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150 Cards in this Set

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  • Back


layer of gases surrounding the earth

what is in the atmosphere

78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen

what does the atmosphere do

acts like a blanket to moderate temperatures, blocks solar radiation, uv light and essential for survival

what is the lithosphere

earth's solid outer layer, consists of rocks and minerals. makes up mountains, ocean floors, and the rest of earth's solid landscape. 50-150km thick

what is the hydrosphere

all of earth's water in solid, liquid and gas form. oceans, lakes, ice, groundwater and clouds. 97% of earth's water is found in oceans

what is the biosphere

the area where life can exist within the lithosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. all conditions for life must be met and maintained

what is an ecosystem

all the living organisms that share a region and interact with each other and their non-living environment

what are abiotic factors

non-living components of ecosystems, physical & chemical components of an ecosystem (eg. sunlight, temperature, wind, water, soil, minerals) *disturbances like fires, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions are also abiotic factors*

what are biotic factors

the living components of ecosystems. all organisms, their remains, their products and wastes

what is a population

all the members of the same species living in the same habitat or ecosystem

what is a community

a collection of all the populations in a habitat or ecosystem

composition of ecosystems

single organism < a population < a community of different species < an ecosystem with abiotic and biotic factors

ecosystems can be either _____ or ______

natural or artificial

what is sustainability

ability to maintain an ecological balance without interruption, weakening, or loss of value

what is a sustainable ecosystem

it is an ecosystem that is maintained through natural processes

what is an artificial ecosystem

artificially created and maintained by human actions, desired plants and animals are introduced and maintained (eg. parks, farms) *not usually sustainable*

the biosphere is the _____

most complex level in ecology

what are biomes

a biome is a collection of ecosystems that are similar or related

what are the canadian biomes


-boreal/coniferous forest

-deciduous forest


abiotic features of the tundra biomes

-low temperatures


-poor soil quality

biotic features of the tundra biomes

-low diversity

-rapid flowering plants




abiotic factors of boreal forests

-warmer than tundra

-no permafrost

-changeable weather

-acidic and watery soil

biotic factors of boreal forests

-coniferous trees






abiotic factors of the temperate deciduous forest

-higher temperatures

-fertile soil


biotic factors of the temperate deciduous forest

-deciduous trees and flowering plants


-lots of insects






abiotic factors of grasslands

-longer growing season

-higher temperatures

-good soil

biotic factors of grasslands







what is an ecological niche

role of a species within its ecosystem (what does it eat, what eats it, behavior)

what is a producer

an organism that produces its own food (eg plants produce sugar via photosynthesis)

what is a consumer

organism that consumes other organisms for energy

in order to stay alive and function all organisms need _____


what is the source of all energy

the sun

what does photosynthesis do

solar energy is converted into chemical energy via photosynthesis

producers can capture _____ in a chemical called ______ found in plant cells

light energy, chlorophyll

what is the equation for photosynthesis

carbon dioxide + water (=light energy=) sugar + oxygen

what is sugar

it is stored chemical energy in roots stems and leaves of a plant

what is the equation for cellular respiration

sugar + oxygen = carbon dioxide + water + energy

what do plants convert sugar to for storage


what is energy used for in plants

building materials such as carbs proteins etc

what is a food chain

sequence of organisms each feeding on the next showing how energy is transferred from one organism to another

organisms that cannot make their own food must ...

get their energy form eating other organisms

what is a scavenger

feeds on the remain of another organism

what is a feeding level

describes position of an organism along a food chain

what is the 1st trophic level


what is the 2nd trophic level

primary consumers (herbivores)

what is the 3rd/4th trophic level

secondary/tertiary consumers (carnivores)

what is detritus

waste from plants/animals and dead remains

what happens to the detritus

some organisms might eat it (scavengers)

other organisms break it down to get nutrients for own use and/or release nutrients back ino the ecosystem (decomposers)

what is a food web

representation of the feeding relationships within a community

(energy transfer) all organisms continually _____________ to their __________

use and release energy, environment. this means energy is continually lost from all levels of the food chain.

thermodynamics first and second law

1. energy can be transferred from one form to another but it cannot be created or destroyed

2. energy is lost everytime is energy is transferred between organisms

what is the energy used for

-growth and everyday activities

-some is converted to heat energy (unusuable)

-some is lost as waste (poop)

-some cannot be consumed (bones, skin, fur)

energy needed to maintain a food chain inevitably runs out unless ...

sunlight is continuous

which trophic levels have less energy available to them

the higher trophic levels

omnivores feed at ...

