AP Environmental Science : Biomes

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Biomes

Which of the following is not a reason for the fragility of desert ecosystems?

Possible Answers:

Top predators are usually not checked in growth and can grow exponentially

Nutrients are slow to cycle through the ecosystem

There is a lack of water

There is a low species diversity

Plant growth is slow

Correct answer:

Top predators are usually not checked in growth and can grow exponentially

Explanation:

Top predators will generally never "grow unchecked". By the very nature of their diet (dependent on other populations), predator population growth is limited by the availability of their food. The famous study of lynx-hare population fluctuations demonstrates how a predator population will adjust to lower prey populations.

Example Question #1 : Biomes

Which of the following does NOT characterize a tropical forest?

Possible Answers:

Consistently warm temperatures falling between 20-25oC

Nutrient-rich and pH-neutral soil

Highly diverse set of flora and fauna in the local biosphere

Little light reaching the forest floor

Over 2000 mm of annual rainfall

Correct answer:

Nutrient-rich and pH-neutral soil

Explanation:

Heavy decomposition of plant and animal matter contribute to highly acidic soil in tropical rainforests. Additionally, abundance of plant life in tropical rainforests results in "soil leaching," which means that the nutrients in the soil are drained and taken up by the plants themselves.

Example Question #45 : Ecosystem Development And Relationships

The __________ is characterized by very low temperatures year round, nutrient-poor soil, and little precipitation, which usually occurs in the form of snow.

Possible Answers:

evergreen rainforest

boreal forest / taiga

temperate deciduous forest

temperate coniferous forest

coastal temperate forest

Correct answer:

boreal forest / taiga

Explanation:

Boreal forests have extremely low temperatures and are characterized by pines and other evergreens. "Temperate forests" are characterized by moderate and more fluctuating temperatures, whereas the taiga stays cold year round. Taiga is found in parts of the world such as Northern Alaska, Canada, and Siberia.

Example Question #2 : Biomes

The evaluation of biomes takes into account which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Latitude

Temperature

Precipitation

Both temperature and precipitation

Correct answer:

Both temperature and precipitation

Explanation:

Latitude is not considered in climate evaluations; for instance, the poles are considered deserts based on their precipitation levels per year, meaning deserts can occur along the equator or the poles. Temperate and tropical forests also exhibit similar precipitation levels, but due to their temperature differences, they are considered separate biomes.

Example Question #2 : Biomes

Which biome is characterized by a short growing season, harsh winters, no trees, mostly migratory animal species, and less than 10in of rain per year?

Possible Answers:

Tundra

Desert

Conifer forest

Grasslands

Correct answer:

Tundra

Explanation:

Though grasslands and deserts share some of these characteristics, the tundra is the only biome listed that is characterized by a short growing season, harsh winters, no trees, mostly migratory animal species, and less than 10in of rain per year.

Example Question #3 : Biomes

Which biome contains plants that have adapted to minimize water loss, developing features such as smaller leaves with fewer pores?

Possible Answers:

Tropical rainforest

Temperate seasonal forest

Subtropical desert

Temperate rain forest

Woodland

Correct answer:

Subtropical desert

Explanation:

Don't be fooled into associating moisture retention with rainforests: Those plants don't require such an adaptation since rainfall is plentiful. A subtropical desert, however, is characterized by high temperatures, very low precipitation and warm soils, and thus plants must adapt to prevent water loss.

Example Question #4 : Biomes

Which of the following is not one of the main terrestrial biomes?

Possible Answers:

Temperate grassland

Tundra

Tropical dry forest

Temperate brush

Boreal forest

Correct answer:

Temperate brush

Explanation:

There are many different biomes, but the main terrestrial biomes are:

1. Temperate grassland

2. Temperate forest

3. Alpine

4. Rainforest

5. Taiga

6. Savanna

7. Tundra

8. Desert

9. Chaparral

Example Question #5 : Biomes

In pictures from your family vacation, you see hardwood trees whose leaves have fallen. You know that the region you visited receives 75-250 cm of rain each year. Which biome did you visit?

Possible Answers:

Prairie grassland

Coastal chaparral

Desert

Deciduous forest

Coniferous forest

Correct answer:

Deciduous forest

Explanation:

The correct response is deciduous forest.The unique characteristic of the deciduous forest is that the trees shed their leaves each year. Maple and Oak trees are common in this biome. Prairie grasslands do not contain trees, rather they contain fields of grasses. The desert biome does not receive as much rainfall as the deciduous forest, nor does it contain many hardwood trees that shed their leaves. While the coniferous forest contains lots of hardwood trees, they very rarely shed their leaves. The coastal chaparral biome does not receive as much rainfall, and is dominated by small trees and shrubbery.

Example Question #6 : Biomes

Biomes are fairly distinct regions with a similar climate, plants, soils, and animals. They can occur on multiple continents. 

What two climate factors determine where a biome is located?

Possible Answers:

Temperature and atmospheric pressure

Wind and temperature

Temperature and precipitation

Humidity and atmospheric pressure

Humidity and precipitation

Correct answer:

Temperature and precipitation

Explanation:

Humidity, atmospheric pressure, and wind are all aspects of climate but not the determining factors. In the higher latitudes, temperature is the more important factor. In the lower latitudes, precipitation is the more important factor. 

Example Question #1 : Biomes

Which of the following environments gets less than 25 cm of rainfall each year?

Possible Answers:

Chaparral

Tropical rainforest

Deciduous forest

Desert

None of these

Correct answer:

Desert

Explanation:

The correct response is desert. The desert environment is characterized by low rainfalls (less than 25 cm per year). They are one of the most dry biomes on the planet. The desert biome also has highly variable temperature swings, with high temperatures during the day and low temperatures at night. 

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