass extinction on the whole history of life on the planet
Causes of modern mass extinction
1. Destruction of tropical ecosystems
2. Climate change (global warming)
3. Widespread volcanic activity (pollutes atmosphere w/ dust and gas)
4. overpopulation