Environmental Systems Brooke Michael

  • Define an environmental system
  • An environmental system is defined as a set of interacting components which exchange energy and matter so that a change in one part of the system may have an unexpected effect on other part(s) of the system. Example: Mono Lake, Earth.
  • Describe how systems vary in size
  • Systems can occur in any scale like in a cell or in the entire ocean. A large system may contain many smaller systems within. Example: Earth is a large system that contains smaller systems within, like human population growth and climate change.
  • Identify smaller systems within a larger system
  • The largest systems in the Mono Lake ecosystem are water flow, and salt deposits. Some of the smaller systems in the Mono Lake ecosystem are birds, brine shrimp, and algae. This is from the case study which is located in the textbook on page 31.
  • Explain components and states of matter
  • There are five states of matter known: solids, liquids, gases, and plasma. Solids particles have a definite shape and volume. Liquids do not have a definite form but they do have a definite volume. Gases have no definite volume or shape. Plasma is super heated gas that can conduct electricity.
  • Define the constituents of matter
  • Matter is anything that occupies space and has mass. All matter is composed of atoms, which can not be broken down into smaller pieces and are the smallest particle that can contain the chemical properties of an element. An atom is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
  • Differentiate between mass and matter
  • Matter is defined as anything that occupies space and has mass. While mass is defined as a measurement of the amount of matter an object contains. For example if you were to go to the moon your mass would stay the same as it was on Earth because the amount of matter you are made of would be the same.
  • Compare and contrast three different types of chemical bonds
  • There are three different ways chemical bonds are categorized: covalent bonds, ionic bonds, and hydrogen bonds. Covalent bonds are formed when elements share electrons. Ionic bonds are a chemical bond between two ions of opposite charges. Hydrogen bonds are weak chemical bonds that form when hydrogen atoms that are covalently bonded to one atom are attracted to another atom on another molecule.
  • Identify water's unique properties
  • The molecular structure of water gives it many unique properties. These properties are: surface tension, capillary actions, a high boiling point, and the ability to dissolve many different substances (solvent). Water also takes up larger volume in solid form than in liquid form, which is why ice floats. Water is the only common substance to exist in the natural environment in all three physical states which are: solid, liquid, gas. This video goes a little more indepth into waters unique properties https://youtu.be/HVT3Y3_gHGg
  • Indicate how water's unique properties account for life on Earth
  • All organism on earth are made up of mostly water, which is why water is considered the medium of life. The water in organisms protects them from wide temperature change because it takes a lot of energy to change the temperature of water due to its hydrogen bonds. Just think about what would happen if water froze from the bottom up like most liquids do. We would have very few aquatic organisms because they would be unable to survive in temperate and cold climates.
  • Compare and contrast four types of organic compound
  • An organic compound is a compound that contains carbon-carbon and carbon-hydrogen bonds.Carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids can all be defined as organic compounds.
  • Carbohydrates are a compound composed of carbon, hydrogen,and oxygen atoms. Carbohydrates are monosaccharide (simple sugars) and are easily used by plants and animals for quick energy.
  • Proteins are a critical component of living organisms made up of a long chain of nitrogen-containing organic molecules known as amino acids. Proteins aid in structural support, energy storage, internal transport, help rate of chemical reactions, and defend against foreign substances.
  • Nucleic acids are organic compounds found in all living cells. Long chains of nucleic acids form DNA and RNA.
  • Lipids are smaller organic biological molecule that does NOT mix with water. Lipids also form a major part of the membranes that surround cells. Fats, waxes, and steroids are all lipids.
  • Distinguish between the various forms of energy and discuss the first and second law of thermodynamics
  • These are the 5 types of energy that are important in environmental science: potential energy, kinetic energy, light energy, chemical energy, and sound energy. Potential energy is stored energy that has not been released. Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. Light energy is how nature moves energy at an extremely rapid rate. Chemical energy is potential energy stored in chemical bonds. Sound energy is the form of energy associated with the vibration of matter measured in joules (J).