2 levels

what is the end carnivore called

the top carnivore

the top carnivore is also the ...

lowest energy position

examples of decomposers





particles of matter do not ...

stay in your body forever

every part of your cell in your body is ...

replaced over time

photosynthesis and cellular respiration are ...

complimentary processes that cycle carbon around (organic and inorganic forms of it)

what is photosynthesis

process in which the sun's energy is converted into chemical energy or 'glucose sugar'

which parts of the equation for photosynthesis are organic and inorganic

carbon dioxide + water ] inorganic

sugar + oxygen ] organic

what is cellular respiration

process by which glucose sugar in converted into carbon dioxide, water, and energy

which parts of the equation for cellular respiration are organic or inorganic

sugar + oxygen ] organic

carbon dioxide + water + energy ] inorganic

most of earth's carbon is not ...


where is earth's carbon stored

in carbon rich deposits

fossil fuels do what

burning or combustion of fossil fuels release carbon dioxide

dead marine organisms end up as ...

layers of limestone sediment (sedimentary rock)

where is organic carbon held

in the bodies of living things

what does the decomposition of waste and dead organisms do

it returns carbon in inorganic form

what is the human impacts on the carbon cycle

1. burning or combustion of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere

2. deforestation increases carbon dioxide concentration the atmosphere

what does combustion cause

-causes climatic changes

-alters temperature and water availability

-increases temperatures which melt polar ice caps then sea levels rise and that disrupts ecosystems

what does deforestation cause

-less trees to take the CO2 via photosynthesis

-decomposition of organic matte returns carbon to atmosphere

where is most nitrogen found

its found mostly in the atmosphere (called atmospheric nitrogen, N2) and is unusuable

what is nitrogen important for

its important for cells to make protein and dna

which is used by plants:




nitrates (NO3) is used by plants

nitrogen makes up 79% of the atmosphere but ...

its not readily available to be used by organisms because of its stable nature

how is nitrogen usuable

it must be converted to nitrates (NO3)

how can we convert nitrogen to nitrates

nitrogen fixation

what will fix nitrogen

-lightning will fix small amounts of nitogen (lightning falls with rain)

-bacteria in the soil will fix nitrogen for nearby plants

how is nitrogen used

its used to make dna and proteins

who needs plant nitrogen


animals break down proteins into ...

amino acids

what are amino acids used for

to make the needed proteins

what happens to excess nitrogen

decomposers will take nitrogen rich compounds and release it back into the environment (goes into the soil or re-enters the atmosphere)

what is the process of the nitrogen

nitrate > nitrite > nitrogen

what do plants need

n:p:k (nitrogen, phosphate, potassium)

plants have _______ which is responsible for the ______ which requires ______

chlorophyll, green colour, nitrates

who is chlorophyll required by

required by producers to participate in photosynthesis

lwhat does chlorophyll trap

chlorophyll traps the sunlight (radiant energy)

what makes the chlorophyll


fossil fuels are organic or inorganico


what allows an organism to thrive

abiotic and biotic conditions

what is the limiting factor

factor that restricts the size of a population

eg. is there enough food

species interaction

whos faster or stronger

what are species interactions

species often interact within community and different relationships exists between species

what are the 5 interactions

1. competition

2. predation

3. parasitism

4. commensalism

5. mutualism

what is competition

two individuals vie for the same resource

what is predation

one individual feeds on another

what is parasitism

one individual lives in or on and feeds on a host organism

what is commensalism

one individual benefits and the other doesn't or is harmed

what is mutualism

two individuals benefiting each other

example of competition

fox and coyote both feed on rabbits

example of predation

lynx prey on hares

example of parasitism

microbes that case malaria live within human cells

example of commensalism

birds living/nesting in trees

example of mutualism

nitrogen fixing bacteria live in the roots of certain plants. plants provide sugar to bacteria. bacteria provide nitrogen to plant

what are pests

inconvenient organisms examples, organisms that damage crops

-weeds, mosquitoes, mice

what is a monoculture

one type of organism in an area, also the ideal environment for pests

what happens if pests attack plants

if a pest attacks a plant it will eats its leaves and then the plant cannot photowsynthesize and will die

what is a pesticide

a substance/poison used to kill/poison pests

what are the 4 types of pesticides

-long lived

-short lived

-broad spectrum

-narrow spectrum

what are long lived pesticides

they last many years (eg. synthetic pesticides)

