AP Environmental Science : Ecosystems and Biology

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Ecosystems And Biology

Beavers build dams and manipulate the terrestrial-aquatic system to their advantage. A species like the beaver that strongly modifies their environment is called a(n) __________

Possible Answers:

ecosystem engineer

keystone species

dominant species 

None of these

community dominant

Correct answer:

ecosystem engineer

Explanation:

The correct response is "ecosystem engineer." An ecosystem engineer manipulates and engineers the habitat to benefit them in a significant way. If an ecosystem engineer like the beaver is removed from the environment, it can have detrimental effects on other species and the community structure. 

Example Question #12 : Ecosystems And Biology

Two organisms with the same behavioral, evolutionary, and genetic traits living in different geographic locations can best be described as being which of these?

Possible Answers:

In the same community and population, but not the same species

In the same species and population, but not the same community

In the same species, population and community

In the same species, but not the same community or population

Correct answer:

In the same species, but not the same community or population

Explanation:

Because the organisms are genetically, behaviorally, and evolutionarily the same, they are the same species. However, their difference in location means that they cannot be in the same population. Additionally, to be in the same community, they must be in the same population. Hence, they are only related to each other by species and nothing else listed.  

Example Question #12 : Ecosystems And Biology

Which classification encompasses all the others?  

Possible Answers:

The Biosphere

An Ecological Community

A Species

A Biome

Correct answer:

The Biosphere

Explanation:

The Biosphere is the collection of all biomes on Earth and the interactions between them. A species is representative of a group of organisms, while a population is a specific subset of a species. A community is the collection of all the populations that interact with each other within a given geographic area. An ecosystem is the interactions between a community and the abiotic factors within their geographic proximity. A biome is the overall interplay between similar ecosystems. Only the Biosphere contains all other answer choices within itself. 

Example Question #13 : Ecosystems And Biology

Choose the correct order, from smallest to largest group size.

Possible Answers:

Individual, population, community, ecosystem

Individual, community, population, ecosystem

Individual, community, ecosystem, population

Individual, population, ecosystem, community

Correct answer:

Individual, population, community, ecosystem

Explanation:

Obviously, the smallest level of organization is the individual. This is followed by the same-species population, then the complete community of all species in a given area. Finally, the ecosystem is the largest level, including abiotic elements of the habitat.

Example Question #15 : Ecosystems And Biology

Symbiosis is an association between two or more species. Generally one species is living on or in another. These relationships can be helpful, harmful or have no effect. 

What are the three types of symbioses?

Possible Answers:

Competition, commensalism, and parisitism

Competitive exclusion, commensalism, and coevolution

Mutualism, predation, and parasitism 

Mutualism, coevolution, and parisitism

Mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism 

Correct answer:

Mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism 

Explanation:

Mutualism is when both species benefit. Commensalism is when one species benefits and the other is neither harmed nor helped. Parasitism is when one species is negatively affected by the other. 

Example Question #14 : Ecosystems And Biology

What is the limit on the population size given a finite amount of resources?

Possible Answers:

Asymptote

Carrying capacity 

Population size

Social darwinism

Eutrophication 

Correct answer:

Carrying capacity 

Explanation:

The correct response is carrying capacity. This is threshold or limit that restricts population growth when resources are limited. Carrying capacity is the reason that we don't have billions of elephants in the world - there is only so much space and resources. The concept of carrying capacity is true for all populations in the world - including humans. 

Example Question #12 : Ecosystems And Biology

What does the I=PAT equation describe?

Possible Answers:

The influence of perception, attitudes, and trends on sustainability

The impact of pesticides, antibiotics, and temperature change on food production

The impact of pollution, acid rain, and temperature change on the environment

The influence of people, attitudes, and technology on sustainability

The impact of human population, affluence, and technology on the environment

Correct answer:

The impact of human population, affluence, and technology on the environment

Explanation:

The I=PAT equation was developed in the 1970s and it describes the impact of human population, affluence and technology on the environment. The equation is used as an aid in understanding how the size of a population, its affluence (i.e., the average consumption of each person), and the efficiency level of the population’s technology will affect the population’s general impact on the environment. The equation is simplistic and should not be seen as an accurate assessment of a population. Rather, it is a thought-provoking tool.

Example Question #15 : Ecosystems And Biology

Which of the following is not true of human population growth?

Possible Answers:

The rate is unsustainable

When graphed to date, it shows a J-shaped curve

When graphed to date, it shows an S-shaped curve

It is exponential

Developing countries have a higher rate of population growth

Correct answer:

When graphed to date, it shows an S-shaped curve

Explanation:

When graphed, the human population shows a J-shaped curve. The human population grew very slowly at first. However, its growth is exponential, so the human population doubles in a shorter time period every time. An S-shaped curve, by comparison, would show a leveling off or decrease in population.

Example Question #18 : Ecosystems And Biology

What is the name for two genetically distinct populations of the same species?

Possible Answers:

Genus

Communities

Subspecies

Morphs

Breed

Correct answer:

Subspecies

Explanation:

A subspecies is the taxonomic rank below species, meaning subspecies are members of the same species, but have some characteristics that set them apart. As a result, two different subspecies of the same species are usually physically capable of interbreeding, but generally do not, due to either selection or geographic isolation.

Example Question #1 : Niches

Which of the following is a habitat and way of life to which a particular organism is adapted?

Possible Answers:

Niche

TerritorialityTerr

Biome

Community

Habituation

Correct answer:

Niche

Explanation:

 A niche is a habitat and way of life to which a particular organism is adapted. It is the role of a particular species within an ecosystem, including all aspects of its interaction with the living and nonliving environments.  Habituation is a common form of simple learning, defined as a decline in response to a repeated stimulus. The ability to habituate is adaptive. Humans habituate to many stimuli: city dwellers to traffic sounds, and country dwellers to the sounds of nature. A biome is a terrestrial ecosystem that occupies an extensive geographical area and is characterized by a specfic type of plant community. A community is all the interacting populations within an ecosystem. Terrioriality is the defense of an area in which important resources are located. 

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