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GEOG 1220 Study Guide - Final Guide: Photic Zone, Keystone Species, Soot

Course Code
GEOG 1220
Lorne Bennett
Study Guide

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Unit #1
Chapter 1
Our environment consists of biotic components (living things) & abiotic components (non-living things)
The definition of environment must include its legal, social, economic, and scientific aspects
Environment Canada: to preserve and enhance the quality of Canada’s natural environment, conserve our renewable resources, and
protect our water resources.
Internal relations, politics, ethics, business management, economics, social equity, engineering, law enforcement all play a role in
protecting the environment
Interactions Between Human & The Biological World
Environmental Geography: The study of the interrelationships between human and biophysical systems of a variety of temporal scales
Natural Resources Are Vital to Survival
Renewable Natural Resources
(Renewable resources are sometimes called flow resources)
Wind energy
Agricultural crops
Nonrenewable Natural Resources
(Nonrenewable resources are sometimes called stock resources)
Crude Oil
Natural Gas
Copper, Aluminum and other Metals
Resource Management: Decision making and planning aimed at balancing the use of a resource with its protection and preservation
(Balance the rate of withdrawal from the stock with the rate of renewal or regeneration)
Resource Consumption Exerts Social & Environmental Impacts
I = Impact on the Environment
P = People
A = Affluence (abundance of goods)
T = Technology
I = P x A x T
Carrying Capacity: is a measure of the ability of a system to support life. The number of individuals that can be sustained by the
biological productivity of a given area of land
Tragedy of the Commons: Each individual withdrawals whatever benefits available from the common property as quickly as possible
until the resource becomes depleted.
Ecological Footprint: (inverse of carrying capacity) Expresses the environmental impact of an individual or population. Is calculated in
terms of the area of land and water required to provide the raw materials to the population and to absorb or recycle the wastes produced.
Bio-capacity: The capacity of a terrestrial or aquatic system to be biologically productive and to absorb waste, especially carbon dioxide
(we use 39% more resources than are sustainable)
The Nature of Environmental Geography
Geography is an Interdisciplinary Field: employs concepts and techniques from numerous disciplines and brings research results from
the disciplines together
Environmentalism: A social movement dedicated to protecting the natural world, and by extension humans from undesirable changes
brought about by human choices

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Science: A systematic process for learning about the world and testing our understanding of it
Scientific Method (Figure 1.6 on pg. 15): A technique for resting ideas with observations, it involves several assumptions and a series of
interrelated steps.
It relies on the following assumptions:
The universe functions in accordance with fixed natural laws that do not change from time to time or from place to place
All events arise from some cause and, in turn, lead to other events
We can use our senses and reasoning abilities to detect and describe natural laws that underlie the cause-and-effect relationships
we observe in nature
Scientific Method Steps:
1. Make observations
2. Ask Questions
3. Develop a hypothesis (an educated guess that explains a phenomenon or answers a scientific question)
4. Make predictions (scientific statements that can be directly and clearly tested
5. Test the predictions
6. Analyze and interpret results
Independent Variable: The variable the scientist manipulated
Dependent Variable: The variable that depends on the independent
Controlled Experiment: Scientists control for all variables except for the one being tested
Casual Relationships: changes in the independent cause changes in the dependent
Manipulative Experiment: When a researcher actively chooses and manipulates the independent variable
Natural Experiments: are observational studies and are not controlled in the traditional sense
The scientific process does not end with the scientific method
Peer Review
Conference Presentations
Grants and Funding
Sustainability & The Future of Our World
Scientists have firmly concluded that human activity is altering the composition of the atmosphere and that these changes are affecting the
earth’s climate
Today’s Biodiversity: The Cumulative number and diversity of living things is declining dramatically
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems dramatically to do high levels of consumption. This has resulted in a
irreversible loss of the diversity of life on earth
Changes to ecosystems have caused an increase in human well being at the cost of the degradation of ecosystems and the services
they provide for us. And the exacerbation of poverty for some people
This degradation could grow significantly worse during the first half of this century
The challenge of reversing degradation of ecosystems while meeting increasing demands for their services can be partially
overcome, but doing so will involve significantly changing many policies, institutions and practices
Sustainable Development: The use of renewable and nonrenewable resources in a manner that satisfies our current needs without
compromising their future availability
Chapter 2, pg. 33-40
Earth’s Environmental Systems

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Systems: A network of relationships among parts, elements, or components that interact with and influence one another through the
exchange of energy, matter or information
Open Systems: receive inputs of both energy and matter and produce outputs of both
Closed Systems: receive inputs and produce outputs of energy, but not matter. Matter exists within the system but does not enter or leave
Feedback loop: When a systems output can serve as input to that same system
Negative Feedback Loop: output that results from a system moving in one direction acts as input that moves the system in the other
direction, therefore stabilizing the system (i.e. thermostat regulating heat in a house)
Positive Feedback Loop: Rather then stabilizing the system they drive it further toward one extreme or another (i.e. erosion)
When processes within the system move in opposing directions at equivalent rates so that their effects balance out the process is
said to be in a state of dynamic equilibrium
Dynamic: even though the system is in balance, it is an ever-changing, ever-adjusting balance, not static or unchanging
Homeostasis: the tendency of a system to maintain constant or stable internal conditions.
Resistance: refers to the strength of the system’s tendency to remain constant; that is to resist disturbance
Resilience: A measure of how readily the system will return to its original state once it has been disturbed
Homeostatic systems are said to be in a stable or steady state
Emergent properties: characteristics not evident in the components alone
Complex systems often have multiple sub systems: determining where one system ends and another begins can often be difficult (i.e.
computer, tree, St. Lawrence River)
Environmental Systems May be perceived in Various Ways
Geosphere: The rock and sediment beneath our feet, in the planets uppermost layers
Atmosphere: Is composed of the air surrounding our planet
Hydrosphere: All water on the surface & underground
Cryosphere: The subsystem that consists of the permanently frozen parts of the hydrosphere
Biosphere: All planets living organisms
Anthroposphere: (also known as anthrosphere or technosphere) encompasses the parts of the environment that are built or modified by
human use, including the built environment we live and work in (scientists are arguing this new system)
Ecosystem: consists of all organisms living and nonliving entities that occur and interact in a particular area at the same time
Ecosystem Ecology: The study of energy and nutrient flows among living and nonliving components of systems
Energy is converted to Biomass
Biomass: Organic materials of which living organisms are formed. (Is the result of photosynthesis to capture the suns energy to produce
Gross Primary Production (GPP): the conversion of solar energy to the energy of chemical bonds in sugars by autotrophs. Autotrophs
use a portion of this production to power their own metabolism by respiration.
Net Primary Production (NPP): The energy that remains after respiration, and that is used to generate biomass
Therefore, NPP = GPP – respiration by autotrophs
Heterotrophs: eat plants and use the energy gain from plants for their own metabolism, growth, and reproduction
Secondary Production: Total biomass that Heterotrophs generate by consuming autotrophs
Productivity: The rate at which plants convert energy to biomass
Nutrients: Elements and compounds that organisms consume and require for survival
Micronutrients: elements and compounds required in relatively small amounts
Macronutrients: elements and compounds required in relatively large amounts (nitrogen, carbon)
Chapter 7, pg. 186-190
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