Environmental Science

biological and physical surroundings in which any given living organism exists
environmental science
And Interdisciplinary field of research that draws on the natural and social sciences and the humanities in order to understand the natural world and our relationship to it
empirical science
a scientific approach that investigates the natural world through systematic observation and experimentation
applied science
researchers who are trying to solve practical problems
environmental literacy
basic understanding of how ecosystems function and of the impact of our choices on the environment
imperfect and sometimes problematic responses that we must at times choose between when addressing complex problems (irrigation for crops, but can cause water shortage)
Triple-bottom line
Environment + Social + Economic Impact of our choices
sustainable development
development that meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same
renewable energy
energy that comes from an infinitely available or easily replenished source
variety of species
Anthropocentric-human centered viewBiocentric-values all lifeEcocentric- values ecosystem
the blanket of gases that surround the earth and other plantes
region of atmosphere that starts from ground and goes up 7 miles
region of atmosphhere that starts at troposphere and extends 31 miles up.
Scientific Method
CorrelationCause and EffectHypothesisPeer ReviewTheory
Independent- manipulatedDependent- stays the same
chemicals taht cause damage to living organism through immediate exposure
synthetic chemicals
more common, dont degrade
natural chemicals
occur in natureEx. Arsenic
Persistent Chemicals
chemicals that don’t readily degrade over time
EPA Environmental protection Agency
fedral agency that is responsible for setting policy and enforcing US laws
Rachel Carsons – Silent Spring
3 concerns around herbicides1- have large effects at small doses2- development are vulnerable3- mixing chemicals can have unexpected impacts
Information Literacy
ability to find and evaluate the quality of info givenPrimary, Secondary and Tertiary sources
scientists who study the causes and patterns of disease
scientists who study the specific properties of toxic substances
Types of Studies done by Toxicologists
In Vitvo- in the bodyIn Vitro- in galss
population growth rate
the change in population size over time that takes into account the number of births and deaths as well as immigration #s
the ablity of an ecosystems living components to produce and recycle resources
Life Expectancy
the # of years an individual is expected to live
Crude death rate
# of deaths per 1000 people per year
Crude birth rate
# of offspring per 1000 people per year
population density
# of people per unit area
movement of poeple into a given population
movement of people out of a given populations
infant mortality rate
number of infants who die in the first year of life per every 1000 live births that year
ecosystem services
benefits that are important to all life, provided by functional ecosystems
ecological footprint
land area needed to provide the resources for and assimilate the waste of people
Natural capital
wealth of resources on earth
Natural interest
readily produced resources that we could use and still leave enough natural capital behind to replace what we took
Impact based on Population, Affluence, and technology(I=PAT) or (I=PA/T)
Internal Costs
costs that is accounted for when a product is priced
External Cost
cost not taken into account when pricing
True cost
internal + external costs
how species interact with other components
total area on earth where living things are found
a portion of the biosphere characterized by a distinct climate and assemlage of plants/animals
organisms in a given area plus the nonliving components of the physical environment
all the populations living and interacting in an area, represent “living” portion of ecosystem
a group of individuals of the same species living and interating in the same region
a group of plants or animals that have a high degree of similarity and can generally interbreeed
the environment in which individuals of a species can be found
the role a species plays in its community, including how it gets its energy and nutrients, its habitat requirements, and what other species and parts of the ecosystem it interacts with
Nutrient Cycling
biochemical cycles that refer specificalls to the movement of lifes essential chemicals
Energy Flow
enters ecosystems as solar radiation and is passed along from organism to organism
Terrestrial Biomes
Forrests (tropical, temperate, boreal)DesertsGrasslands
carbon cycle
biotic- reseviorabiotic- sinksproducersconsumers cellular respiration
Carrying capacity
the limit of how large a population can be sustained by the limiting resources
Community ecology
study of all the populations living in an area
Indicator species
a species that is particularily vulnerable to the ecosystem perturbations, can give us warning of a problem
consumers that eat dead organic material
organisms such as bacteria and fungi that break organic matter all the way down to constituent atoms in a form that plants can take back up
Gross Primary Prodcutivity
a measure of the total amount of energy captured via photosynthesis and transferred to organic molecules in an ecosystem
Food Chain
the sequence of consumption from produces through tertiary consumers.
Trophic levels
Producer- autotrophsConsumer- heterotrophsPrimary Consumer- herbivoresSecondary Consumer- carnivoresTertiary Consumer- carnivores
species intergrations in which one individual feeds on the other
a close relationship between two organisms in which at least one of the ogranism benefits
a relationship where two species benefit each other
a relationship between two organisms of different species where one benefits and the other is neither harmed nor benefited
a relationship between two organisms of different species where one benefits and the other is harmed
changes in communities and species within themEcological- replacemet of plant speciesPrimary- no ecosystem existed beforePioneer- move in early, die and leave seedsSecondary- move in an area that is disturbed
Natural Selection
main mechanism by which populations adapt and evolve
Selective Pressure
a nonrandom influence that affects who survives and reproduces versus dies off
stretches of DNA, the hereditary material of cells that each direct the production of a particular protein
differences in the gene frequencies within a population from one genereation to the next
Genetic diversity
the heritable variation among individuals of a single population(genetic mutation or recombination)
when two species each become the selective pressure that favors certain traits
Founder effect
The situation that occurs when a small group with only a subset of the larger population’s genetic diversity becomes isolated and evolves into a different population, missing some of the traits of the original
Bottleneck Effect
The situation that occurs when population size is drastically reduced, leading to the loss of some genetic variants, and resulting in a less diverse population
r-selected species
have fast generation times which mean they are often one step ahead of efforts to control them (Insects)
K-selected species
longer generation times, take longer to recover if population falls (endangered species)
Intrinsic value
the heritable variation among individuals of a single population or within the species as a whole
Endemic Species
a species that is native to a particular area and is not found elsewhere
Habitat Fragmentation
the destruction of part of an area that creates a patchwork of suitable and unsuitable habitat areas taht may exclude some species
describes a species that is locally extinct in one or more areas but still has individual members elsewhere
What is the most numerous specie
a state of poor health that results from inadequate or unbalanced food intake
green revolution
a coordinated global effort to eliminate hunger by bringing modern agricultural technology to developing countries
cash crops
a crop produced for its commercial value rather than for use by the grower
the process of leveling land into steps on slope, reduces soil erosion and runoff
Contour Farming
farming on a hilly land in rows that are planted along the slope
Reduced tilalge
planting crops in soil that is minimally disturbed and that retains some plant residue
Cover Crop
planted in the off-season to help prevent soil eroision
a form of charcoal that is produced when organic matter is partially burened, improves soil quality.
Carbon Footprints
amount of carbon released to the atmosphere by a person, nation, company or activity.