Ecology

Jessica Lynn

Question One

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources and personal resources. To achieve this people find alternative methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet. I feel like I could achieve sustainable live, but not until I'm older. I would need time, money, and resources to change the way I am now.

Question Two

Fossil fuels and renewable energy are basically exact opposites. While fossil fuels will eventually run out, renewable energy will always be available to humans. Burning fossil fuels releases toxins into the air that damages environments. With renewable energy there's almost no waste. To humans, fossil fuels are initially cheaper; however, after the installation fees, renewable energy saves money in the long run.

Ecology

Question Three

What does it mean to recycle? To reuse things that have already served their purpose.

Why should someone recycle? So we don't use up all the earth's resources.

How long does it take for these to decompose?

a. Tin Can- 50 years

b. Glass Bottle- 1,000,000 years

c. Disposable Diaper- 500-800 years

d. Wood-

e. Paper- 1 month

f. Plastic Grocery Bag- 500-1000 years

g. Styrofoam Cup- Never

h. Aluminum Can- 200 years

i. Cotton T-shirt- 30-40 years

j. Apple Core- 2 months

k. Did any of these surprise you? Not really, I knew most of these things took a long time to decompose, but I didn't know the exact number of years.

Question Four

What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

A island of garbage off the coast of California, floating in the ocean. It is more than twice the size of Texas.

What can we do here in Iowa to help decrease it, is it even possible?

We may not be able to reduce it, but we can keep it from getting larger. We can recycle, clean landfills, and promote good disposing habits.


Question Five

Define 2 Biomes of the world, define an ecosystem found in each and explain the Biotic and Abiotic factors involved.


Savanna- A savanna is a rolling grassland scattered with shrubs and isolated trees, which can be found between a tropical rainforest and desert biome. Not enough rain falls on a savanna to support forests. Savannas are also known as tropical grasslands. They are found in a wide band on either side of the equator on the edges of tropical rain forests.

Biotic Factors- lions, leopards, cheetahs, jackals, hyenas, eucalyptus trees, short twisted trees, and many other plants and plant eating animals.

Abiotic Factors- soil, air, water quality


Desert- Deserts cover about one fifth of the Earth's surface and occur where rainfall is less than 50 cm/year. Although most deserts, such as the Sahara of North Africa and the deserts of the southwestern U.S., Mexico, and Australia, occur at low latitudes, another kind of desert, cold deserts, occur in the basin and range area of Utah and Nevada and in parts of western Asia. Most deserts have a considerable amount of specialized vegetation, as well as specialized vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Soils often have abundant nutrients because they need only water to become very productive and have little or no organic matter. Disturbances are common in the form of occasional fires or cold weather, and sudden, infrequent, but intense rains that cause flooding.

Biotic Factors- grasses, cacti, Yucca plants, prickly pears, turpentine bush etc., desert cottontail, rattlesnake, insects, lizards, rodents, spiders, scorpions, hawk, foxes

Abiotic Factors- rain, temperature, Ph levels, sunlight

Question Six

Choose any Biome; Tropical Rainforest

create a food chain defining the

primary producer- trees

primary consumer- small mammals, monkeys, parrots

secondary consumer- reptiles and amphibians

tertiary consumer- larger reptiles (anacondas), large birds

quaternary consumer- Jaguars

herbivore- mice

omnivore- bats

carnivore- python

scavenger- the giant millipede

decomposer- fungi, mushrooms

Question Seven

What are Dead Zones in the Gulf of Mexico?

Hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world's oceans and large lakes.

What causes this situation?

Excessive nutrient pollution from human activities. Such as fertilizer runoff, which instead of contributing to more corn or wheat, feeds massive algae blooms in the coastal oceans. This algae, in turn, dies and sinks to the bottom where it is consumed by microbes, which consume oxygen in the process.

What can be done to help stop them?

Farmers can reduce the overall amount of nitrogen required by employing new biotechnologies.

Question Eight

Define Keystone Species- species on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend. One a top predator-Jaguar's wide dietary variety keeps many populations under control

One not a top predator- Sea Otter- If the otters didn't eat the urchins, the urchins would eat up the habitat's kelp. Kelp, or giant seaweed, is a major source of food and shelter for the ecosystem.

Question Nine

Competitive Exclusion- a proposition that states that two species competing for the same resource cannot coexist at constant population values.

The Red Squirrel is native to Britain but its population has declined due to competitive exclusion, disease and the disappearance of hazel coppices and mature conifer forests in lowland Britain.While the Grey Squirrel was introduced to Britain in about 30 sites between 1876 and 1929. It has easily adapted to parks and gardens replacing the red squirrel.



