Chapter #1; Glossary Terms

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  1. Ecosystem
    -An ecosystem consists of all the interacting parts of a biological community and that community's environment.

    • Examples: Dessert ecosystem: All organisms designed to survive with very little water {e.g. cacti, various types of snakes and lizards, and roadrunners}
    • Rain forest ecosystem: All organisms designed to survive in shade with enough water. {e.g. Various birds such as the toucan, parrot, or cockatoo, also spider monkeys, and frogs like the poison arrow frog}
  2. Sustainable ecosystem
    • -A sustainable ecosystem is one that is capable of withstanding pressure and giving support to a variety of organisms
    • Example: A lake where the number of fish that survive each year are more than the ones that are killed/eaten that year, meaning more fish survive.
  3. Biotic
    -All the living or recently living parts of an ecosystem
  4. Abiotic
    -The non-living parts of an ecosystem.

    The abiotic components are require for the organism in an ecosystem to survive
  5. Lithosphere
    -The hard part of Earth's surface.

    It includes rock and soil
  6. Hydrosphere
    -The liquid part of Earth's surface.

    It includes salt water oceans, freshwater lakes and rivers. 
  7. Atmosphere
    -The layer of gases above the earth's surface.

    It includes air
  8. Biosphere
    -The living part of earth's surface: not separate from other abiotic spheres

    It includes life, soil, water, and air
  9. Nutrients
    -Nutrients are chemicals that are needed by living organisms to survive

    Nutrients are cycled through earth's spheres and the cycle includes water, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous

    Nutrients cycles: 

    • Water cycle: the cycle by which water circulates between the earth's oceans, atmosphere, and land, as the sun's rays evaporates large amounts from oceans and other bodies of water. It involves precipitation as rain and snow, and also evaporation and transpiration. 
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    • Carbon cycle: Carbon moves between the atmosphere and biosphere as carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide moves back  into the atmosphere when organisms die and their bodies decompose. Carbon dioxide enters the lithosphere when the remains of an organism are trapped underground and after millions of years are converted into fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is returned to the atmosphere when humans burn fossil fuels 
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    • Nitrogen cycle: Nitrogen is converted to a useable form in the process of nitrogen fixation. This converts nitrogen {N2} into nitrate {NO3-} and ammonium {NH4+}, by soil, bacteria and cyanobacteria.
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    • Phosphorous cycle: Phosphorous is stored in the lithosphere as a part of rocks, and in sediment on the ocean floor. The rocks are broken down into smaller pieces through the weathering and released soil. The phosphorate continues to move through the biosphere as animals eat plants and other animals 
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  10. Eutrophication
    -Eutrophication is the process of adding nitrogen or phosphorus to an ecosystem, that pushes beyond the normal nutrient cycle and beyond sustainability
  11. Photosynthesis
    -Photosynthesis is the conversion of solar energy to chemical energy, to be used as 'food'

    • Word equation:                (in the presence of light)
    • Carbon dioxide + water  --------------------------> glucose + oxygen
    •                                        (chlorophyll is needed)

    • Chemical equation: 
    • 6CO2 + 6H2O --> C6H12O6 + 6O2
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  12. Trophic levels
    -Trophic levels are categories of organisms defined by how the organisms gain energy 

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  13. Biomass
    -Biomass is the total mass of living organisms in a defined group or area 
  14. Trophic Efficiency
    -A measure of the amount of energy or biomass transferred from one trophic level to the next higher trophic level.

    • *The percentage is always less than 100% because organisms use most of their energy for like functions {~10% passed on}
    • *Biomass also decreases because not all of the lower organism is eaten, not everything is digested, and energy is lost as heat. 
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    This loss in energy is why there is usually less carnivores than herbivores, and fewer herbivores than plants, since the higher trophic levels need to consume multiple organisms to get enough energy. 
  15. Bioaccumulation
    -Bioaccumulation is a process in which materials, especially toxins, are ingested by an organism at a rate greater than they are eliminated. 

    *Bioaccumulation of toxins from human-made pollution can be destructive to species {e.g. DDT, PCB'S}
  16. Biomagnification 
    -The increase in the concentration of a toxin as it moves from trophic level to the next.
  17. Cellular Respiration
    • -Organisms such as plants, animals fungi and others us the most efficient  method for extracting energy from glucose.
    • Cellular respiration consumes oxygen and produces carbon dioxide.

    • General equation: 
    • glucose + oxygen -------> carbon dioxide + water

    • Chemical Equation: 
    • CH12O6 + 6O2 ------->6O2 +6H2O + energy
  18. Fermentation
    -The process that releases energy from organic molecules, especially carbohydrates.

    Fermentation occurs when oxygen is absent, or under anaerobic conditions.
  19. Greenhouse Gases
    -Greenhouse gases provide a natural insulating effect that results in Earth having a temperature that is capable of sustaining diverse life.

    These gases include water vapor, methane and carbon dioxide. But humans burning fossil fuels has resulted in an enhanced greenhouse effect.
  20. Greenhouse Effect
    -Burning fossil fuels has caused this enhanced greenhouse effect. Fossil fuels, like coal & petroleum, were formed from biomass that was created from photosynthesis millions of years ago. A large amount of energy stored in these fossil fuels is being released rapidly by humans, resulting in an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, and other gases, which is the cause of global warming.
  21. Acid Precipitation
    Fossil fuels burning release nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, which when combined with water in the atmosphere create nitric acid and sulfuric acid. These acids lower the normal pH of precipitation, eventually descending as acid precipitation in the form of rain, sleet and snow.
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Chapter #1; Glossary Terms
2012-09-27 00:12:15

Chapter #1; Glossary Terms
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