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Environmental Science Weel 456.docx

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Sociology 2152A/B
William Marshall

Environmental Science (Week 4, 5, 6) • Biosphere = refers to the total area on Earth where living things are found – the sum total of all its ecosystem • Ecosystem = all of the organisms in a given area plus the physical environment in which, and with which, they interact • All ecosystems function through 2 fundamental processes that are collectively referred to as ecosystem processes o Nutrient cycles = biogeochemical cycles that refer specifically to the movement of life’s essential chemicals or nutrients through an ecosystem o Energy flow = the one way passage of energy through an ecosystem • Earth is materially closed but energetically open = the plants and other organic material that make up an ecosystem (biomass) cannot enter or leave the system but energy can = some leaves or heat or light and new energy is absorbed from the outside • Biomes = are specific portions of the biosphere determined by climate and identified by the predominant vegetation and organisms adapted to live there o Can be divided into 3 categories = 1) Marine, 2) Freshwater, 3) Terrestrial • Nutrients such as carbon cycle through ecosystems o On earth, nutrients cycle through both biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem, stored in reservoirs = Abiotic or biotic components of the environment that serve as storage places for cycling nutrients for various amount of time = resident time o Biotic = the living (organic) components of an ecosystem, such as plants and animals and their waste (dead leaves, feces) o Abiotic = the nonliving components of an ecosystem, such as rainfall and mineral composition of the soil o Producers = An organism that converts solar energy to chemical energy via photosynthesis (e.g. plants producing sugar from Carbon)  This sugar molecule represents stored chemical energy that the producer can use o Consumer = an organism that obtains energy and nutrients by feeding on another organism (e.g eating plants)  Via a process called cellular respiration  Cellular Respiration = The process in which all organisms break down sugar to release its energy, using oxygen and giving off CO2 as a waste product (e.g humans breathing) • Population = all the individuals of a species that live in the same geographic area and are able to interact and interbreed = frequently fluctuates in size and distribution • Population Dynamics = the changes over time of population size and composition • Every population has a minimum viable population o Min. viable population = the smallest number of individuals that would still allow population to be able to persist or grow, ensuring long term survival • Environmental Impact Assessment = An evaluation of the positive and negative impacts of a proposed environmental action, including alternative actions that could be pursued • Population density is an important factor = too low, can’t find mate (inbreeding), too high = increase competition, fighting • Population Distribution = The location and spacing of individuals within their range o 3 types of distribution  1) Clumped Distribution = individuals are found in groups or patches withi
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