Question Ten

a. Coexistence- living and existing in the same place or area

b. Parasites- an organism that lives in or on another organism and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense.

c. Mimicry- the close external resemblance of an animal or plant (or part of one) to another animal, plant, or inanimate object.

d. Mutualism- symbiosis that is beneficial to both organisms involved.
e. Commensalism- an association between two organisms in which one benefits and the other derives neither benefit nor harm.

Question Eleven

Explain the Carbon Cycle and how do humans affect this cycle? The carbon cycle is all the "stops" carbon is used at and how it moves from one place to another. Humans play a big part in the carbon cycle. From burning fossil fuels to being decomposed humans affect carbon in many ways.


Question Twelve

What is global dimming? The decrease in the amounts of solar radiation reaching the surface of the Earth.

Where does it usually affect and why is it a problem? The middle east and the former Soviet Union is affected greatly by global dimming. Scientists think global dimming affects the overall rainfall on earth. There are suggestions that dimming was behind the droughts in sub-Saharan Africa which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the 1970s and 1980s.

Question Thirteen

Explain the Greenhouse Effect. the trapping of the sun's warmth in a planet's lower atmosphere due to the greater transparency of the atmosphere to visible radiation from the sun than to infrared radiation emitted from the planet's surface.

How do the carbon cycle and the greenhouse effect go together? When fossil fuels are burned for energy (combustion), carbon is released. Carbon compounds move through plants and animals, the air, the ocean, and the earth. Carbon present in the air as carbon dioxide contributes to the greenhouse effect and related global warming.

Question Fourteen

Define endangered species and give an example. Endangered species are animals whose population is very low, making the animal rare and near extinction.

How does a species become endangered? Anything can cause endangerment, from human causes (pollution, poaching), to a food source dying out.

What if this species was a keystone species? What would happen to the current ecosystem? The populations of other species in the ecosystem would be greatly affected. If the keystone species was a predator the other animals would become over populated. But if the endangered species is a food source, predators would have less food to support large populations.

Why should humans care about the endangered species? Because humans are part of the ecosystem and are equally affected by the extinction of a species.


Question Fifteen

Invasive Species- plants, animals, or pathogens that are non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm.

Invasive species can affect the amount of food sources, water sources, and take up large areas of land, affecting the populations of other species.

How did the invasive species arrive to their new ecosystem? Ships can carry aquatic organisms in their ballast water. Insects can get into wood, shipping palettes and crates that are shipped around the world. Some ornamental plants can escape into the wild and become invasive. Some invasive species are intentionally or accidentally released pets. Burmese pythons are becoming a big problem in the Everglades.

Question Sixteen

At one time rainforest covered 14% of the Earth’s land surface; today rainforest only cover 6% today; why should a person care about the lost rainforest ground? Because the rain forests are habitats to many species, some of which humans rely on.

Why are the rainforest being cut down? The make room for farming and places for people to live.

What would happen if they all disappeared? The oxygen level on earth would drop because most of the plants that produce oxygen are in the rain forests. There would be less food grown each year because many of our foods like coffee beans and bananas are grown in rain forests.

Doctors have found cures to many diseases from the rain forests. Many plant species would be lost because more than 75% of the species on earth live in the rain forests. Many animal species would go extinct because they would lose their habitats.

Question Seventeen

Why is human overpopulation a major concern? Overpopulation causes a depletion of resources, destruction of the environment, conflicts, wars, unemployment, and diseases. Explain all the resources needed for a human to sustain life. Humans need space, food, sunlight, oxygen, and water to survive.

Question Eighteen

Pesticides- the only toxic substances released intentionally into our environment to kill living things. This includes substances that kill weeds (herbicides), insects (insecticides), fungus (fungicides), rodents (rodenticides), and others. Pesticides can contaminate soil, water, turf, and other vegetation. In addition to killing insects or weeds, pesticides can be toxic to a host of other organisms including birds, fish, beneficial insects, and non-target plants. It has been shown that sustained chemical exposure promotes the evolution of resistant genotypes. Some chemicals can affect DNA integrity directly, leading to heritable changes.

Question Nineteen

“If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have 4 years left to live.” Maurice Maeterlinck


If bees were to become extinct, many of the world's plants wouldn't be pollinated. Crops would die, food shortages would shake the Earth, and millions would die of starvation.

Question Twenty

I'd like to think humans will change their ways and conserve what little of the earth we have left; however, it seems more likely humanity will continue on the track of destruction and selfishness. With more and more populations becoming endangered and extinct I feel as though the world will be a barren waste land by the year 2070. The air will be dirty, forests will be depleted, natural resources will be gone, and humanity will be left to wallow in the mass destruction our ancestors left.