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ES 101 Final Study Notes.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Environmental Studies
Rob Milne

1 ES 101 Final Study Notes Environmental Issues:  Air Pollution o Global Climate Change, Stratospheric Ozone Depletion, Urban Air Pollution, Acid Deposition, Outdoor/Indoor Pollutants, Noise  Water Pollution o Sediment, Nutrient Overload, Toxic chemicals, Infectious agents, Oxygen depletion, Pesticides, Oil spills, Excess heat  Biodiversity o Habitat destruction, Habitat degradation, Extinction  Food Supply o Overgrazing, Farmland/Wetlands loss and degradation, Overfishing, Coastal pollution, Soil erosion/salinization/waterlogging, Water shortages, Groundwater depletion, Loss of biodiversity, Poor Nutrition  Waste Production o Solid Waste, Hazardous Waste Environmental Terms:  Environment – All external conditions and factors, living and nonliving, that affect an organism or other specified system during its lifetime.  Ecology – Study of the interactions of living organisms with one another and with their nonliving environment of matter and energy; study of the structure and functions of nature.  Environmental Studies – is the academic field in which systematically studies human interaction with the environment. It is a broad interdisciplinary field of study that includes the natural environment, built environment, and the sets of relationships between them.  Environmental Science – An interdisciplinary study that uses information from the physical sciences and social sciences tolerant of how the earth works, how we interact with the earth, and how to deal with environmental problems.  Environmentalism – A social movement dedicated to protecting the Earth’s life support systems for us and other species.  Natural Capital – What we need to sustain ourselves e.g. Sun (solar energy/capital), Air (atmosphere), water (hydrosphere), land (lithosphere), animals and plants (biosphere). Environmental Goods = Natural Capital Environmental Services :  Supporting Services: Necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services o Primary Production/Plant Growth, Production of Oxygen, Soil formation 2  Provisioning: Products people obtain from ecosystems o Food, Fuel, Fiber, Fresh Water, Genetic Resources  Regulating: Benefits people obtain from the regulation of ecosystem processes o Air quality maintenance, climate regulation, erosion control, regulation of human diseases, water purification  Cultural: Nonmaterial benefits people obtain from ecosystems o Spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, good experiences Resources: are goods and services from the environment to meet our needs  Food, water, shelter, goods, transport, communication, recreation Types of resources:  Perpetual – Renewed continuously o Sun, Wind, Tides  Renewable – Replenished fairly rapidly o Forests, animals, water, soil, air  Non-Renewable – Use exceeds replacement rate – slow rate o Fossil fuels, metallic and non-metallic minerals Tragedy of the Commons:  Overuse of common property or free-access resources (clean air, ocean, wildlife, gases, space)  In harmony if entire use meets basic needs  Balance upset if one member uses more than for basic needs  Everyone uses more, because one person has upset balance = collapse of system Sustainability: An environmentally sustainable society meets the basic resource needs of its people indefinitely without degrading or depleting the natural capital that supplies these resources. Economic Growth: Increase in the capacity to provide goods and services – through the production and/or consumption Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Market value of all goods and services – can be measure of standard of living. Economic Development: Improvement of living standards by economic growth. Second Semester (90%) Evolutionary Processes: Theory of Evolution – Charles Darwin  Widely accepted scientific idea that all life forms developed from earlier life forms. Although this theory conflicts with the creation stories of many 3 religions, it is the way biologists explain how life has changed over the past 3.6-3.8 billion years and is why it is so diverse today. Processes:  Gene Pool – The sum total of all genes found in the individuals of the population of a particular species.  Alleles – Slightly different molecular form found in a particular gene.  