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32 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

Environmental Science

The systematic study of our environment and our place in it.

Types of environment

Built & Natural

Social Institutions, Artifacts, Culture and Technology

Plants, Animals, Soil, Air and Water

Persistent Environmental Challenges

-Climate Change


-Polluted Water

-Burning of fossil fuels




A search for ecological stability and human progress that can last over the long term.

Sustainable Development

Economic improvement (for the world’s poorest populations) is possible without devastating the environment.

Systems + characteristics

A network of interdependent components and processes, with materials and energy flowing throughout.

* State variables

- Plants


* Resources

- Energy

- Matter

- Water


- The transfer of resources from one state variable to another

- Herbivory, photosynthesis, predation

Feedback mechanisms

Feedback mechanisms

- Positive: An increase in a state variable → an increase in the same state variable. A new equilibrium is reached

- NegativeAn increase in the state variable → a decrease in the same state variable. Returns to original equilibrium

Matter & Energy flows

The material of which everything is made

The ability to do work such as moving matter over a distance, or causing heat transfer between objects

Food Webs

Food Webs

a system of interlocking and interdependent food chains.

Cycles: Hydrological, Carbon,Phosphorus, Sulfurand Nitrogen

The elements and compounds that sustain us are cycled endlessly through living things and the environment.







species change over generations because individuals compete for scarce resources (Charles Darwin)

Over generations these traits become common in a population


the acquisition of traits that allow species to survive in their environment Genetic traits passed from generation to generation in a population to live more successfully in an environment

Natural Selection

the fittest individuals passing their traits to the next generation more successfully

Species Limits

Tolerance Limits

-Physical Stress (light, temperature, moisture, pH, nutrients) 
-Competition with other species 
- Predation (parasites, disease) 

- Tolerance Limits: environmental factor levels beyond which a particular species cannot survive or is unable to r...

-Physical Stress (light, temperature, moisture, pH, nutrients)

-Competition with other species

- Predation (parasites, disease)

- Tolerance Limits: environmental factor levels beyond which a particular species cannot survive or is unable to reproduce

Ecological Niche

Habitat: place or environmental conditions in which a certain species lives

Niche: the role played by a species in a biological community and the total set of environmental factors that determine a species distribution


the number of different species per unit area

Communities of Species

Competition: for resources in limited supply

- Intraspecific: Same species

- Interspecific: Different species

Predation: organisms feed on live prey: Predators, parasites, pathogens

Mimicry: species looking like something they are not

Symbiosis: two or more species live intimately together, with fates linked: Coevolution

Keystone Species: plays a critical role in biological communities that are out of proportion

Food Trends

-Population Increases

-Decreases in chronic food shortages

-⅛ suffer chronic hunger

-Food Security: the ability to obtain sufficient, healthy food on a day to day basis DroughtsFloodsInsect Outbreaks

-Uneven distribution in families


Famines: large scale food shortages

- Armed Conflicts

-Political Oppression


Malnourishment: nutritional imbalances caused by a lack of specific nutrients

Deficiencies in Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Iodine

Overeating → Obesity Heart attack, stroke, diabetes

Green Revolution

Green Revolution → High yield varieties: Use of fertilizers, irrigation, pesticides

Genetic engineering: splicing a gene from one organism into the chromosome of another to increase the quantity and quality of food supply

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO): creation of new organisms 60% of all processed foods Pesticide tolerance


- A living ecosystem

-Components: Sand and gravel

Silts and clays

Dead organic matter

Soil fauna and flora



- 11% of land used for agricultural production

Agricultural Inputs





Sustainable Farming Methods

Contour Plowing

Strip Farming



Small Scale

Low input


Biodiversity: the variety of living things in an environment

Aquatic Biomes

Aquatic Biomes

Terrestrial Biomes

Terrestrial Biomes

Locations of Biomes

Tropical Moist Forests

Tropical Seasonal Forests

Tropical Savannas and Grasslands


Temperate Grasslands

Temperate Scrublands

Temperate Forests

Boreal Forests Tundra

Open Ocean

Tidal Shores