AP Environmental Science : Habitats and Biomes

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Habitats And Biomes

Which of the following is the most accurate example of a biome?

Possible Answers:

An oasis formed by an above-ground water source in the North African desert

Thinned-out stands in a redwood forest that allow for more shrubs and grasses to grow than in denser stands

In Alaska and Northern Canada, the most northern latitudes that consist mostly of tundra, composed largely of small shrubs, arctic grasses, and lichens

A riparian zone with diverse aquatic vegetation and wildlife that encompasses a watershed

A slash-and-burn site in the tropical rainforest that has been converted to rangeland

Correct answer:

In Alaska and Northern Canada, the most northern latitudes that consist mostly of tundra, composed largely of small shrubs, arctic grasses, and lichens

Explanation:

A biome is a large geographical area that consists of flora and fauna that have adapted to local conditions. The tundra is a geographical region that consists of arctic-adapted plants and animals. The other answers are more examples of ecosystems, specific communities of plants and animals adapted to certain conditions within a biome. Other examples of biomes include (but are not limited to) desert, deciduous forest, savanna and taiga (subarctic forest).

Example Question #2 : Habitats And Biomes

Which major biome could be characterized as having the following characteristics?

  • Has four distinct seasons 
  • Located between  North and  South
  • Dominated by broadleaf trees that lose leaves in the winter
  • Annual precipitation that ranges between  and 
Possible Answers:

Temperate deciduous forest

Taiga

Grassland

Desert

Temperate shrubland

Correct answer:

Temperate deciduous forest

Explanation:

The correct answer is "temperate deciduous forest." Temperate deciduous forests typically get more precipitation than taiga, shrubland, desert, or grassland, and their flora is dominated by broadleaf trees.

Example Question #461 : Ap Environmental Sciences

 

Which of the following adaptations would NOT be typical of a species that inhabits a desert ecosystem?

Possible Answers:

Diluted urine excretions

Ability to store body fat more efficiently

Ability to burrow underground

Nocturnal activity pattern

Dry fecal excretions

Correct answer:

Diluted urine excretions

Explanation:

Many desert species have adapted to an ecosystem with limited water and food availability with concentrated or "dry" bodily excretions, and the ability to effectively store fat. Burrowing is a common trait for desert mammals as a way to contend with the heat. Diluted urine excretions would not be advantageous in a desert ecosystem because the body would be expelling water inefficiently.

Example Question #28 : Global Effects And Dynamics

Corals under stress from high water temperatures and pollution expel their zooxanthellae in a process called __________.

Possible Answers:

shelf slope break

coral bleaching

algal blooming

upwelling

Correct answer:

coral bleaching

Explanation:

When corals eject their intracellular symbiotic organisms, their color is lost along with the zooxanthellae's photosynthetic ability. This leads to the death of the coral. Algal blooms simply involve the rapid growth of algae over a short period of time. Upwelling involves the process by which deep, nutrient-rich water rises up and gets mixed with the water higher in the ground.

Example Question #3 : Habitats And Biomes

Eric's home is located northward of the 60o latitude. The landscape surrounding his home contains dwarf shrubs, spongy and wet ground-cover, permafrost, and no trees. Which biome does Eric live in?

Possible Answers:

Tundra

Woodland

Boreal Forest

Temperate Grassland

Correct answer:

Tundra

Explanation:

The correct response is tundra. The tundra biome is characterized by permafrost and its lack of trees. The soil is frozen year-around, which prevents large vegetation growth. The tundra is located at high latitudes above the 60o line.

Example Question #4 : Ecological Consequences

Average annual rainfall and average annual temperature are the two most important characteristics in defining a biome. Which biome has the highest average annual temperature and the highest average annual rainfall?

Possible Answers:

Temperate rainforest

Tropical rainforest

Subtropical desert

Boreal forest

Correct answer:

Tropical rainforest

Explanation:

The correct response is tropical rainforest. The tropical rainforest biome has by far the highest annual precipitation (300-450 centimeters per year) and highest average temperature (25-35 C). The subtropical desert and savanna are incorrect answer choice because they have low precipitation. Boreal forest and temperate rainforests have lower temperature than tropical rainforests. 

Example Question #5 : Ecological Consequences

Aquatic biomes are used to categorize specific types of aquatic resources. Measurements such as the concentration of salt and the connectivity to larger bodies of water can be used. Which aquatic biome describes a region where a freshwater river merges with an oceanic body?

Possible Answers:

Coral reefs

Wetlands

Estuaries

Pelagic zone

Correct answer:

Estuaries

Explanation:

The correct response is estuaries. An estuary supports a diverse community of species. The unique distribution of aquatic conditions caused by the mixing of a salty ocean and a freshwater river make estuaries a novel aquatic biome. The pelagic zone and coral reefs are specific to the ocean environment, so those are incorrect responses. 

Example Question #4 : Habitats And Biomes

One of the goals of ecology is to understand the patterns and distributions of biological diversity. Ecologists have found that biodiversity is strongly affected along the boundary where two habitats intersect. Change in biodiversity along a habitat boundary is referred to as __________.

Possible Answers:

Edge effects

Niche differentiation 

Genetic drift

Habitat turnover

Correct answer:

Edge effects

Explanation:

The correct response is edge effects. The edge effects specifically describe shifts in biodiversity along the edge of a habitat, or in a transition zone that contains features from two habitat types. For example, imagine you are walking on a trail that starts in a forest and leads into a grassy meadow. The transition between forest and meadow would experience edge effects. This area would have species from the forest and species from the meadow living in the same zone.

Example Question #7 : Ecological Consequences

Which is not a primary cause of deforestation?

Possible Answers:

Prejudice against indigenous peoples

Failure to account for ecological services in forest resource surveys

Exploitative governmental policies

Poverty

Correct answer:

Prejudice against indigenous peoples

Explanation:

Though prejudice against indigenous peoples is not a primary cause of deforestation, many indigenous cultures go extinct, much like endemic species, when their lands are taken from them.

Example Question #8 : Ecological Consequences

Why would an invasive species become a primary organism in an area, to the detriment of a native species?

Possible Answers:

Nothing currently occupies the invasive species' niche

The invasive species may reproduce faster than the native species

The invasive species may eat the native species

Many invasive species are generalists, taking advantage of many resources, giving them a competitive edge over the native species

All of these

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

A species is deemed 'invasive' instead of merely 'alien' or 'exotic' when it begins to populate an area specifically to the detriment of native species. All the reasons listed above are reasons why an invasive species may be placed in that category.

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