  • Thermodynamics is the branch of physical science that deals with the relations between heat and other forms of energy and by extension
  • Differentiate between power and energy
  • Power is the rate at which work is done while energy is the ability to do work or transfer energy.
  • Compare and contrast potential and kinetic energy
  • Potential energy is energy that is stored but has not been released while kinetic energy is the energy of motion. An example of how they work together is that water impounded behind a dam contains a great deal of potential energy, and the kinetic energy of moving water can be captured at the dam and transferred to a turbine generator which then turns it into electricity.
  • Explain chemical energy
  • Chemical energy is potential energy stored in chemical bonds.
  • Describe the first and second law of thermodynamics
  • The first law of thermodynamics is defined as a physical law which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed but can change from one form to another.
  • The second law of thermodynamics is defined as the physical law stating that when energy is transformed, the quantity of energy remains the same, but its ability to do work diminishes.
  • Describe the ways in which ecological systems depend on energy inputs
  • Individual organisms rely on a continuous input of energy in order to survive, grow, and reproduce. More organisms can live where more energy is available.
  • Describe how living organisms convert one form of energy to another
  • When an organism needs biologically usable energy, it must convert it from an energy source such as the sun or food. For example, potential energy in firewood never goes away but is transformed into heat energy permeating a room when the wood is burned in a fireplace.
  • Explain how energy determines the sustainability of the environment for growing food
  • Many food crops can be planted and grown in temperate climates that have a moderate amount of sunlight. This is because their is enough sunlight for the crops to convert into energy. The closer you get to the north and south pole the more life gets sparse because there is not enough solar energy available to organisms.
  • Explain how scientists keep track of inputs, outputs and changes in complex systems
  • Scientists often conduct system analysis in which they determine inputs, outputs, and changes in the system under various conditions. For example, researchers studying Mono Lake might quantify the inputs to that system-such as water and salts- and the outputs-such as water that evaporates from the lake and brine shrimp removed by migrating birds.
  • Compare and contrast an open system with a closed
  • An open system is a system in which exchanges of matter or energy occur across system boundaries. A closed system is a system in which matter and energy exchanges do not occur across boundaries.
  • Define steady state
  • Steady states are states in which inputs equal outputs, so that the system is not changing over time.
  • Define negative and positive feedback loops
  • Negative feedback loops are feedback loops in which a system responds to a change by returning to its original state, or by decreasing the rate at which the change is occurring. A positive feedback loop is a feedback loop in which change in a system is amplified.
  • Explain how changes in input and output rates affect systems
  • The City of Los Angeles started redirecting water away from Mono Lake which changed the input of water in the lake causing it to begin drying up. Due to the water evaporating and no water coming to replace it, the salinity of the lake rose to a point where the algae died. This in turn caused the brine shrimp to start to die as well. As a result of the low water level, new land bridges were now exposed which allowed coyotes from the dessert to prey on the birds that remained.
  • Describe how natural systems change over time and space
  • Over thousands of years ago, the climates of the Sahara was much wetter than it is today. It supported many Nubian farmers and herders. Little changes in Earth's orbit relative to the sun and other factors, led to the disappearance of monsoon rains in northern Africa. Now a desert about the size of continental United States stands in its place.
  • Cite examples of environmental conditions that vary among ecosystems
  • Variations in temperature, precipitation, or soil composition across a landscape vary among ecosystems.
  • Discuss why its necessary to track changes in ecosystems over space and time
  • It can help scientists learn about what to expect from the alterations humans are making to the world today.

Here is a video that gives an overview of the whole chapter! https://youtu.be/SUoILx__szo

Friedland, Andrew, and Rick Relyea. "Chapter 2." Environmental Science for AP. 2nd ed. W.H. Freeman, 2015. 31-65. Print.


Created with images by A J Cole - "Mono Lake 31" • robynm - "iceberg calm blue" • davebloggs007 - "Seebee Dam Alberta Canada" • stokpic - "hands world map"

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