AP Environmental Science : Other Ecological Consequences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Other Ecological Consequences

Which explanation is most accurate in describing the chemical and atmospheric processes involved in ocean acidification?

Possible Answers:

Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning fossil fuels and is released into the atmosphere, increasing the atmospheric concentration of carbon. Being soluble in water,  is absorbed from the atmosphere into the ocean, where it reacts with water and carbonate () from coral reefs to form carbonic acid. 

Sulfur produced from industrial manufacturing increases the sulfur concentration in the atmosphere, which results in sulfuric acid () entering the ocean by precipitation, resulting in a lowered pH.

Carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, where it interacts with water vapor in the atmosphere to form carbonic acid, which enters the ocean by precipitation, lowering the pH.

Correct answer:

Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning fossil fuels and is released into the atmosphere, increasing the atmospheric concentration of carbon. Being soluble in water,  is absorbed from the atmosphere into the ocean, where it reacts with water and carbonate () from coral reefs to form carbonic acid. 

Explanation:

Ocean acidification is most accurately described by the answer choice that talks about carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere before being absorbed by ocean water to react with carbonate ions and form carbonic acid.

Ocean_acidification

Image: "Ocean Acidification." NOAA PMEL Carbon Program. NOAA. Web. 6 Apr. 2015. <http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean Acidification>.

Example Question #2 : Other Ecological Consequences

Red tides are caused by a population boom of __________.

Possible Answers:

cod

algae

plankton

bioluminescent microorganisms

Correct answer:

algae

Explanation:

Red tide is caused by algal blooms, which occur due to eutrophication of waterways. Red tides set off harmful chain reactions in ecosystems, because of the toxins the algae produce. The toxins get concentrated in higher trophic levels (biomagnification).

Example Question #3 : Other Ecological Consequences

 

Researchers have been recording the population of a species of tree frog in the Southern U.S. and have found the population to have been in steady but significant decline for the past decade. The population size is still substantial and their range in habitat extends from the East Coast to Texas. Under what category of endangerment does this species best correspond with?

Possible Answers:

Threatened 

Endangered

Critically endangered

Near threatened

Least concern

Correct answer:

Threatened 

Explanation:

Since there has been a significant population decline over a substantial time period, but there is still an extensive range and population, this species would best be categorized as "threatened." A species classified as threatened is vulnerable to becoming endangered in the future and is still being impacted significantly by habitat loss and human activities. This frog species would be categorized as endangered if they were at immediate threat of becoming extinct.

Example Question #4 : Other Ecological Consequences

What is the difference between "conserving" and "preserving" the environment?

Possible Answers:

National park size

Animal testing of human products

Classification of animals on the endangered species list

Human usage

Correct answer:

Human usage

Explanation:

Conservationists advocate to manage resources for sustainable continued use by humans. Preservationists are in favor of prohibiting human usage rather than actively managing.

Example Question #5 : Other Ecological Consequences

Domesticated animals that have taken a wild role, often becoming destructive invasive species, are called __________.

Possible Answers:

stock

feral

grazers

pets

Correct answer:

feral

Explanation:

Feral animals often wreak havoc on ecosystems, particularly those that live in large social groups and/or are very destructive, such as hogs.

Example Question #6 : Other Ecological Consequences

The United Nations classifies a nation as developed or developing based on which two primary factors?

Possible Answers:

Population and life expectancy

Degree of industrialization and per capita gross domestic product purchasing power parity (GDP PPP)

Resource use and capita gross domestic product purchasing power parity (GDP PPP)

Resource use and degree of industrialization

Population and pollution rate

Correct answer:

Degree of industrialization and per capita gross domestic product purchasing power parity (GDP PPP)

Explanation:

The United Nations classifies nations as developed or developing based on the nation’s degree of industrialization and per capita gross domestic product purchasing power parity (GDP PPP). A country’s per capita gross domestic product purchasing power parity (GDP PPP) is a measure of the amount of goods and services the nation’s average citizen could buy in the United States. Developed countries include the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and most European countries. Most developing countries are found in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Example Question #7 : Other Ecological Consequences

The __________ is a parable that warns of the dangers of mismanaging shared resources.

Possible Answers:

tragedy of the commons

legend of the meadows

common property problem

story of our stuff

calamity of the shared

Correct answer:

tragedy of the commons

Explanation:

The tragedy of the commons is a parable that warns of the dangers of mismanaging shared resources. The story tells about herders that share land where their cows/sheep graze. After some time, too many animals are allowed to graze on this shared land which results in overgrazing and soil erosion. Thus the land becomes unsuitable for any grazing animals. This parable can be related to any shared resource such as the atmosphere, oceans, rivers, fish stock, and more.

Example Question #8 : Other Ecological Consequences

An ecological footprint is __________.

Possible Answers:

a measure of a person’s sustainability

the measure of biodiversity in an ecosystem

the measure of Earth’s natural resources

the amount of biologically productive land and water needed to support a person

the biological capacity of an ecosystem

Correct answer:

the amount of biologically productive land and water needed to support a person

Explanation:

An ecological footprint is defined as the amount of biologically productive land and water needed to support a person. The per capita ecological footprint is the average ecological footprint of an individual in a given country or area. Most people in developed countries have an ecological footprint that exceeds the environment’s ability to replenish its renewable resources.

Example Question #9 : Other Ecological Consequences

What is the name of the sixth global extinction?

Possible Answers:

The End Triassic Extinction

The Human Extinction

The Permian-Triassic Extinction

The Late Devonian Extinction

The Anthropocene Extinction

Correct answer:

The Anthropocene Extinction

Explanation:

The Anthropocene, or Holocene, Extinction, describes the ongoing extinction of thousands of species during the current epoch. A majority of these extinctions are due to human causes, whether through direct overhunting or as a result of pollution and habitat loss. This extinction is expected to intensify over the next century as climate change speeds up and drastically alters many habitats.

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