Mutations – A random change in DNA molecules making up genes that can yield changes in anatomy, physiology, or behavior in offspring. o Responsible for genetic variability in populations o Random unpredictable changes in DNA o Occasionally (not always) beneficial  Natural Selection – Process by which a particular beneficial gene (or set) is reproduced in succeeding generations more than other genes. The result of natural selection is a population that contains a greater proportion of organisms better adapted to certain environmental conditions. o Limited resources/environmental conditions exert pressure on organisms o Small, random mutations occur in every population creating genetic diversity o Natural selection creates organisms with characteristics that enhance survival/reproduction  Adaptive Trait – (adaptation) Any genetically controlled structural, physiological, or behavioural characteristic that helps an organism survive and reproduce under a given set of environmental conditions. It usually results in beneficial mutation o Better competitors survive and reproduce more successfully (fitness) o Because environment changes, characteristics of fit also change  Coevolution – Evolution in which two or more species interact and exert selective pressures on each other that can lead each species to undergo various adaptations. o Concurrent evolution o Out-compete each other o Get the upper hand o Garter Snake/Rough Skinned newt (Resistance to poison/poison levels increase)  Divergent Evolution – New species, with differing characteristics, can evolve from a common ancestor in response to different ecological opportunities and selective pressures. o Single species into variety of similar species o Specialized niches o Finches – different beaks for different food/environmental availability  Convergent Evolution – Species from completely different lineages (ancestry’s) such as fish and porpoises, can come to resemble one another as a result of adapting to similar ecological requirements, such as living in water. 4 o Distantly related groups of organisms o Develop similarities because of similar environments What drives evolution…  Adaptive Trait  Adaptation o Species acquire traits to allow survival in their environments  Limited range of physiological modifications  Gradual and incremental  Speciation – Formation of two species from one species because of divergent natural selection in response to changes in environmental conditions; usually takes thousands of years o Two species from one o Each suited to specific environmental conditions o E.g. Small/Largemouth Bass – Large mouth feed on larger organisms near shores/small mouth feed on smaller fish & plankton  Types of Speciation o Allopatric – occurs in 2 phases  Geographic Isolation – Result of migration, physical barriers, glaciation, sea level change  Reproductive Isolation – Mutation/Natural selection due to geographic isolation creates divergence in genetic makeup. Divergence so big , organisms cannot reproduce with original species. o Sympatric  Less common  Creation of species when groups of close knit population can no longer breed due to mutation or behavioural changes  Happens in insects when 2 populations have different mutations by feeding on different plants. Types of extinction:  Background Extinction o Disappearance at a low rate o 1-5 species extinct for each million of species  Mass Extinctions o Catastrophic, widespread/global o 20-75% loss Evolution, Speciation & Biodiversity: Factors that increase diversity: Factors that decrease diversity:  Physically diverse habitat  Environmental stress (asteroid)  Moderate disturbance (fire  Extreme environments (e.g. flooding) Arctic)  Small variation in environmental  Limits on key resources (e.g. conditions (temperature, water) 5 precipitation)  Extreme disturbance  Middle stages of succession  Exotic species  Geographic isolation Artificial Selection – Process by which humans select one or more desirable genetic traits in the population of a plant or animal species and then use selective breeding to produce populations containing many individuals with desired traits.  Selective Breeding  Domesticated breeds/hybrids  E.g. Dogs  Traditional cross breeding slow process Genetic Engineering – Insertion of an alien gene into an organism to give it a beneficial trait  Isolating, modifying, recombining genes from different organisms  Species normally cannot interbreed  GMO – Genetically Modified Organisms  Quicker process than cross-breeding o Modify crop plants o Drugs o Pest-Resistant Plants o Oil spills – bioremediation GMO – Pro’s/Con’s: Pro’s Con’s  Low cholesterol egg  Unpredictable  Tomatoes cure cancer  Cannot determine exact changes  Oral vaccines in potatoes  Success rate of 1%  Cows produce insulin Environmental Community response to Change: Succession  Environmental change (disturbance) creates changes in species, populations and ecological communities  Gradual change is “ecological succession”  Disturbance – a change in environmental condition o Natural o Human Created  Primary Succession o An ecological community begins to develop on a site previously unoccupied by living organisms  Pioneer species  Secondary Succession o An existing community is disrupted (old growth forest) and a new community (shrubs, weedy species) subsequently develops 6 Outcome of Succession:  Development of an ecological community that resists further change o E.g. Maple-beech in S Ontario  Succession is not linear – multiple pathways  Ecological communities don’t necessarily return to the same “state” o Nature is not in balance Succession – Stability and Resilience:  Living systems are ‘stable’ but continuously changing o There is no equilibrium to go back to o Multiple ‘stable’ states  Stability maintained by feedbacks (positive, negative) o Greater complexity (species, feedbacks) can mean greater stability – but not always.  