AP Environmental Science : Energy and Biochemical Cycles

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Energy Dynamics

Which of the following most closely approximates the percent of solar energy entering earth available for photosynthetic activity in plants?

Possible Answers:

5%

25%

1%

10%

50%

Correct answer:

1%

Explanation:

Much of the solar energy that enters earth is absorbed by atmospheric molecules or reflected off of surfaces, and a large portion of the energy is unsuitable for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is powered by light energy that has wavelengths ranging from 400 to 700 nanometers (nm), while sunlight has a wavelength range from 250 to 2500 nm. As a result, only about 1% of available solar energy is used for photosynthetic activity.

Example Question #1 : Energy And Biochemical Cycles

 

Which of the following aspects of the photosynthetic process accounts for why the leaves on trees are typically green?

Possible Answers:

Charged electrons, a vital component of the transport of energy in photosynthesis, emit light in the green spectrum when excited by energy.

Chlorophyll reflects light wavelengths in the purple, blue, and orange spectrums and absorbs wavelengths in the green spectrum.

The oxidation-reduction reactions present in photosynthesis produce a chemical byproduct that is green in color.

Chlorophyll absorbs light wavelengths in the purple, blue, and orange spectrums and reflects wavelengths in the green spectrum.

Along with sugars, photosynthesis produces chlorophyll, which is naturally green.

Correct answer:

Chlorophyll absorbs light wavelengths in the purple, blue, and orange spectrums and reflects wavelengths in the green spectrum.

Explanation:

Chlorophyll a and b absorb visible light wavelengths in the purple, blue, and red ranges of the visible spectrum of light and reflect visible light in the green range. The green color of leaves is a result of the green visible light being reflected back and isolated from the other visible colors in the spectrum that were absorbed.

Example Question #1 : Energy Dynamics

Photosynthesis involves each of the following as reactants or products except __________.

Possible Answers:

phosphorus (P)

water (H2O)

glucose (C6H12O6)

oxygen (O2)

Photosynthesis involves all of the other answer choices as reactants or products.

Correct answer:

phosphorus (P)

Explanation:

During photosynthesis, plants and algae use solar energy to convert carbon dioxide and water to glucose and oxygen. Phosphorus is not involved in the photosynthesis chemical reaction as a reactant or product.

Example Question #1 : Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is the reverse reaction of what cellular process?

Possible Answers:

Chemosynthesis

Neutralization

Combustion

Respiration

Correct answer:

Respiration

Explanation:

Cellular respiration is the opposite reaction of photosynthesis:

Photosynthesis converts carbon dioxide, water, and solar energy to sugar and oxygen. Respiration uses oxygen and sugars to provide a cell with energy. Water and carbon dioxide are produced as byproducts. Note that the form of energy used in photosynthesis is sunlight, while the form of energy produced during respiration is chemical energy.

Example Question #2 : Photosynthesis

In deep sea vents, certain types of bacteria can produce glucose in a different way than photosynthesis. This process is called __________.

Possible Answers:

chemosynthesis

chemiosmosis

photosynthesis

nucleosynthesis

Correct answer:

chemosynthesis

Explanation:

Using energy from the bonds in, for example, hydrogen sulfide or methane, and carbon dioxide, deep sea bacteria can produce sugars identical to those produced in plants via photosynthesis. This is incredibly important for life in deep water where there is no light.

Example Question #1 : Photosynthesis

Which of these describes an individual that converts sun energy into food?

Possible Answers:

Detritivore

Producer

Decomposer

Consumer

Herbivore

Correct answer:

Producer

Explanation:

The correct response is producer. A producer converts sunlight into food using photosynthesis. This includes plants, algae, and some fungi. They are sometimes refereed to as primary producers or autotrophs. The big take-home point: producers make their own food. 

Example Question #1 : Energy And Biochemical Cycles

In cellular respiration,

Possible Answers:

oxygen is produced as a waste

none of these

glucose is oxidized to produce energy and carbon dioxide

carbon dioxide is synthesized from water and carbon dioxide

organisms breathe oxygen in and carbon dioxide out

Correct answer:

glucose is oxidized to produce energy and carbon dioxide

Explanation:

In cellular respiration, glucose and oxygen are used to produce energy, as well as carbon dioxide and water as wastes. Cellular respiration is essentially the opposite of photosynthesis. Do not confuse cellular respiration with respiration (breathing), which is the physiological process of taking air in to receive oxygen, and breathing air out to expel excess carbon dioxide produced during cellular respiration.

Example Question #1 : Trophic Levels

Which of the following is likely to be in the lowest trophic level?

Possible Answers:

Maple tree

King snake

Caterpillar

Cardinal

Fox

Correct answer:

Maple tree

Explanation:

Trophic levels are related to the transfer of energy in the food chain. Predators and members of the "top of the food chain" occupy higher trophic levels, while energy producers occupy the lower levels. The correct order from lowest to highest should be the maple tree, caterpillar, cardinal, king snake, and then the fox.

Example Question #2 : Energy And Biochemical Cycles

Which of the following terms refers to the feeding levels of categories of organisms in  a commnunity?

Possible Answers:

Trophic level

Secondary consumers

Producers

Teritiary consumer

Primary consumers

Correct answer:

Trophic level

Explanation:

Trophic level (feeding level) describes the categories of organisms in a community, and the position of an organism in a food chain, defined by the organism's source of energy; includes producers (a photosythetic organism i.e. plants), primary consumers (an organism that feeds on producers; an herbivore), secondary consumers (an organism that feeds on a primary consumer;a carnivore), a tertiary consumer that feeds on other carnivores.

Example Question #2 : Trophic Levels

All of the terms refer to organisms that are not any level of consumer except...?

Possible Answers:

Scavenger 

Decomposer

Detritivore 

Omnivore

Correct answer:

Omnivore

Explanation:

Scavenger, Detritivores and Decomposers are not any level of consumer since neither consumes any kind of living organism. Scavengers consume already dead organisms. Detritivores consume litter and dung. Decomposers break down biomass into nutrients. Only omnivores consume living organisms since they feed on both primary and secondary consumers. 

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