AP Environmental Science : Ecosystems and Biology

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Photosynthesis

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

Possible Answers:

photosynthesis

chemiosmosis

chemosynthesis

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 #2 : Photosynthesis

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

Possible Answers:

Producer

Consumer

Herbivore

Decomposer

Detritivore

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 : Cellular Respiration

In cellular respiration,

Possible Answers:

glucose is oxidized to produce energy and carbon dioxide

organisms breathe oxygen in and carbon dioxide out

carbon dioxide is synthesized from water and carbon dioxide

none of these

oxygen is produced as a waste

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:

Fox

Caterpillar

King snake

Maple tree

Cardinal

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 #1 : Trophic Levels

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

Possible Answers:

Secondary consumers

Trophic level

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 #1 : Trophic Levels

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

Possible Answers:

Detritivore 

Scavenger 

Omnivore

Decomposer

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. 

Example Question #2 : Trophic Levels

What percentage of overall energy is present in the biomass from a lower trophic level to the next highest one? 

Possible Answers:

10%

50%

20%

15%

Correct answer:

10%

Explanation:

Because of the law of conservation of energy, it cannot be 100% since some of the energy in each trophic level must be consumed by the organisms themselves. The energy is lost as heat through metabolic activities and other day to day expenditures. This number is supported due to the high number of producers and only a slight number of primary consumers in comparison. 

Example Question #1 : Carbon Cycle

Which of the following steps is not part of the carbon cycle?

Possible Answers:

Combustion

Extraction

Photosynthesis

Transpiration

Respiration

Correct answer:

Transpiration

Explanation:

Transpiration concerns the process through which water is carried through plants from roots to small pores in leaves, where it evaporates into the atmosphere. Thus transpiration is not a part of the carbon cycle, which concerns the biochemical exchange of carbon. 

Example Question #1 : Carbon Cycle

All of the following are Carbon sinks in the Carbon Cycle except...? 

Possible Answers:

Animals

The Atmosphere

The Ocean

Plants

Correct answer:

The Atmosphere

Explanation:

The Atmosphere is largely the source of Carbon in the Carbon cycle. Plants utilize photosynthesis to convert atmospheric Carbon Dioxide into Glucose. Animals consume this Glucose and store it in their bodies until they die. the Ocean hosts a large amount of dissolved Carbon Dioxide gas and has Calcium Carbonate as a storage place in oceanic organisms like coral. 

Example Question #1 : Carbon Cycle

Which of these is a type of biogeochemical cycles?

Possible Answers:

All of these

Hydraulic cycle

Nitrogen cycle

Phosphorous cycle

Carbon cycle

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

All of these are biogeochemical cycles:

Carbon cycle - plants and animals consume carbon dioxide and release carbon dioxide during decomposition or respiration, then the carbon dioxide returns to the atmosphere.

Phosphorus cycle - similar to the carbon cycle, plants and animals consume phosphorous and release it during decomposition. Then the phosphorous returns to the ground and waterways by way of bacteria and processes such as mineralization. 

Nitrogen cycle - this is the most complicated biogeochemical cycles. This is because it takes place in multiple situations, including: nitrogen fixation, nitrification, denitrification, and ammonification.

Hydraulic cycle - the water cycle. Water evaporates, wind moves air (and water), precipitation occurs.

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