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87 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
System defn.
a group of interdependent materials
Closed system
a system that only exchanges energy across its boundary
Open system
a system that will exchange both matter and energy across its boundary
Plate Tectonics
~cooler rigid crust forms plates of less dense material that floats over hot plastic-molten material
3 Types of Plate Boundaries
Divergent Boundaries
Spreading apart of plates; new crust is usually made
Convergent Plates
Plates move towards each other
Oceanic-Oceanic Convergent Plates
~Subduction of the older plate
~Can lead to volcanism
Oceanic-Continental Convergent Plates
Subduction of the oceanic plate
Continental-Continental Convergent Plates
~Collisions (that may result in mtns.)
~Massive Earthquakes
Transform Plates
~Plates move laterally past each other
~Associated with mid-ocean rift systems
Continental vs. Oceanic Crust
~Continental is older, thicker and more deformed than Oceanic
~Oceanic is denser than Continental
Igneous Rocks
~Source is from the melting of the rocks in the mantle
~Later solidifies/crystallizes
Sedimentary Rock
~Source: weathering and erosion rocks (igneous?)
~Formed through deposition, burial, and lithificaiton
Metamorphic Rock
~Source: rocks under high temps and presuure in deep crust/upper mantle
~Recrystallization in solid state of new minerals
4 Spheres of the Environment
Relationship of Spheres and Matter
Matter flows throughout spheres but doesn't leave the system; is more of a closed system
Relationship of Spheres and NRG
Energy acts as an open system, coming from the Sun and eventually leaving the spheres
1st Law of Thermodynamics
Energy is neither created nor destroyed, but only changes form
2nd Law of Thermodynamics
Systems move from hi energy states to low energy states
a substance that consists of atoms all of which have identical characteristics
smallest part of a substance that still retains its properties
have 1 atomic unit of mass and a positive charge
have 1 atomic unit of mass and a 0 charge
have insignificant mass, highly energetic, and have a negative charge
Atomic Mass
The # of protons + neutrons
Atomic Number
determined solely by the number of protons
elements that have several varieties of different mass
result of the need for atoms to be electrically neutral
Ionic Bond
atoms attracted attracted by opposite electrical charge
the sharing of electrons; strongest bond
Metallic Bond
freely moving electrons in the outer shell (electricity)
Van der Waals Interactions
weak electrostatic forces
CHONPS cycles
Nitrogen cycle
~Nitrogen is put into soil as ammonium via decomposition
~Goes from ammonium to nitrites that can be utilized by plants
~Nitrites are then changed to nitrates in the soil that can be utilized by dentrifying bacteria
Phosphorus cycle (aquatic)
~Phosphorus -> water thru agri, sewage, or through the weathering and erosion of rocks/minerals containing phosphates
~Phosphates in soln can either precipitate into sediment phosphates or used for photosynthesis by aquatic plants (later decomps)
Phosphorus cycle (terrestrial)
~Death and excretion deposit are broken down by decomposers putting the phosphates into the soil
~The phosphates are then used by plants that are then eaten by consumers
Carbon cycle (terrestrial)
~CO2 is taken from the atmosphere and is used for photosynthesis
~Plants are then consumed and/or burned
~Burning the plants/consumers that have eaten plants products releases CO2 into the atmosphere
Carbon cycle (aquatic)
~CO2 can go into soln and be used for photosynthesis by aquatic plants
~Those plants then decompose or are eaten by something that decomposes and puts CO2 into the soil
~It settles and is used as fossil fuel
~Fossil fuel is burned and releases CO2 into the atmosphere
Oxidized Carbon
Reduced Carbon
~ anion
~takes oxidized carbon and adds electrons making it a reduced carbon
~Animal can then strip the electrons from the reduced carbon
Hierarchical environmental system
composed of smaller systems that are made of smaller interacting parts
the degree of isolation of a system
the strength of interactions among the various parts of the system
Refers to the number of parts in a system; the more parts, the gr8r the complexity
Negative Feedback
occurs when the rate of the process decreases as the concentration of the product increases
Positive Feedback
occurs when the rate of a process increases as the concentration of the product increases
Environmental Impact (I)
the alteration of the natural environment by human activity
Environmental Impact Formula
Environmental Impact (I) = Population (P) X Consumption (C)
Commons defn.
resources & environmental sinks that are held in common by many people
Green Fees/True Environmental Costs
adjusts the costs of products and services to include environmental costs
a group of organisms of the same species living in the same area
Carrying Capacity
the maximum population that can be sustained in an area over a long time
Competitive exclusion
~2 or more organisms require the same limited resources
~Niche overlap can exclude the less efficient competitor
the living together in more or less intimate association or close union of two dissimilar organisms
symbiotic relationship where both species benefit
Symbiotic relationship where one species benefits and the other is unaffected
Symbiotic relationship where one species benefits and the other is harmed
Symbiotic relationship where one species is unaffected and the other is harmed
Human Impacts on Populations
~Increase by competitive and predator releases, increase in resource, or introduction to new areas
~Decrease by habitat disruption, intro of new species, overkill, and 2o extinctions
Competitive Release
Due to human interference, a previous competitive force is removed from a species
Predator Release
the killing off of predators that causes an increase in population
Introduced Exotic Species
introduction of non-native species
Population ranges/distribution
populations tend to have a max abundance near the center of their geographic range
consist of all the populations that inhabit a certain area
occur when there are closed communities with sharp boundaries separating species
Community succession
sequential replacement of species in a community by immigration of new species and local extinction of old ones
Matter Cycling
matter is cycled over and over within a typical healthy ecosystem; consistently stays in the system
Energy Flow
enters the ecosystem from the sun and most of the energy is lost; what is retained and consumed loses 80-95% between each trophic level
Biomass pyramids
~Producers have the most biomass
~With each trophic increase, biomass decreases
~Most mass is consumed by decomposers
the variety and variability among living organisms and ecological complexes in which they occur
Species Richness
the overall species in an area
How many species have been described?
1.8-2 million
How many species are estimated to be on Earth?
5-100 million
Ecological extinction
A species too rare to have an impact on its ecosystem
A species has died out in a local area, but continues to exist elsewhere
Community Degradation
decline in the # of species in an ecosystem which then leads to easier ecosystem disruption
Indicator Species
species within an environment used to test ecosystem health; are more prone to environmental changes
the complete loss of a species
Background Extinction
extinction that occur due to natural causes such as changes in climate, habitat, predation, evolution, or localized catastrophes
5 Human Causes of Extinction
~Habitat destruction
~Introduce New Species
~Secondary Extinctions
~Community Degradation
Habitat Fragmentation
the emergence of discontinuities in an organism's preferred habitat
Edge effects
refers to the changes in population or community structures that occur at the boundary of 2 habitats
Keystone Species
A species that many species become dependent on for food, reproduction, or some other basic need in a healthy community
Species preservation through...
-habitat protection
-selection and design of preserves
-land management incentives
-legal protection
-captive breeding and reintroduction
Minimum Viable Population
the minimum population size needed to stay above the extinction vortex