Goal: Resilience in ecological communities, not stability Modifying Habitats and Species Interactions  Habitat o Environment in which a particular organism lives  Ecological Niche o Role played by a species in ecosystem, or its “lifestyle” o E.g. Bats eat mosquitoes  Consider population and habitat and niche Species Characteristics r-Selected K-selected  Small size and offspring  Large size and offspring  Early maturity  Slow maturity  Low survivorship  Investment in survival Species Types:  Native o Species naturally associated with particular ecosystem  Indicator o Early warning signs of environmental change  Keystone o Species whose importance is crucial to ecosystem o E.g. Castor Canadensis (Beaver) build damns regulate water flow, species integration etc…  Non-Native (Alien, Invasive) o Introduced species, often with detrimental effects o Impacts on Habitat modification, niche structure, food webs o Deliberate and accidental o Great lake Invasives  Since 1800 136 species, 1/3 of that in last 40 years and dominate aquatic community w/ biomass numbers 7  Common carp, lamprey, Eurasian milfoil, purple loosestrife, zebra mussel Species Interactions: Competition: Symbiosis:  For shared, scarce resources  Mutually beneficial relationship  Responses: between two organisms o Resource partitioning o Enhances survival (dividing) – creating an prospects ecological niche o Symbiosis and importance o Dispersal (distributing of a ‘systems’ view over wide area) o E.g. clown fish live in sea o Territoriality and habitat anemones because they defense sting enemies (FINDING NEMO) Predation:  Any organism that feeds directly Parasitism: on another living organism is  One species feeds on part of termed a predator. another organism o Predation can exert  Implications for biodiversity selective pressures o Limits on success of a o Predation may increase species biological diversity (e.g. o Opportunity for other grasslands) species Biomes:  Broad categories of ecosystems o Similar vegetation and wildlife  Main categories o Desert o Grassland and Tundra o Forest o Mountain Biome Distribution:  Deserts o Subtropics – low moisture  Forests o Mid-latitudes, equator – higher moisture o East coast  Tundra o Polar regions o Low moisture, low temperature  Grasslands o Temperate – low moisture, interiors  Mountains o High elevation – rapid temperature change, variable precipitation 8 o Plate boundaries Deserts:  Evaporation > Precipitation  Tropical o Hottest temperatures o Driest climates  Temperate o More fluctuation in temperatures o More precipitation  Cold o Temperature extremes Desert Plants Adaptations: Desert Animals:  Small leaves  Avoid heat  Deep roots and o Hibernate/shade shallow roots – in case  Dissipate (scatter/disperse) of little rain Heat  Store biomass in o Evaporate from mouth, seeds large ears, dark colours  Low growing  Retain Water  Wax on leaves o Burrowing, food  Store water in leaves sources, solid wastes  Hair on leaves  Acquire Water o Plants (cacti), recycle o Reduce evaporation water, retain moisture o Reflect from air sunlight Human Impacts o Inhibit air  Slow recovery time – poor circulation resilience  Efficient  Slow plant growth photosynthesis  Low species diversity o Only open  Slow nutrient cycling – little stomata at bacterial activity night  Lack of water o Fewer stomata Grassland, Tundra: o Transition – desert and forest o Annual precipitation suitable grasses o Seasonal drought o Grazing by large herbivores o Occasional fires o Tropical o Temperate o Tundra or Polar 9 Tropical Savanna: o Warm temperatures o Large herds of hoofed animals o Two-drought seasons o Resource partitioning o Wetter rest of year Temperate Grassland:  Large plains of North and South America  Hot summers, cold winters  Uneven, sparse precipitation  Rich organic layers, fertile soil Tundra – Polar Grasslands:  Treeless plains  Permafrost – perennially frozen  Extreme cold, ice snow layer of soil  Mainly snow, little precipitation  Animals – burrow, thick coats of  Most growth in 6-8 weeks fur/feathers  Decomposition slow  Low decomposer populations  Soil is poor – organic matter and nutrients Impacts on Grasslands:  Tropical o Removal of grazers – cattle o Desertification  Temperate o Removal of grazers, fire, convert to pasture o Soil erosion – dust bowl  Tundra o Soil Disturbance o Resource development – oil and gas Forests:  Moderate to high precipitation  Levels of trees and lower vegetation  Tropical  Temperate deciduous (shed leaves annually)  Evergreen Conifferous (needles year round) Tropical Rainforest:  Equatorial  Dense canopy’s  Hot, moisture-laden (heavily  Epiphytes, vines loaded) air  2% land surface, half biodiversity  Daily Rainfall  Little litter, rapid decomposition  Broadleaf evergreen plants  Shallow roots, wide bases 10 Temperate Forests:  Warm summers, moderate-cold winters  Abundant precipitation, even distrib
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