what are short lived pesticides

last a few days (eg. natural pesticides)

what are broad spectrum pesticides

they are toxic to many species (eg. DDT is toxic to most insect species)

what are narrow spectrum pesticides

toxic to a limited number of species (eg. BT is toxic only to caterpillars, beetles, and fly larvae)

who are more susceptible to pesticides

each higher organism collects more pesticides, pesticides accumulate as they go from one trophic level to the next

how do pesticides work

physical harm

-abrasive powder scratches small organisms

chemical harm

-poison that interferes with photosynthesis or damages vital organs


direct contact

-must touch pest


-sprayed on grass and will take effect by the roots of the weed

what are nontarget species

species not intended to be killed by broad spectrum pesticides. sometimes it will kill predatory insects that normally feed on pests which makes them use more pesticides

what is bioamplification/bioaccumulation

pesticides that bioaccumulate do that because the cannot be removed from the body and they are stored in fats not water

a pesticide bioamplifies in a food chain it increases in concentrations as it moves higher up the food web, can reach toxic levels

what is resistance

when pesticides are used for a long time then the pest can become stronger against it and it doesnt work anymore

individual pests that survive an application of pesticide will reproduce and pass the resistance to their kids

after many generations the population can be highly resistant

what are some solutions

organic farming

-farming without the use of synthetic fertilizers/pesticides but some organic pesticides can be more dangerous than synthetic ones



-altered time (when does it grow)

-crop rotation/mixed planting

-baiting the pest

some non-native species ______ when introduces to a new habitat and can become ______

thrive, overpopulated

some species become underpopulated because of...

changes in abiotic and biotic conditions in their habitat

what do we classify species with lowered populations as






what is vulnerable

(special concern) species that is at risk because of its low or reducing numbers eg. grey fox

what is threatened

species that is likely to become endangered if factors reducing its survival are not changed eg. whale, bison

what is extirpated

a species that no longer exists in a specific area eg. paddlefish, atlantic walrus

what is endangered

a species facing immediate extirpation or extinction eg. swift fox, northern cricket frog

what is extinct

died out and no longer found on earth eg. sea mink, great auk

what are the types of tree harvesting

clear cutting and selective cutting

what is clear cutting

all the trees in one area are removed, followed by replanting, also highly mechanized

what is selective cutting

only certain trees are harvested (the best ones) and remaining trees provide seeds for future growth

advantages of clear cutting



disadvantages of clear cutting

-soil erosion

-runoff adds soil nutrients to water so algae will grow

-habitats destroyed

-we cut trees faster than they can grow

-replanting results in monoculture

advantages of selective cutting

-less disruptive

-biodiversity is maintained

disadvantages of selective cutting


-less safe

-future growth will be inferior

what causes acid precipitation

-coal burning plants


-metal smelters to make jewelry

-oil refineries

*all produce sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide which dissolve in water droplets to form acid precipitation*

acid rain is caused by an imbalance in the carbon cycles

how does acid get into the water/air

acidic gases released by atmosphere > gases carried by winds > gases dissolve in rainwater to form acid rain > acid rain kills plant life, pollutes rivers and streams and erodes stonework

effects of acid precipitation

ecosystems at risk

-kills fish

-soil, bacteria

-aquatic & terrestrial plants

low ph 5.1 damages tree leaves and tree tissues making it easy for them to get infected

marble statues dissolve

metal and buildings are damaged (corrosion)

asthma, bronchitis, eye and skin irritation

what is fragmentation

making a region smaller

what does fragmentation do to ecosystems

it reduces ecosystem sustainability and a large area of the habitat is exposed to damaging outside influences such as pollution

what factors improve the sustainability of habitat fragments


-number (1big area instead of 4 small)

-proximity (how close together are the habitats)

-connectedness (connected habitats)

-integrity (wheres the water)

human activities along shorelines damage neighbouring aquatic ecosystems by

-replacing natural vegetation

-dredging to create deeper water for boats

-sediment runoff

-commercial fishing

what is ecological succession

-ecosystems are balanced

-biotic and abiotic features remain constant

-abiotic conditoins are stable

but ecosystems can change over time

larger ecosystems/ change is ...

slow and is caused by changes in climate

small eosystems/ constant ...

state of change i.e fires

what is succession

the gradual change in the biotic and abiotic features of an ecosystem observed by following a disturbance

what is primary succession

succession on newly exposed ground

what is seconday succession

succession in a partially disrupted ecosystem but doesn't destroy the community